Now an old prophet lived in Bethel. And his sons came and told him all that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. They also told to their father the words that he had spoken to the king. And their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him the way that the man of God who came from Judah had gone. And he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him and he mounted it. And he went after the man of God and found him sitting under an oak. And he said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” And he said, “I am.” Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.” And he said, “I may not return with you, or go in with you, neither will I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place, for it was said to me by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by the way that you came.’” And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he lied to him. So he went back with him and ate bread in his house and drank water. I Kings 13:11-19 ESV
Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
but a false witness utters deceit.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
but those who plan peace have joy. Proverbs 12:17-20 ESV
Jennet’s parents told her that she needed to come home directly after school, because they had plans and needed to leave right away when she got home. Her friend Sylvia wanted her to come over and hang out after school. Jennet told Sylvia that her parents had told her to come home right after school. Sylvia told Jennet that Jennet’s parents had told her that they had decided not to leave right away, and that it was okay for Jennet to go to Sylvia’s house for awhile. Jennet very foolishly believed Sylvia, and when she didn’t come home right away her parents were angry with her. She got into trouble because she had believed Sylvia’s lies.
The same thing happened to the man of God who had spoken words of judgment to Jeroboam. God had told his prophet to go directly back to the southern kingdom of Judah and not to stop and eat or drink with anyone. King Jeroboam had offered to give him a meal before he left, but he refused. But then an old prophet lied to him and said that God had told him it was all right to stop and have a meal. Why did this prophet tell a lie like this? The Bible doesn’t tell us. Maybe he just wanted to have the honor of giving hospitality. Maybe he was jealous that God had spoken to this southern prophet and not to him, or maybe he was angry about the message. Or maybe he was a false prophet like Baalam had been so many years before, who knew and respected the true God but also worshiped false gods. Whatever his reason, his lie was going to cause terrible trouble for the man of God.
This story is a good warning to be careful about lies, because lies often cause trouble and sorrow. The worst kind of lies are lies about God. People sometimes talk about God and his word and his ways in ways that aren’t true or helpful. Sometimes they mix up the teachings of other religions with Christianity, or sometimes they just get important things about God wrong. How can we know if someone is telling lies about God? The best way is to see if what that person says is the same thing as what the Bible, God’s word, says. God’s word is the truth, so anyone who says something different is telling a lie. The worst thing that can happen if we believe lies about God is that we lose sight of the wonderful thing Jesus did when he died for us and rose again from the dead. Jesus won eternal life for us when he did that, and he keeps us close to him so we don’t lose our life with him by believing in lies.
Dear Heavenly Father, please keep us close to you and your word so that we don’t believe in lies or lose our faith in Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.