The Man of God From Judah and The Old Prophet of Bethel

1 Kgs 13:1-34

Today, we saw a strong word coming from God against the sin of Jeroboam the king of Israel. A man of God from Judah prophesied that Jeroboam’s altar in Bethel would be used to sacrifice the priests who offer sacrifices on it, by Josiah, a descendant of David. He also said that as a sign from God, the altar would be rent and the ashes upon it poured out. When Jeroboam heard the prophecy, he stretched out his hand that the prophet should be caught, but his hand withered and he could not withdraw it. The altar was also rented as the man prophesied and its ashes poured. So, Jeroboam pleaded with the man of God to pray for him for his sin to be forgiven, and his hand was restored.

After this, Jeroboam asked the man to come home with him to refresh himself, but he declined saying God had warned him not to eat or drink, nor go back the same way he came. So, the man of God departed.

We however learnt that an older prophet who dwelt in the land after being told all that had happened, pursued after the young man and asked him to come with him to eat and drink. Initially the man of God refused, reiterating God’s warning, but he later consented when the older prophet lied to him that God’s angel had told him it was OK for the young prophet to come with him to dine.

So, the man of God went with the older prophet and ate and drank in his home. But while they ate, God’s word came to the older prophet saying that, because the man of God had disobeyed God in returning to eat and drink, he would be devoured by a lion on his way back. When the young prophet left with his ass, he was met on his way by a lion which slew him according to God’s word. What does this teach us? We should fear and respect God, obey his instructions only, and not that of men, no matter whom they are. In the long run, we would be responsible to God, and so we must confirm every instruction that affects our lives from him ourselves, and be fully persuaded. Despite his own role in the events, the old prophet was not judged, but the young one who received instructions initially from God was.

The chapter concluded by noting that despite the warning and signs from the man of God, Jeroboam did not desist from his sins. He continued to make the lowest of people priests for his high places, whosoever wanted to, he consecrated and made priest. This later brought judgement on him as his house was cut off from the face of the earth.

Some verses to remember

vs 2: 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.

vs 21-22: 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.

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