After the death of King Solomon, Israel broke away from the house of David and the kingdom was divided. Jeroboam, king of Israel, arrogantly set up a new altar in Bethel, ordained a new feast date in a different month, and reinstated the worship of the golden calf. [See 1 Kings 12] Understandably, Yahweh was upset!
He sent a prophet [unnamed] to Bethel during the bogus feast with a damning word for the whole idolatrous set-up. During the prophecy, Jeroboam, who was standing by the ‘altar’, stretched out his hand towards the prophet, ordering him to be arrested. Instantly two things happened. Jeroboam’s arm seized up as his hand withered, and the phony altar split, with ashes pouring out – Yahweh’s predicted sign that this was His word! Jeroboam went into meltdown, begging the prophet to ask Yahweh to restore his arm, and then, afterwards, inviting him to go back to his palace for food and a reward. “I will not go home with you, even if you give me half of your kingdom! I will not eat or drink anything in this place.” [1 Kings 13:8] was the prophet’s reply. Why? He was under strict orders from Yahweh to eat and drink nothing while on this journey.
Meanwhile an old prophet, living nearby, hearing of the affair, rushed off to waylay the prophet as he returned home. When he found him and extended his invitation, he received the same response. The baffling part of this story [for me] is that the old prophet then cooked up an untrue tale of a visit from an angel, apparently over-ruling Yahweh’s orders. Unsurprisingly, the younger man went with him and ate and drank. During the meal, there was a dramatic scene, with the old prophet delivering a dreadful message from Yahweh, [1 Kings 13:20-22] the outcome of which being that the younger man was killed by a lion on his way home. [See 1 Kings 13:23-32]
This perplexing story must be a serious lesson about obedience to Yahweh’s word. When Yahweh gives me specific instructions I must be true to them, them, seriously weighing any doubts that may arise, understanding that He won’t change His Word to me, without letting me know, too. He is honourable, we can trust Him to deal with us fairly and righteously, even when it hurts!
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