Last week I set out to read the books of 1 & 2 Kings. I’ve been meaning to read them for some time now and so I began to basically devour 1 Kings..
And then I read 1 Kings 13.
I was reading before bed one night and, truth be told, I had to start reading what was unfolding aloud to my husband because at one point I went, “Oh, dang!” And I guess maybe it’s a little out of the ordinary to audibly comment on Bible reading that way? It's safe to say his interest was piqued.
So in 1 Kings 13, a man of God is sent by the word of the Lord to confront Jeroboam at the altar he set up. He plotted to keep Israel from offering sacrifices in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem and ultimately from returning to King Rehoboam of Judah. He made two golden calves for the people, saying, “..Israel, here are your gods who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” (1 Kings 12:28b)
“This led to sin..” (1 Kings 12:30a)
He also made shrines on the high places, made a festival for the Israelites, offered sacrifices on the altar and burned incense. I mean, just WOW. This paired with what I had read about him the day before had me feeling some kind of way.
The man of God arrives and proclaims what the Lord commanded and then: “He gave a sign that day. He said, “This is the sign that the LORD has spoken: ‘The altar will now be ripped apart, and the ashes that are on it will be poured out.’” (13:3)
Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, crying out, “Arrest him!” and his hand withered and the altar was indeed ripped apart, ashes pouring from the altar, just as the man of God had said.
So Jeroboam pleaded for the man of God to pray for him so that his hand would be restored- and he did. His hand was restored to him right then and there. And then.. This is where I (very immaturely) basically cried out, “BURN!”
Jeroboam insisted that the man of God come home with him to refresh himself and receive a reward. And this man of God replies, “If you were to give me half your house, I still wouldn’t go with you, and I wouldn’t eat food or drink water in this place, for this is what I was commanded by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat food or drink water or go back the way you came.’” (13:8-9)
Juvenile comments aside (ahem), check his statement. His steadfast resolve to what the Lord had said to him. No, no, NOT EVEN IF YOU... Because the LORD SAID.
The rest of the story, however, is quite sobering. It’s why my reading in this book has halted because I just keep reading this over and over again and pondering over it.
An old prophet was informed by his sons all that the man of God had done that day and they also told their father what the man of God had spoken to the king. He saddles up his donkey, follows the man of God, and says to him, “Come home with me and eat some food.”
The man of God repeats to the old prophet what the Lord had commanded him: I cannot.. I will not.. “For a message came to me by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat food or drink water there or go back by the way you came.’”
The old prophet responds by saying, “I am also a prophet like you.” (13:18) and tells the man of God that an ANGEL spoke to him, telling him by the word of the Lord to bring him back to his home for food and water.
“The old prophet deceived him, and the man of God went back with him, ate food in his house, and drank water.” (13:18b-19)
Basically, back at the old prophet’s place, the word of the Lord actually does come to this deceiving prophet this time, and he cries out the judgment to come to the man of God: “but you went back and ate food and drank water in the place that he said to you, “Do not eat food and do not drink water”- your corpse will never reach the grave of your ancestors.’”
And then when the man of God left, a lion attacked him and killed him.
Like, my mind is just reeling as I read this. There’s so much more to this story and there’s a lot to unpack. But mainly I’m thinking, this man of God (man of God!) came and boldly opposed Jeroboam’s wickedness, he at first stood firm when it came to what the Lord commanded- and then he was DECEIVED! That old prophet sought him out, having known what the man had told the king Jeroboam, and LIED to him! What is happening here?!
And I mean, I guess in a way I’m kind of defending his disobedience right now. Ouch.
This is really hard. So hard. But what it comes down to is: this man of God deviated from the last thing God had told him to do.
This is so sobering to me because I look around at everything happening around us right now, at all of the voices and the chatter and the noise. And I’m trying to call to mind what it was that the Lord last called me to do. And I’m like, how easy could it be for me to get off track? To stray a little? To be deceived?
Will I trust in what God said or will I allow doubt to creep in? Based on what I see in the physical, my circumstances, my tarrying to obedience.. Anything?
Will I trust in what God said TO ME or will I begin to believe the voices that may come at me? Will I stand firm or will I waver because it sounds good? Because it sounds legit? Even though it is not right simply because it’s not what GOD SAID? TO ME?
Will I take the time to seek the Lord’s will? Will I remain in Him, walking in step with His Spirit so that His will remains at the forefront of my mind?
I just have felt like this is so significant. My hubby even brought this story up again today and said he felt like it was no coincidence that I landed there this week.
I don’t want to lose sight of what God has asked of me. I want to remain in a holy fear of the Lord that keeps me ever before Him, abiding in Him, hearing His voice and remaining resolute, never wavering or compromising. Never straying even a BIT from what He has said.
Listen, I’m no scholar and I make dumb commentary sometimes. And I’m still wrestling with and pouring over and praying about all of the details of this passage of Scripture. But for today, we have GOT to take this to heart: keep in mind what the Lord has said and stand boldly, defiantly, against anything else.
Do not doubt, church. Do not let unbelief creep in. Remain in His Word; trust in what He has said. Our God is holy; He cannot lie. Every word He has said is true.
Anything else, anything less? Flee from it.
Praying for you, sister, as you refuse to budge or compromise on what God has called you to. Holy Spirit will guide you and keep you. I hope you have a chance to dive into the full story here and I pray that you see God for who He is: holy, loving and full of kindness and mercy. Love you!
Written by: Olivia Caldwell
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