(Dried hand result of dried
soul. "Lord, heal my hand", rather than "Lord,
heal my soul".)
Now we come to God dealing directly against Jeroboam's altar. Notice that God's word was against the altar, not against the sin of Jeroboam. It is hard to learn that we need to raise our voices against the sin; we need to expose the sin rather than the sinner.
The prophet cried out against Jeroboam's heresy (a choosing or modifying of the gospel and the word of God to fit our personal desires or social pressure.)
One of the responsibilities of the New Testament church is to cry out against heresy, only it goes much further than simply crying out. Titus 3:10 points out that a person who insists on going his own way after two warnings is to be rejected. Titus 1:9-11.)
1 Timothy 6:3-5, ...from such withdraw thyself, referring to those who refuse to give their masters all honor. (This almost could be taken to the extent of withdrawing from striking union members.)
There are many passages on marking and withdrawing from those who cause or teach heresy and divisions. Romans 16:17, Matthew 18:17, 3 John 9, 10, Galatians 1:8, 2:11, &c.
Our job, a pastor's especially, is to cry out against the altar, not necessarly the man, though that is necessary at times, and leave the rest up to God. The pastor can expect to be attacked for crying out against sin, but he must leave that up to the Lord.
Notice here, it did not do an ounce of good for the man of God to cry out against the altar. 1 Kings 13:33, 34. The false worship, heresy, continued and prospered with great following, and the man of God lost his life over it. It was his own fault, though. He was indestructible as long as he was in God's will. The problem was that he pursued his own will, and it cost him his life. His responsibility was to cry out, leave and go straight home, and leave the results up to the Lord. He did not go straight home.
We should notice here that as the church permits heresy, sin and foolishness within its group, society will do no better. Society will reflect the spiritual temperature of the church.
V. 6, entreat now the face of the Lord and pray for me... not that his sin of the false altars might be forgive, but for his own healing.
I spoke with a lady (10/9/84). As we spoke, she started telling me about her problems. She and her husband had both been previously married. Her husband's children now treated him rotten, and he would take it out on her verbally. She said she did not know how to put up with the pressure, and ask me what to do. I told her she need to, first of all, be faithful in Church, and that would give her the strength to face the day by day problems. (Hebrews 10:25.) I told her this three or four times before herd it, and I could get a response. Her response was an excuse of why they could not make it to church.
I do not know how many times this has happened. I am almost getting to the point where I very callously tell the people, "If you don't go to church, I really can't help you." (Sussie Sykes)
These people want their withered, dried hand healed, "Pray for my hand, but don't ask me to change". They do not want their false declines healed. "I will serve God my way".
It seems as though I can only barely remember one person asking me to pray tor them "to get right with God". All the rest want prayer and help to get their hand healed, which is probably the reason these "healing ministries" have such a large following.
Their dried up hand is the result of their heresy. They might get the hand healed, but refuse to turn from their heresy. "I will serve god the way I chose to serve him". God hates such an attitude worse than outright idolatry. (Jude 11, Revelation 3:15, 16.)
Jeroboam sais, "Pray for me that my hand might be restored" v. 6, when he should have been saying, "Pray for me that I will be restored with God".
"Lord, heal my body, heal my circumstances, heal my relationship with others" when it should be, "Lord, heal my soul". Psalms 51:4, Restore a right spirit within me Lord.
The plague of his own hart (1 Kings 8:47, 38) should be the motive to return to the Lord. The plague of the hand was only the outward result of the plague of the heart.
The dried hand was the result of the dried soul, heart. If people were only as interested in getting their hearts right as they are in getting their hands right, we would not be able to hold them all even on Wednesday night services. Attendance on Wednesday night does not make a person right with God. But attendance on WN will reveal the position of the Lord, and the temperature of the soul in our lives.
There really is no help for them unless a person will admit the problem is deeper than the hand. Maybe we can give them some relief for their hand, but the soul is what will destroy them. I find it harder all the time to advise anyone on Spiritual principles to "heal their hand" unless they are willing first to find "healing for their soul": Start attending church. A person who is not willing to lay aside his own idea of worship is unhelpable.
"I can be a good Christian, and not be faithful to church" Certainly, they can be saved, but faithfulness to church will reveal the spiritual condition of the soul.
Jeroboam's second altar at Bethel and his third one at Dan destroyed the picture of One God and One Mediator between God and man. (1 Timothy 2:5.) The natural man sais "We are all worshiping the same Godwe are all going to the same placejust different roads to get there".
NO. Only one road, and that road is through the sacrifice that was made by our Great High Priest.
Jeroboam's priest also destroyed the picture of our great high Priest, that is passed into the heavens (Hebrews 4:14), and not only did he make priests of the lowest of people, but he became on of the priests. (13:33.)
"I can approach God just as well as the next man".
Jeroboam knew better. He knew the Scriptures. He knew the results. God has promised a blessing for anyone who will study the Scripture, Revelation 1:3, but he has also promised blindness for those who study and do not do what it says. (James 1:22.)
Jeroboam stretched out his hand to persecute those who stood for the truth against his political ambitions, and it dried up once again, proving God is in control.
God stirred him up, 11:23, 26.
God set him up, 11:37.
God was going to use him to chastize his people for forsaking himself, 11:39.
Now, God sends him another warning, 11:34-39, here with the prophet, 13:4.
Jeroboam seeks to persecute the prophet, and loses his hand. God allows the persecution upon his people, because they have forsaken me, 11:33.
God was not ready to allow anything to happen to this prophet, so Jeroboam's hand withered. Persecution will not succeed until or unless God is ready for it.
The more I look at Scripture, the more I see that Satan is only a pawn in the hand of Almighty God. NO matter which way he turns or what he tries, he will further the plan and purpose of God.
God's plan is being accomplished in every movement and breath on this earth. Jeroboam stretched out his hand, but it was not God's time yet for the persecution, so it dried up.
God's hand today is holding back the king's hand of open persecution, but for how much longer.
Jeroboam used his restored hand to restore his false worship instead of heeding gods warning, and Josiah (13:2) did as was foretold. (2 Kings 21.) The modern day Jeroboams, the political leaders who have established their own religions contrary to the word of God and seem to have th e"restored hand" provided by God to continue on with their false worship, will perish and our Josiah will accomplish the tasks assigned to him by the Father. (Daniel 2:43-45.)
2 Thessalonians 2:3 describes these modern day Jeroboams, and v. 8 reveals our Joshiah.
V. 7, come home with me... refresh... reward...
Now we have the contrast between the man of sin, Jeroboam, and the man of God.
1. The man of God could not eat nor drink with him.
A. We are commanded to avoid the men of sin, saved or unsaved.
1 Corinthians 5:11, Romans 16:17, 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14, 2 Timothy 3:5, James 4:4, 2 John 10.
B. Eating together speaks of establishing a covenant.
Eating together at the Lord's Table is an establishment of
a covenant with him.
2. The man of God could not accept the man of sin's present, reward.
A. Even good men are tempted to compromise with gifts, and should refuse them from the ungodly. Proverbs 15:27, &c.
Gifts have a way of perverting judgment and justice.
B. Acceptance of gifts not only leads to compromise, but it also indicates friendship between the two: the giver and the receiver.
C. Gifts bring the receiver under the influence of the giver: the man of God under the influence of the man of sin.
Notice also that the man of God's speaking to the man of sin was very limited, brief and to the point.
1. The man of God was safe while speaking for God.
A. He had the power of God while he obeyed God.
2. To hang around after his message was delivered would be tempting God.
A. God's power is to deliver his message, not to protect us while we pursue our own enjoyment. 2 Kings 9:1-10.
B. God's protection is on his people only while doing HIS work, not while pursuing the pleasures of this world, and the favor of the king.
C. To hang around other than doing God's will is to leave ourselves wide open to temptation, which is just what this prophet did when he sat down under the tree, v. 14.
D. To hang around the ungodly rather than God's people will bring the wrong influence with no claim for special help and power fro the Lord to withstand that influence. As long as we are doing God's bidding among them, we have his promise of protection.
Now we have something interesting.
Vv. 9, 10, he had to return another way to go back to Judah from Bethel.
1. Do not waste any time getting back to God's house and God's people.
He wasted time on the way, and a lion met him.
2. He could not go back the same way.
Adam fell by his own sin.
The only way back to God was another way, by the blood of another; the righteousness of another.
We are sinners by nature, birth and by choice. We fell, are separated by our own sins. We will return to the Shepard and Bishop of our souls, though not by our own righteousness, but by HIS the righteousness of another.
We have a better way than trying to get back the same way we fell, by our own works. The better way is Jesus Christ, the Righteousour righteousness, Hebrews 8:6, 9:11-14. An new and living way, Hebrews 10:20.
Notice this illustration of Jeroboam is Hebrews 10:25-32 acted out.
Jeroboam knew the right way, Jerusalem.
Jeroboam forsook the right way for his own way; he willingly forsook the assembling at Jerusalem.
God took vengeance upon him.
V. 1, a man of God... Who? And unnamed, nameless prophetsome things about him:
I. He came out of Judah to Bethel and Jeroboam.
This was not the safest place in the world to be at this time. Israel, the ten tribes, and Jeroboam were detirmined to rebell against God and God's word, but the man of God obeyed God rather than man.
The lion's den or the fiery furnace is safer in God's will than is the palace out of God's will. This nameless prophet went into the lion's den.
II. He came out by the word of the Lord.
He had no more instructions than what we do. "Well, if God spoke to me like he did to the nameless prophet, then I would stand and speak like he did." We have the Word of the Lord also. Just as inspired, just as demanding, just as sure as this nameless prophet did.
We might notice here what the Word of the Lord told this nameless prophet to do:
Go to the heathens or heretics (or whatever term we would like
to use here), and warn them of their sin.
Get out from among them: do not eat nor drink with them at all. Get away fast.
This warning is good for us today. We need to go to the heathens and heretics long enough to warn them, but that is all. Don't build close friendships with them.
"Well, if I become like them, I can win them."
God told this man to warn then and then get out.
III. He cried out against the altar.
He did not cry out against Jeroboam, but against Jeroboam's sin. How quick we are to cry against people rather than against sin.
NOTICE WHAT HE CRIED.
He compaired the sin, the altar, against thus saith the Lord. (Remember this spelling is the Lord Jesus in the Old Testament.)
He did not condemn the sin, the altar, but said, "This is what the Lord, the word of God, says about the false altar. Once again, we need to be careful that we are compairing the sin to the Word of God, not to our ideas of what is sin, not to our standards.
This way we keep both oursleves and the sinner out of the confrontation. The confrontation must be between the Word of the Lord, Scripture, and the altar, sin. Sin must be confronted and condemned.
The word of the Lord told him to go to the sinner, and it told
him not to stay with the sinner.
The word of the Lord told him to cry against the sin, and not against the sinner. His message against the altar was thus saith the Lord.
IV. He gave a sign, v. 3. Note we have the word of God, which we must accept by faith. But there are reports of areas where the Word of God is confronting the darkest of evil, there are supernatural signs that accumpany the word of God. Kurk Koch has several books that tell of the workings of God's spirit in the depts of darkness, e.g., The Revival in Indonesia, Kregel Publications, 1970.
We must give signs today to confirm the message given by God. I think the signs today could and should be our lives. We can not cry out against the altars of false worship if we have one in our own back yard. How can we cry out against the Romanists if we have the false gods of campers, TVs, sports, &c.
Personal Example: Angela McGlothin has been coming to church for several months since she made a profession some time ago. Her mother is a strong Romanist, which would fit well here with Jeroboam's sin. Angela has not been preaching' to her mother against Romanism as her brother has been doing. Instead, she has been showing a new and different spirit (of Christ) in her relationship in the home. Her actions caused her mother to ask, "You have something I don't have. What is it?" (10/14/84)
I believe the above illustrates the sign we have today to confirm the word of the Lord that we speak against the sin of the sinner. Remember here, this is not a BIG SIN, as we think of sin, with Jeroboam. His sin was "You can worship the Lord God just as well here as you can there." The first step to open sin, major sin, is always a very small one. Heresy is making our own choice. We don't have any choice other than obey the word of the Lord.
The unnamed man of God here had a sign to back up his message. What kind of sign do we have here to back up the message we are trying to give to the sinner?
The word of God should cry out against sin through us so that we do not even have to say anything to the sinner. Signs of:
1. The countenance of the face.
2. The inner attitude of Psalms 119:169.
3. The action sand reactions to the world around us. "I belong to Christ, and I don't believe he would have me to this."
The same day... We cannot say, I'm going to do better tomorrow.' Our life needs to be right with God the same day we speak' against the altar. Our sign must speak the same time we speak, or our words are useless.
V. He entreated the Lord for the sinner. He besought the Lord.
Job 42:10, And the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends.
The sinner is dried up and withered. We need to pray for them. (Angela needs to be entreating, beseeching the Lord, for her mother.)
As we apply the word of God to the sin of the sinner, we still need to be praying for the Lord to work in the sinner's life. The Lor dis the only one who can heal the withered hand.
The man of God pryed for Jeroboam while he cried against the sin of Jeroboam, the altar.
VI. He rejected worldly acclaim and reward.
The three most dangerous things to a man of God is gold, glory and gals. Look behind 9 of 10 failuers of men of God, and you will find one or more of the three in every case, primairly the girls.
The man of God here wisely rejected the gold and glory, and obeyed God's word.
How many men of God have compromised their crying against the altars of sin for money's sake?
Notice that a nationally prominant preacher (Jerry Falwell) has compromised his stand on Biblical Creation, so his science department could be accredited by the state. He agreed not to teach Biblical creation as a science, but as a theology in order for the state to approve him. He agreed to teach evolution as a science and creation as a theological theory.
The reward of a job done right from the Lord was enough for the man of God here.
VII. He returned as God instructed, when God instructed.
He did not waste time trying to convince the heretic he was wrong. Rather, it was simply, "This is what God says about that", and he started home.
Too many times we say, "God says that is wrong", and then we hang around trying to convince the sinner that it is wrong. Instead of wining him over, he wins us over to his side.
The man of God obeyed God in this smallest detail, even in the path of his feet.
He came out of Judah to speak against sin.
He came out by the word of the Lord to speak the word of the Lord, not his own.
He cried out against he sin, not the sinnerthe word of the Lord.
He confirmed his message with a sign.
He besought the Lord for the sinner.
He rejected worldly acclaim and reward.
He returned as the Lord directed.
What message are we delivering?
VIII. He was an unnamed prophet, man of God.
I know many "men of God" or just Christians who would do the same thing like this IF they could get their names in the headlines..
".... shows up at the dedication of the king's new altar at Bethel, points his finger at the altar, and says, Thus saith the Lord.'"
This man of God did it because the word of God demanded it
There was no choice nor question on his part. God did not have to use his name for him to be effective.
Others did not have to know who he was for his message to work or have the power of God.
It does not matter how unknown or far in the sticks a man is, he still must stand for the word of God.
We do not stand because of the brethren or because others are watching. We stand for God because God requires if of us in his word.
This week (10/17/84, or 10/22/84), USN & WR had an article on religions that are growing. One was a SB (First Baptist of Houston), and it told how the pastor preaches strong, but no longer against alchol, dancing nor cards. Looks to me like Jeroboam is really gaining a following. The article also told of 4 or 5 others, all worshiping God in their own way, and prospering in men's eyes.
V. 11. Now we come to the downfall of the nameless man of God.
Here was an Old Prophet still at Bethel. The rest of the priests and Levites who wanted to worship the Lord properly had already gone to Jerusalem, 2 Chronicles 11:13, 14. This one stayed behind. Why?
Maybe he thought in his heart, "If I stay here with Jeroboam, I can influence him for good and right".
He was not much of a prophet of God because he let his son go to the dedication of the new altar of false worship. Also, God did not send him to Jerobobam; rather, He sent the nameless prophet.
V. 12, why did the Old Prophet want to go quickly to get the man of God, and bring him back? Evidently, he did not know the nameless prophet would die as a result of his actions. I don't know why he was in such a hurry to bring him back, except maybe to simply have someone join with him where he should not be, Bethel.
V. 14, under an oak.
There are six oaks mentioned in Scripture.
1. Jacob hid his household idols under an oak, Genesis 35:4.
A place to clean the idols out of our lives.
2. The angel met Gideon under an oak, Judges.
A place to meet with the Lord, and receive his instructions for our actions.
3. A valley where David fought Goliath, 1 Samuel 17:2, 19.
(ElahTerebinth or oak.)
A place of victory, conquer our enemies in the power of God.
4. Absalom caught his hair in an oak, 2 Samuel 18:9.
A place of judgment of the rebellious. (Our sins will catch up with us.)
5. Saul's bones were buried under an oak, 1 Chronicles 13:14.
A place to burry our failures.
6. The unnamed prophet rested here, 1 Kings 13:14.
A place of rest when it is time to rest. It was not the time for the prophet.
He was sitting when he should have been moving.
It is strange that this man had the courage and charactor to obey God and confront the king, but he could not obey God and go home without stopping.
After a great victory, the man of God's guard is down, and he is most likely to fall. How many men of God have I known who fell by the wayside when they stopped to rest a little.
There was nothing wrong with stopping to rest, but he stopped too close to Bethell. He did not return to Judah as he had been commanded to do by the Lord. David fell while resting from the battle. Nothing wrong with resting, but these were the wrong times to rest.
Vv. 14-17, the old prophet rushed to find the unnamed prophet, and he found him under the oak. The old prophet questioned him, and envited him home to eat. The unnamed prophet knew he was not to do such a thing.
V. 18, an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord... He did not claim it was an angel of the Lord, but an angel spake by the word of the Lord, which it may well have been. The enemy may have appeared to the old prophet to cause him to mislead the man of God.
Paul covers this situation: But though we or an angel from heaven... The old prophet claims that an angel from heaven spoke to him, but that which was spoken was contrary to the word of God, and the unnamed prophet knew it, v. 16.
The man of God listened to the lie. At the very least, he should have asked the Lord for further instructions.
V. 19, he yielded to temptation, and went to eat.
V. 20, the word of the Lord spoke to him again through the old prophet.
V. 21, the old prophet lied to the man of God. God was glorified even in the lie, though it cost the man of God his life.
1. V. 3, sign the message was true, the altar was rent.
2. V. 4, sign the messenger was from God, the hand dried up.
3. V. 6, sign God in his mercy was willing to forgive, the hand healed.
4. V. 21, 22 (26), sign that God hated the worship of Jeroboam so much and meant what he said. His own pro-het, the man of God, lost his life for not heeding the word of God. The final sign that God meant what he said concerning this altar, that he was not going to tolerate "Every man worship God in his own way, as he sees fit".
Again, Jeroboam's church was a rich, prosperous Church. More people followed Jeroboam than who followed Jerusalem, but it was wrong, wicked and ungodly, and God showed four times that his judgment was upon it, with no exceptions at all.
Vv. 24-26. The man of God lost his life to the lion. The devil, like a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. As long as the man of God was in God's will, he had God's divine protection (dried up the king's hand), but here he is no has God's protection because of his disobedience.
The word of God had tole him, "Don't hang around. Don't eat nor drink in that city of Bethel. Don't put your stamp of approval upon it by eating or drinking there, for when you do, you put my approval upon it.
No doubt, the man of God was hungry and thirsty by now. He allowed his fleshly desires to overcome his spiritual command. He walked in the flesh rather than in the spirit. He did what he felt like doing, instead of what he was told to do. This man will fall every time because in doing this, he is no better than Jeroboam. But Jeroboam made no claim on being a man of God, where this man did, v. 14.
Jeroboam can get away with the heresy of making up his own mind, and following his own spirit. The Christian cannot. His mind, or instructions, are already given in the word of the Lord, and to walk outside of those instructions, even to fulfill fleshly appetites, will put him in the realm of witchcraft, and the dominion of the lion who is waiting to devour him.
The heathens can get by here on earth walking after the desires of the flesh. A child of God cannot. Those who claim to be a child of God and can get by with going the way of the fleshly desires are not one of the Lord's kids. (1 Corinthians 5, Hebrews 12.)
He was resting when he should not have been.
He was listening when he should not have been.
He was eating and drinking when he should not have been.
It caught up with him.
The lion did not eat the man of God nor the ass, showing the lion did not kill the man out of any nautral desire, hunger, rage, &c., but as a direct command of God.
The Lion of the tribe of Judah will execute judgment some day, not only upon the disobedient (man of God here), but upon the sin of Jeroboam: "I'll worship the Lord God the way I feel is best".
The lion killed the man of God who spoke against the altar of Jeroboam, making the lion the final judge of Jeroboam. The king could not lift a hand against the man of God, but the lion could kill him.
What Jeroboam with the offer of half of his riches and glory could not accomplish (v. 8), another Christian used by a deceiving spirit was able to do. The "Frontal Attack" seldom works to destroy the man of God. It is usually the attacks from the inside from the angel of light that will do the trick.
What the devil could not accomplish in a frontal attack, Jeroboam, he was able to accomplish with a compromising Christian. The old prophet still at Bethel had not separated himself from Jeroboam's sin as others who feared God had done. The compromising prophet influenced the committed prophet to fall. (However, if the committed prophet had not stopped, the old prophet would not have found him.)
God's warning against the sin of Jeroboam was surely sealed with the death of God's man for his sin.
The conquest of one evil by the man of God, Jeroboam's altar, only opens the door to another evil, the old prophet who went looking for him. There is never a time when the man of God can say to their soul, "Take thine ease". AS soon as the Egyptians were drowned, Amaleck was waiting, then the Amorites and Canaanites. There are plenty of enemies lined up waiting for the chance to influence God's people to fall, aid if we "take oru rest now, we will fall victim. This is not your rest. (Micah 2:10.)
The man of God failed to put distance between himself and Jeroboam's sin. We hang around the sinner, and we will fact the same problem as did the man of God. We cannot sit under the oak tree close to the alter of Jeroboam and say "Deliver us from temptation". We cannot hang around a particular sin and claim the grace of God to overcome that sin, e.g., trying to bring our thoughts under control, and still read Playboy or watch immoral shows.
One last thing here with the man of God.
The one who enticed him to disobey God spoke his doom.
When the child of God says, "I can eat and drink with them, thereby reaching them for the Lord", he disobeys God, as God said come out from among them.
Neither does he win them. He does not raise above them in their estimation, but they will speak against him, speaking his doom. We do not rise in the world's estimation by joining with their desires. WE rise by standing against Jeroboam's sin, and by standing against their enticements. They know we should not be eating with them, v. 18, But he lied unto him.
The old prophet knew he was lying. The man of God knew he should not go with him, but he did anyway.
Vv. 33, 34. Jeroboam did ot change, even though the prophecy was sealed by the death of the man of God. God the Father sealed his pronouncement against the sin of Adam with the death of his Son on the Cross. He also made a way of escape. But man is happy with Jeroboam's altar, and goes on his marry way to his own destruction.
A good conclusion here might be, DON'T LOSE SIGHT OF THE CALL OF GOD, NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES MIGHT BE.
the needed rest under the Oak tree
the enticing words of older people, other Christians.
The man of God lost sight of the word of God, and he lost his life and ministry. It will happen every time. We must keep our eyes on the calling of God, the promises of God and the power of God.