I'm back into the narrative portion of the story of Israel and it's final days as a united kingdom. Or more precisely, it's first days divided. There are now two parallel story lines running. Today I'm going to be following Jeroboam after his decidedly evil tour into idolatry- taking his tribes with him.
God Sends a Man of God to Jeroboam
God wasn't messing around with Jeroboam. He sent an emissary, only identified as a man of God in this chapter.
Jeroboam was getting ready to light incense, which would have been to another god. This man of God cried to altar, not bothering to start with the human. He prophesies about a time (300 years in their future) when a king Josiah will sacrifice these idolatries priests of the the high place and their bones would be burned.
He gave a sign of this prophesy to be true by saying the altar would split and the ashes would fall out.
Jeroboam decide the best approach to handling this was to kill the messenger, so he stretched out his hand with a command to seize the prophet and his hand "dried up". Then the altar split and the ashes fell out- confirming the truth of the prophesy.
Ahhh. Jeroboam begged for the man to ask his God to restore Jeroboam's hand. Jeroboam had so completely forsook God that he didn't even claim Him as his own anymore.
Jeroboam tried to get the man to come willingly, since forcing him didn't work; but God had warned the man, take noting and don't go home the same way you came.
The Man of God's Journey
So the man of God obeyed God and refused food or drink from Jeroboam. And he headed home a different way, as well.
On his way, he is chased down by a local prophet and invited back to eat and drink. He repeats the command that he cannot. The prophet then lies to him and tells him that an angel has given him permissiom.
So the man of God returns with the local prophet and eats and drinks in disobedience.
The local prophet is then overcome by a prophesy that, because the man of God was disobedient to God's commandment, he will not make it home. On the way a lion kills him and throws him on the side of the road and then just stands their with the man's donkey.
He stays like that, not eating the body or attacking the donkey until the local prophet's kids come and get the body and bury it. The local prophets asks to be buried there next to the man of God and confirms that the man of God's prophesy will come to pass.
Jeroboam Doesn't Learn
Jeroboam's heart was so hard, he didn't learn from any of this.
He continued to make priests for the high places.
Verse 34 is a statement that this sin will cause the house of Jeroboam to blotted out from the face of the earth.
It's hard not to feel bad for the man of God. He did what was asked of him. He abstained in obedience; and then he was lied to, so became disobedient and was killed by a lion for it almost immediately.
Why did the prophet lie to him? Why was he so set on dragging the man back to his house to sin against God.
Below Wiersbe calls them the young prophet and the old prophet. Was the old prophet jealous that God brought in a young man from far away and he wanted to corrupt him? Was he lonely or curious or was He sent by God to tempt the young man so Jeroboam received a stronger message?
These are the moments when you have to have dug deep roots into the truth that God is perfect AND GOOD. There is justice in this story; but it's for us to see it this side of heaven.
It's interesting the the man of God isn't given a name. He isn't completely anonymous, like the older prophet is. Being called a man of God seems to a stronger term. More than what he can do and into who is truly is. Maybe that's more evidence for Wiersbe's theory that it's not about him, but Jeroboam.
Chapter 13- Wiersbe
Wiersbe claims the story of the young prophet isn't about him at all but just a stronger message for Jeroboam.
The prophesy claimed the future laid with the House of David. Not the house of Jeroboam. Meaning Judah would, ultimately prevail.
Wiersbe points out that Jeroboam saw three miracles in just a few minutes and was not moved, except to want his health restored. He also pointed out that those who saw Jesus do miracles were hangers on. Miracles aren't meant for evangelism. That's an interested concept I need to think about.
Wiersbe points out that if your instructions come from God; don't disobey based on the word from someone's angel.