There is a chiastic structure in today’s reading:
1 Kin 12:26-13:34
1A: 1 Kin 12:26-30, Jeroboam’s sin of two golden calves;
1B: 1 Kin 12:31, He made priests from every class of people;
1C: 1 Kin 12:32-33, He ordained feasts from his own heart;
1D: 1 Kin 13:1-3, Word of the LORD against the altar at Bethel;
1E: 1 Kin 13:4-6, Withered hand + entreat the favor of the LORD;
1F: 1 Kin 13:7-10, Refused Jeroboam’s invitation to eat bread and drink water;
CENTRAL AXIS: 1 Kin 13:11-18, The old prophet’s deceit;
2F: 1 Kin 13:19-23, Accepted the prophet’s invitation to eat bread and drink water;
2E: 1 Kin 13:24-31, Lion + entreat the favor of the LORD;
2D: 1 Kin 13:32, Word of the LORD shall surely come to pass;
2C: 1 Kin 13:33a, Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way;
2B: 1 Kin 13:33b, He made priests of every class of people;
2A: 1 kin 13:24, Sin of the house of Jeroboam.
Now why would someone who was a prophet, on whom the Spirit of the LORD comes to proclaim the word of the LORD, lie to another prophet so as to cause his death? Of the two prophets in this history, both have the true word of the LORD come to them. Both are legitimate prophets. Both make decisions which honor the LORD and dishonor the LORD.
The old prophet honored the LORD, when he collected the corpse of the man of God and gave him a proper burial in his own tomb. He dishonored the LORD, by lying that an angel came to him. The man of God honored the LORD when he delivered the word of the LORD exactly as it was given to him. He dishonored the LORD when he turned aside to eat bread and drink water.
So just because the gifts of the Spirit are operating with a person, that does not necessarily mean that all the decisions and actions of that person will be right, or righteous. We must not be deceived, first of all, into thinking that because we see evidence of the Spirit, that all that the people are doing, is right.
The second lesson, is that the word of the LORD is the final authority on what is right to do and not to do. The man of God, as long as he was obeying the word of the LORD — the command of the LORD — that he had received, was protected from harm. As soon as he strayed from that word and no longer obeyed, then judgment fell on him also.
So if a prophet who prophesies by the Spirit, tells us something other than the word of the LORD that we know and have received, if it contradicts the word of the LORD, that prophet might be lying! If an angel appears to give us a message that contradicts the word of the LORD that we know and have received, that angel might not be from God, for even the enemy can appear as an angel of light. It might be a deception!
God does not want His people to suffer consequences or judgment! The way He protects His people from those things, is by giving them His word, and asking them to obey it. When we obey His word, and do not turn from it to the right or to the left, then we do not have to worry about whether we can discern deceptions or not — we will be protected from them.
It is so important to know what is in God’s word and what He has already said, because nothing He says today will contradict what He has said yesterday! He is the unchanging and immovable God, and His word likewise does not change or move!