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Sabbath School Lessons on Background Characters in the Old Testament
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 10: The Man of God: Obedience is Not Optional *
Introduction: One of the goals of my life is to improve my
"hearing" when God speaks to me. I'll bet that you know
what I'm talking about: you have a sense that you should do
something or not do something. You think it comes from God,
but you are not sure. Is God impressing you through His
Holy Spirit? Is it your conscience speaking - which comes
from the training your parents gave you? Is it one of
Satan's fallen angels trying to embarrass you? Is it
indigestion? The older I get and the longer I walk with God
the better I get at paying attention - but I'm still not
very good. From time to time readers write and tell me I'm
terrible at listening to God's will! How much should we
trust advisors? On who or what can we trust? Let's dive
right into our study of the Bible and learn more about the
right foundation for knowing God's will!
- King Solomon dies, and his son Rehoboam becomes
King. Let's find out what is on the mind of King
Rehoboam's subjects. Read 1 Kings 12:4-5. What
concern do the people have? (The level of
- What do you think about the king's response?
(He is showing wisdom by not immediately
answering. He plans to seek counsel.)
- Read 1 Kings 12:6-7. What advice do the old guys
give? (Lower taxes.)
- King Rehoboam next turns to his young friends for
advice. Read 1 Kings 12:9-11. What advice do the
young guys give him?(Assert your authority - more
- Which advice would you accept? What is the
appeal of each of the options?
- Read 1 Kings 12:12-14. Is King Rehoboam following
the will of God? (Read 1 Kings 12:15-17. It turns
out that God wanted a divided kingdom with
Jeroboam being the King of the ten tribes of
- If you were a counselor, wanting to give
Godly advice to King Rehoboam, how would you
know what to advise?
- Read 1 Kings 12:21-24. What rule do these two
situations suggest about how we should listen to
God? (Sometimes God does not give us specific
advice on what to do. We need to look at the
advice given in the Bible and use our common
sense. On the other hand, sometimes God does
directly speak to us on an issue. Rehoboam, to his
credit, followed God's direct advice.)
- In the meantime, the low-tax ten tribes of Israel
have made King Jeroboam their king. Read 1 Kings
12:26-27. What problem does the king have which
could benefit from some advice?
- Read 1 Kings 12:28-29. What do you think of the
advice given to King Jeroboam? (Read Exodus 20:2-5
and Exodus 32:7-8. This is not a close call.
Jeroboam should not have resorted to idolatry to
solve his political problem.)
- Let's add another bit of information. Read
1 Kings 11:29-33. Knowing this, how would you
advise King Jeroboam about his fears? (He had
direct assurance from God through a prophet
who had been right so far. Notice the reason
why Jeroboam is being given most of the
kingdom. That is a powerful reason not to
turn to idolatry to solve the current worry.)
- The Man of God, Lying and the Lion
- Read 1 Kings 13:1-2. Does God have a message for
King Jeroboam? Or, is this a political message
from a political rival? (Not only does the man
come from Judah (the other nation), but he says
that a descendant of David (the other king's
grandfather) will rule Israel.)
- Read 1 Kings 13:3-5. What evidence does Jeroboam
have that this is from God? (The signs.)
- Read 1 Kings 13:6. Does King Jeroboam believe that
the man is from God? (Yes, he does not think it is
from a political rival.)
- Think about this. Would this be the point on
which you would ask intercession if you were
King Jeroboam? (Something much more important
than the King's hand is at stake. The whole
kingdom and the alternative way of worship
are at stake.)
- Read 1 Kings 13:7-10. What procedural instructions
has God given the man of God?
- What do you think about the man of God? (He
is courageous, obedient and he cannot be
bribed. He obviously is in tune with God
because he is able to have the king's hand
- Read 1 Kings 13:11-14. What do you think motivates
the old prophet to ride after the man of God?
- Is the man of God still following directions?
(Nothing in the instructions said he could
not rest. However, it seems that a quick
retreat to Judah is what God had in mind.
But, the man of God has had a very high
tension day so far. I would need a rest -
just to stop my hands from trembling.)
- Read 1 Kings 13:15-17. They sure make a lot of
dinner invitations in Israel! Is the man of God
- Read 1 Kings 13:18-19. Would you fault the man of
God? (Remember that twice he has been given an
invitation, and twice he has turned it down. He
changes his mind now only because he is told that
God changed the instructions.)
- Do prophets of God lie? (Apparently. The
Bible calls the old fellow a prophet. Lying,
however, is an attribute of Satan.)
- Why do you think the old prophet lied?
- Recall that we started our lesson with a
discussion on how to listen to God's messages
to us. What do you do when you realize that a
prophet is willing to lie?
- Read 1 Kings 13:20-22. I ask you again, is the old
prophet a true prophet of God? (God is speaking
through him and making a prophecy! We will see if
this prophecy comes true.)
- Review for a minute the courage and obedience
of the man of God in confronting King
Jeroboam. How can God say that he "defied"
God's instructions? The word translated
"defied," could also be translated
"rebelled." This is a strong word!
- Read 1 Kings 13:23-28. What are the odds of being
killed by a lion without being eaten?
- What are the odds of being killed by a lion
when a big fat donkey is standing around?
- What can we reasonably deduce from these
facts? (In accordance with God's word of
prophecy to the old prophet, God sent a lion
to kill the man of God.)
- Read 1 Peter 5:8. Is this a current problem
- How important is it to listen to the right message
- Should we believe our pastor?
- Should you believe me?
- Should you believe a prophet?
- If you said, "no," to the above
questions, who or what should you
believe? (Did you ever wonder why each
discussion in these lessons is begun by
a reading from the Bible? We start out
with God's word. Everything has to be
tested against God's word. Do you think
God is impressing you to do something?
Test it against God's word.)
- The man of God performed brilliantly and
courageously for most of the day. What lesson
do we find in that? (No matter what you have
done to advance the Kingdom of God, you must
never let down your guard. One lapse can ruin
- Read 1 Kings 13:29-32. What level of confidence
does the old prophet have in the man of God? (He
is certain his predictions will come true.)
- What should we learn from the old prophet and
the man of God? (Neither were perfect. But,
both spoke accurately (at least some of the
time) for God.)
- Read 2 Kings 23:15-19. What happens 300 years
later? (The words of the man of God and the old
prophet come true.)
- Friend, our lesson shows that even people who God
uses will sometimes lie. Will you determine today,
when trying to listen to God and follow Him, to
believe nothing that cannot be supported by the
Bible, the word of God?
- Next week: The Widow of Zarephath: The Leap of Faith.
* Copr. 2010, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.