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Wednesday, May 04, 2022

2022.05.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 13:1–10

Read 1 Kings 13:1–10

Questions from the Scripture text: Who went from where to where in 1 Kings 13:1? Why? What/whom did he find there? What did the man of God do against what (1 Kings 13:2)? Why? Against what did he cry? Who would be born to whom? And what would this baby grow up to do? What sign did he announce to confirm this (1 Kings 13:3)? Who heard this (1 Kings 13:4)? What did he do and say? But what happened to his hand? What happened at this point (1 Kings 13:5)? But what was it that the king asked would be repealed (1 Kings 13:6)? What did the man of God do? With what result? Now what invitation did the king make (1 Kings 13:7)? How did the man answer (1 Kings 13:8)? Why (1 Kings 13:9)? So, what did he do instead (1 Kings 13:10)? 

Jeroboam had invented new worship in new places led by new priests on new holidays. Now, God announces a great sacrifice of His own: Jeroboam’s priests on Jeroboam’s altar (1 Kings 13:2). And He chooses the moment when Jeroboam is busy in his new worship to announce it (1 Kings 13:1). But the “sacred” ashes of that sacrifice would be unceremoniously spilled onto ground (1 Kings 13:3).

Just looking at the language of the passage reveals an emphasis: the Word of Yahweh. Jeroboam had acted like a servant of the pagan idols who cannot command how to be worshiped, because they cannot speak at all. Now, the Spirit brings Yahweh’s Word front and center. Reference to it makes up a pretty big chunk of this small passage:

“by the Word of Yahweh” (1 Kings 13:1)

“by the Word of Yahweh” (1 Kings 13:2)

“Thus says Yahweh” (verse 2)

“Yahweh has spoken” (1 Kings 13:3)

“by the Word of Yahweh” (1 Kings 13:5)

“by the Word of Yahweh” (1 Kings 13:9)

 Indeed, one of the main features of the rest of 1 Kings and 2 Kings will be a building competition between the kings of Israel and the Word of Yahweh, especially as embodied in Yahweh’s prophets. And here comes just such a prophet! In fact, he’s not even called a prophet here. Rather, he is called “a man of God” seven times in this passage. He is God’s man in this incident.

And one, with God, is always in the majority. We don’t even know the name of the man, but he easily prevails in his confrontation with  the king. Jeroboam discovers what he’s up against when he stretches out his hand in 1 Kings 13:4. Suddenly, “arrest him!” turns into “pray for me.” Not only does Jeroboam feel the powerlessness of not even being able to move his own hand, but the position in which he was frozen condemned him. Crrraaack! The altar splits in two as the backdrop (1 Kings 13:5) to the paralyzed king. God’s sign against Jeroboam’s worship comes to pass. And the king can’t pretend to be anything than the enemy of God and God’s man that he is. He’s literally frozen with his hand extended in rebellion and attack.

Friendship with the world is enmity with God. Jeroboam’s opinion of the man of God changes abruptly in 1 Kings 13:7. His prophesying had been offensive, but his praying was useful. The man of God had entreated Yahweh (1 Kings 13:6), and the king had been healed. This is the kind of man you want to have around (1 Kings 13:7a) and keep on the payroll (verse 7b). But the prophet knows better than to put himself on the wrong side of that “one with God is a majority” reality. He refuses both riches and refreshments (1 Kings 13:8). The king might not care much to follow God’s Word, but the man of God (so far) knows better than that (1 Kings 13:9-10). It can be tempting when those who hate God make some display of liking us. “What an evangelistic opportunity!” we tell ourselves. But we mustn’t have them as our companions or ever entertain for a moment the idea that we may do evil that good may come.

We have the Word of God. There are many with their own ideas. Even in the church, they act as if God has not spoken, inventing their own ways of worship. But one with God is, still, always in the majority. Praise be to God for such mercy that allows the godly to intercede as the man did for Jeroboam. But, let not intercession become concession or companionship, lest we find ourselves operating as enemies of God (more on that in 1 Kings 13:11-34).

What difference does it make in your life that we have a “speaking” God? What time do you give His Word? What attitude in those times? What are some things that must be determined only by God’s Word? In what ways are you tempted to determine them for yourself? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are the one, true and living God. And You have spoken to us in the Scriptures. We praise You that by Your Word, the worlds came to be; and, by Your Word, it is upheld; and, by Your Word, it is reserved for fire. Truly, Your Word is mighty! Forgive us for when we take for ourselves prerogatives that belong to You and Your Word alone. And forgive us for when we fear those who oppose You and Your Word. Instead, make us faithful and courageous to stick with You even when the whole world and whole church are making their own way instead—all of which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH173 “Almighty God, Your Word Is Cast”

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