To Whom Do You Listen?

By A. A. Meeks, Sr.


 Note: To understand the background of this article, please read 1 Kings chapters 12 and 13.

When the kingdom of Israel divided, Jeroboam became king of most of the people. Only two of the twelve tribes of Israel — Judah and Benjamin — remained loyal to Rehoboam. Jeroboam’s followers retained the name “Israel,” and those who remained faithful to Rehoboam became known as “Judah.”

God had selected Jerusalem as the capitol city of His kingdom. The temple was there, and the people were commanded to go to Jerusalem in Judah to offer their sacrifices. Jeroboam was afraid that if the people went to Jerusalem to worship, they might decide to reunite with Judah. So he set up two golden calves and their altars in Israel — one at Bethel and the other at Dan. Then he told his people, “Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt” (1 Kings 12:28).

On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, Jeroboam went to Bethel to offer a sacrifice to the idol at Bethel. God sent a young prophet to Bethel to condemn the altar. This man of God was told to neither eat bread nor drink water while in Bethel, and he was told to go home by a different way. After completing his mission, the prophet started home.

In the city, there was an “old prophet.” When the old prophet heard the details of the young man’s visit, he caught up with the young man and invited him to come to his house and eat. The old man said, “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel of the Lord spoke to me by the word of the Lord saying, ‘Bring him back to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’” Then the Scripture says, “but he lied” (1 Kings 13:18).

The young prophet accepted the invitation of the old prophet. He went to the old man’s house, ate bread, drank water, and refreshed himself. While he was on his way home, a lion attacked him and killed him. The young prophet was deceived by the old prophet. He listened to and believed the wrong person. He died as a result. To whom do you listen? Do you listen to God who speaks to us today by His word, or to someone who may be trying to deceive you?

The apostle Paul wrote, “But if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8). We all need to be like the people in Berea. It is said of them, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). If all people followed that example, we would all be united — believing the same things, teaching the same things, and practicing the same things.