A Man Of God Without A Name (Why This Story Is In The Bible)

There is an interesting story in the Bible, found in the Old Testament, soon after Israel’s almost fought civil war and the separation of the nation into two factions: the ten tribes of the north, led by the rebellious pagan, Jeroboam, who made himself king of Israel, and the two tribes of the south—Judah and Benjamin—who stayed loyal to Rehoboam, grandson to King David, the rightful ruler and heir to Solomon the Wise.

It’s a short story, told within a much larger context. It comes and it goes, a brief interlude, if you will. It’s easily missed or skimmed over, left largely forgotten on the pages of the Bible, never to be much mentioned again. It’s a story about a prophet, a man of God without a name. But oh, what a story! The lesson it contains is monumental, even essential. In fact, it may teach one of the most important lessons of the entire Bible. So, without further ado, I give you 1 Kings 13.

And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.

And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.

And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.

And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.

Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.

He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.

So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water. And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.

And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.

And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him. And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.

And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass. And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him. And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!

And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones: For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.

After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places. And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.

Lots to unpack, but did you see it? Did you learn one of the most important lessons in the entire Bible?

Well, in case you didn’t, let me give you what the U. S. Military calls B. L. U. F., which stands for Bottom Line Up Front.

The bottom line is when God has spoken to you, especially if He has confirmed His Word with a second witness (like a sign/wonder/miracle, etc.) no one on earth can contradict it without lying, even if they’re a prophet and an elder and claim to have a different word from the Lord for you.

Your allegiance and obedience is due to God and God alone, and never to man, no matter what anyone says.

Now, if God should lead you to submit to and obey another, for the sake of His will, then by all means, submit and obey. But just because someone thinks to lead you right, or instead, if they really have no idea but presume anyways because they’re the elder and you’re the younger, it doesn’t mean you owe them. Your obligation is to do what God says.

Here’s the problem. In our modern church-i-anity, with the liturgical system we so often use, the average believer is—now don’t get offended here—downright lazy! Too few brothers and sisters really know how to pray and hear from God for themselves. They all want a Word through human lips. They barely read, let alone study the Holy Scriptures, then wonder why they can’t seem to “hear/recognize” God’s voice. And so, men of God are trusted more than the God of men.

Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit (Jeremiah 17:5-8. Cf. Psalm 1).

Do you see what trusting another human being for your spiritual welfare gets you? You end up like heath in a desert (i.e. nude, unprotected, and out in the open), you can’t see the good God intends to bring your way, your soul stays perpetually parched, and in the final stages of this mistake, you find yourself spiritually desolate. Now that’s a curse!

But look what happens when your trust is in the Lord: You’ll have a constant source of water (Spirit and Word; see John 4:10-14, 7:38-39, and Ephesians 5:26), the fiery trials of life will have little to no effect on you, you’ll stay perpetually refreshed, with an abundance of spiritual life and fruit inside of you (See the Tree of Life mentioned in Proverbs 11:30 and Revelation 22:2).

The church of the End must get this lesson learned, and fast. Days are coming when the old format you’ve depended upon won’t work anymore. God is shaking all that can be shaken. If you can’t hear God’s voice for yourself, or, even if you can, you allow someone or something to deceive you (no matter how unintentional or accidental) and in so doing, you allow that someone or something to introduce a contradiction in your life between what you know the Lord told and confirmed to you versus what that someone or something is saying, you’re heading for certain, possibly lion-based, destruction (See 1 Peter 5:8), just like that man of God without a name.

And that’s why this story is in the Bible.

A Side Note: For a practical, Biblical application, see Acts 21:10-14. A prophet named Agabus gives Paul a “word” that, in any other circumstances, might have kept someone else from going forward with their intended course of action. But not Paul. Why? Because Paul was determined to obey the voice of the Lord, who had already spoken to him and told him what to do, that is, go to Jerusalem, even if it meant certain death. Paul chose to obey. He was martyred in 64 A. D.

PS. I know what some of you who read this are thinking. You’re bothered. Even upset, especially if you the reader know me personally. You just can’t believe I would write this. Basically, I’m guessing you’re thinking something like this:

But I’ve been taught my whole life (or however long I’ve been in the church) to listen and heed the “man of God”, i.e. the pastor. If I don’t, then I’m in rebellion and a backslider. What you’re writing goes against all that, so you must be a heretic and are trying to cause division. I think I’ll mark you now and avoid this blog.

Well, if you’ve even gotten this far, let me explain and clarify.

First, by all means trust your bishop/elder/pastor, BUT ONLY IF HE IS TRUSTWORTHY. His title and position do not make him worthy of your trust. The measure of his spiritual morality and the integrity of his Christian character make him worthy (or not, if lacking) of your trust. So don’t assume to trust anyone outright for all your spiritual care, just because others do or because you’ve been told you have to.

Secondly, even if your pastor is trustworthy and leads well and right, he is still only human. He is not infallible, and doesn’t have an especially equipped radar to hear God’s voice better than anyone else, even you. His ability to hear God’s voice and discern God’s will is completely dependent upon his consecration and devotion. You may reach out to your pastor in a day or time of personal weakness, when his devotion to prayer has dipped, and suddenly, the counsel you’ve trusted for so long comes to you from the carnal mind, based not on a revelation from God, but his own soul and agenda. This is trusting the arm of the flesh.

Third, the Bible doesn’t agree with the position that there is only one man of God in your life who can counsel and shepherd you. Both Proverbs 11:14 and 24:6 remind us that “in the multitude of counselors there is safety“. Proverbs 15:22 teaches us that only a multitude of counselors can establish the plans and purposes of God’s people. In all three instances, multitude literally means abundance, with abundance obviously indicating much, possibly even overflowing in quantity.

You can see then, that one man acting as your personal prophet, without additional counsel, can, like the unnamed man of God, lead you to ruin—by contradicting the revelation of God’s will for YOUR life.

Fourth, what I’ve just written falls in line with another equally important lesson or principle of the Scriptures, namely that “out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, let every word be established“. See Deuteronomy 17:6, Deuteronomy 19:5, Matthew 18:16, 2 Corinthians 13:1, 1 Timothy 5:19, and Hebrews 10:28.

Look at that for a moment. Six different times we are told that it takes at least two or three witnesses to establish anything. But one man is only one witness, right? So guess what? Every time you trust and obey the singular counsel of one man, without seeking additional counsel or aid from others to establish a matter as factual and reliable, you are DISOBEYING THE WORD OF GOD!

Fifth, by pulling from the above two points, one of the counselors you must always consult, even first, is the Lord Jesus Christ, prophetically called the “Wonderful Counsellor” in Isaiah 9:6.

Too many people want to hear the voice of a man, and run to their pastor for everything. Yet, they have the miraculous power of the heaven-sent Son of God to counsel them, and they ignore Him, because it’s just easier to reach out horizontally on earth (through a text message, a phone call, an email, a meeting, etc.) than it is to patiently, consistently hit your knees, study God’s Word, listen with your spirit and not your ears, and learn who your Savior actually is and what He wants from you.

Lastly, but most assuredly, you are ignorant of the full ramifications of the New Covenant you’ve entered into with God through Christ. You think it’s only remission of sins, speaking in tongues, and heaven. While true, that’s a very narrow, superficial view. If you’d undertake to study the marriage you’ve agreed to be a part of, you’d find out there is much more.

For example:

One of the chief promises of the New Covenant, in addition to remission of sins, is this:

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31:33-34).

Do you see it? Once the law is written on your inward parts (i.e. once you receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost), you will personally know the Lord without anyone else’s influence (or interference). And why? Because God forgives/remits our sins when we enter into this New Covenant by repentance and water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ (See Hebrews 8:8-12).

We see then that, through the law written on our hearts through the Holy Spirit, we have a private, personal connection, a direct line if you will, between God and our own souls. And let me tell you, that line is ringing off the hook with God constantly calling you, trying to talk to you, share with you, and impart to you His will. But we lazy believers, instead of answering His calls, go to other sources for all our spiritual conversations about God’s will for our life.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t need teachers, elders, shepherds, or other mentors. God puts such people with such callings and talents in our life for a reason. But, as anointed or as wise as they may be, they are not the Spirit of Truth that leads us into all Truth (John 16:13).

So, not only do we have an opportunity (no matter how oft neglected) to personally know the Lord for ourselves, we also see that the reason we have such an opportunity is because God Himself wants to personally teach us about Him through His Spirit and Son, our one and only Rabbi/Master (Matthew 23:8-10).

Isaiah 54:13,

And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Who is the prophet talking to? He is prophetically talking to the Church, the Bride of Christ (See Isaiah 54:1-12 for proof). The children of the church, that is, the saints of the most High, born again of water and Spirit (John 3:3-5), will be personally taught by God Himself. And look what happens when God becomes your teacher: you will have great peace. How many saints lack “great peace” because they sit at the feet of a man for all their instruction, instead of sitting at the feet of the Lord (Compare to Luke 10:39)?

Be honest! Look at the rest of the promises Isaiah 54 has for us, if we’d just sit down long enough to let God speak to our hearts.

• We will be established in righteousness (Isaiah 54:14)
• We will be far from oppression (Isaiah 54:14)
• We will not fear (Isaiah 54:14)
• Terror will not come near us (Isaiah 54:14)
• Anyone who gathers against us will fall (Isaiah 54:15)
• No weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:17)
• Everyone who speaks evil against us will be condemned (Isaiah 54:17)

The chapter ends by saying “This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD“.

Even Jesus Himself taught that God will be our teacher, quoting from this very passage (John 6:45). Here, our chief/prime example, the one we are to follow all the way into glory, teaches us to be taught of God, His Father.

If we are not being so taught, then friend, WE ARE IN SIN.

I leave you with this:

1 John 2:20 and 27,

20. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

27. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

Do you believe the Word of the Lord from the Apostle John, or not? Brothers and sisters, whosoever readeth this, I plead with you: Do not be like the un-named man of God who was slain by a lion for allowing another so-called man of God to give him false counsel.

God allowed this! Don’t you see? The precedent was already established by Moses. Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established. The un-named man of God should not have obeyed the other “man of God”. He had a word straight from the mouth of God, and a miraculous sign (the destruction of the altar and the withering and curing of Jeroboam’s hand) to prove to him that he had been sent by the Father, who told him not to deviate from his course.

But instead, in a moment of immaturity or weakness, he let the counsel of one man (who happened to be lying) change the course of his whole life, a course change that led to his immediate ruin and demise.

I wonder, what do you suppose God is allowing to happen to you because you rather go to someone beside Him? I wonder, are you heading for the lion’s mouth because you’ve trusted in a man, and made flesh your arm? Does the curse of God Almighty abide on you and all you do for simply not taking the time to let Him teach you how to depend on Him alone for all things?

I hope and pray it’s not so. Because, as 1 John 4:1 reads, many false prophets have gone out into the world and the lion they serve is hungry, waiting patiently to devour you.

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~ by votivesoul on 04/04/2013.

One Response to “A Man Of God Without A Name (Why This Story Is In The Bible)”

  1. Brother Aaron, I thank you for this intense lesson on following the voice of God in our lives. The importance of waiting on the Lord our God to speak to us, while we clearly listen. His word does say that the Spirit with teach us all things. I am thankful today that I have been accepted into relationship with God the Father. He speaks, I am to obey. He guides, I am to follow, even if it means certain death, like Paul. It is His plan that I have been accepted in, not my own. Honorable lesson.

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