July 28, 2023
“After he (the old prophet) had buried him (the young prophet), he said to his sons, ‘When I die, you must bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried...”
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“After he (the old prophet) had buried him (the young prophet), he said to his sons, ‘When I die, you must bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones, for the word that he cried out by a revelation from the Lord against the altar in Bethel and against all the shrines of the high places in the cities of Samaria is certain to happen.’ After all this Jeroboam did not repent of his evil way but again set up priests for the high places from every class of people. He ordained whoever so desired it, and they became priests of the high places. This was the sin that caused the house of Jeroboam to be wiped out and annihilated from the face of the earth.” 1 Kings 13:31-34 (HCSB)
Many questions arise in this chapter. All three main characters are richly intriguing, yet there is not much detail as to the motives behind their actions. One thing we can be certain of is that today’s chapter is about the Word of God.
Let’s consider each main character asking ourselves whether we view God’s Word as they did.
Jeroboam: The Word of God was his MERCY – and he despised it. (v.v. 1-10, 33-34) The Lord does not change; therefore, He has not changed since the days of Jeroboam. God does not hesitate to come barging right at you, straight into the middle of your idolatries. He will throw roadblocks in your path. Sometimes He will send reasonably obnoxious servants to you as well. Guys like me, perhaps! But it is good news that He will do almost anything to pry us loose from our “golden calves.” His mercy makes waves before His judgment arrives. What about Jeroboam? He simply repaired the altar and went on worshipping there.
The Man of God from Judah (Young Prophet): The Word of God was his SAFETY – and he abandoned it. (v.v 11-24) Today’s chapter warns us that the ministry of proclaiming the Word does not exempt us from the duty of obeying that Word. That lifeless form alongside the road to Bethel (like Uzzah’s in 2 Samuel 6:6-8) bears silent witness that it is never safe to venture outside the shelter of the Lord’s explicit Word.
The Old Prophet: The Word of God was his PROFESSION – and he abused it. (v.v. 18-32) The Old Prophet sports an alarming combination: he speaks the truth of God and destroys the servant of God. He has orthodoxy without sanctification. Jesus told us there would be folks like the Old Prophet. (Matthew 7:21-23) In fact, He said that “many” will surrender to Him their ministries of pulpit and power on the last day, ones whom He will address as “those working lawlessness.” We should be terrified if we have the truth, yet the truth does not grip, control, and transform us. For the Old Prophet, the truth seemed to be more of a gig (a job) than a love. “I, too, am a prophet.” The Word of God was his profession – and he abused it.