Saturday, June 16, 2012


A man of God came from Judah to Bethel by a revelation from the Lord while Jeroboam was standing beside the altar to burn incense.” (1 Kings 13:1 HCSB)

Titles can tell us a lot: President, Principal, Chairman, Coach, Doctor, Deputy, Attorney, Actor.  Titles convey a person’s authority and activity.  Some titles are impressive—“Lord” like those of a royal family; others are infamous—“Don” like those of a crime family.  Titles can speak volumes.

One of the most honorable of titles is to simply be called, “the man of God.”  That means you are His man—God owns you and you have surrendered your life in totality to His service.  The world may not hold that title in high esteem, but in heaven it is a title rarely bestowed and of exceeding worth. 

There is a special authority—you are God’s representative.  There is a select activity—you carry God’s revelation.  You have been sent into the world to proclaim God’s Word.  You are a herald of the King of kings and ultimate allegiance belongs to Him.

When we think of Moses, David, Elijah and Elisha we think of heroes of faith who stood tall for God and so whether having other titles like leader, king, and prophet, the best designation was the simple “man of God.”

Others who bore that title, carried no other—sometimes they were not even named.  They are as one of the men in our text: the man of God.  That’s it—no proper name given, no family designation.  He is God’s man—and that is enough to know.

The authority of the man of God flows from the Word of God.  He has been given the Word, and must speak the Word.  He has it engraved in his heart, utters it from his lips, and reflects his submission to it in his life.  The man of God is inseparable from the Word of God.

In these days of moral confusion and doctrinal compromise, how much we need the man of God with the Word of God!  Whether that man is a produce manager in the marketplace who stands for truth on the job or is a pastor in the church who speaks for truth from the pulpit—laity or clergy—there is a dearth of men who will surrender to God and speak for God!  There were few in Bible times, and there are fewer still today.

What are some lessons we can glean from the man of God with the word of God, as we study the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of 1 Kings?

We see that the man of God has A COURAGEOUS WORD FROM GOD (1 Kings 13:1-10)

“The man of God cried out against the altar by a revelation from the Lord: ‘Altar, altar, this is what the Lord says, “A son will be born to the house of David, named Josiah, and he will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who are burning incense on you. Human bones will be burned on you.””

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.”’  When the king heard the word that the man of God had cried out against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar and said, ‘Arrest him!’ But the hand he stretched out against him withered, and he could not pull it back to himself.

The altar was ripped apart, and the ashes poured from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.” (13:2-5)

From a human viewpoint, to stride into the presence of a king, and as a simple man to utter words of judgment, took great courage!  Surely, the man of God knew the danger involved.  Jeroboam was not happy!  The order came to have this man of God thrown into prison.  Whether it was Jeremiah in the Old Testament or John the Baptist in the New Testament, God’s spokesmen seem to spend a lot of time behind bars.  This is one reason why the church has often been known as a “non-prophet” organization.  People don’t line up to be cut in two, as Isaiah was thought to have been, or have their head cut off, like John the Baptist did.  When the deacon Stephen spoke God’s Word, the congregation gnashed their teeth in fury, took up stones and battered that man of God into a bloody pile of shattered bones.  No wonder there are not many applying for the prophet position!

It takes courage to speak with heaven’s authority against earth’s authority.  It requires courage to underscore there are objective standards in a world that has bought into idea that there are no absolutes.  It takes courage to stand against the tide, to shout into the fury of the prevailing winds and be faithful to God—it will cost us something and it may cost us everything!

We also detect a danger to the man of God in that there might be A COMPROMISED WORD FROM GOD (1 Kings 13:11-34).

Now a certain old prophet was living in Bethel. His son came and told him all the deeds that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. His sons also told their father the words that he had spoken to the king.  Then their father said to them, ‘Which way did he go?’ His sons had seen the way taken by the man of God who had come from Judah.  Then he said to his sons, ‘Saddle the donkey for me.’ So they saddled the donkey for him, and he got on it.

He followed the man of God and found him sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, ‘Are you the man of God who came from Judah?’ ‘I am,’ he said.

Then he said to him, ‘Come home with me and eat bread.’  But he answered, ‘I cannot go back with you, eat bread, or drink water with you in this place, for a message came to me by the word of the Lord: “You must not eat bread or drink water there or go back by the way you came.”’  He said to him, ‘I am also a prophet like you. An angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord: “Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.”’ The old prophet deceived him, and the man of God went back with him, ate bread in his house, and drank water.

While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back, and the prophet cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Because you rebelled against the command of the Lord and did not keep the command that the Lord your God commanded you—but you went back and ate bread and drank water in the place that He said to you, ‘Do not eat bread and do not drink water’- your corpse will never reach the grave of your fathers.”’  

So after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, the old prophet saddled the donkey for the prophet he had brought back.   When he left, a lion attacked him along the way and killed him. His corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey was standing beside it; the lion was standing beside the corpse too.” (13:11-24)

The greatest peril to the man of God is not from the wrath of man due to our faithful stand against sin, but from the displeasure of God as we are unfaithful to submit to His Word ourselves.  The man of God committed a “sin that brings death” (1 John 5:16) which is a capital crime in the high court of heaven.  This man of God who had courageously faced the king and pronounced God’s message, falls in an unguarded moment of leisure.  One thinks of how David was able to face down a giant in that hour of crisis, but in the night succumbed to the lure of a slender woman.

The man of God had a clear word from God—and he compromised.  It seems like a little thing, but compromise never is.  It is defiance.  It is sin—and God doesn’t take it lightly.  Another “prophet” was complicit in this.  For his own personal benefit—his desire to entertain the “man of God” he presents this ruse.  You see now why that old prophet who lived in the neighborhood was not sent by God to Jeroboam; that God instead, had to send someone from distant Judah.  That fellow was already a compromiser—and the old spider spins a web that traps the man of God.

It is interesting that there was a claim that an angel had given a different message.  There was a rejection of a clear word from God in favor of an additional revelation from a celestial messenger.  How many cults and false religions have sold the same lie—whether packaged as Mormonism or Islam. This fascination with messages from angels is characteristic of New Age occultism.  Don’t be seduced.  You have a Bible—that’s enough!

Paul said a few things about this:

“But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a complete and pure devotion to Christ.  For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly!

Now I consider myself in no way inferior to the ‘super-apostles.’ Though untrained in public speaking, I am certainly not [untrained] in knowledge. Indeed, we have always made that clear to you in everything.  Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge?  I robbed other churches by taking pay [from them] to minister to you.  When I was present with you and in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my needs. I have kept myself, and will keep myself, from burdening you in any way.  As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia.  Why? Because I don't love you? God knows I do!  But I will continue to do what I am doing, in order to deny the opportunity of those who want an opportunity to be regarded just as our equals in what they boast about.  For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  So it is no great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their destiny will be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:3-15)

I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ [and are turning] to a different gospel—not that there is another [gospel], but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news about the Messiah.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him!   As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!  For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-10)

This is no small matter!  When the Word of God is compromised, we cease to be the man of God.  We have been swayed by spiritual deception or the desire to please man.  This is deadly.

The man of God has A CONVICTING WORD FROM GOD (14:1-11)

“But the Lord had said to Ahijah, ‘Jeroboam's wife is coming soon to ask you about her son, for he is sick. You are to say such and such to her. When she arrives, she will be disguised.’  When Ahijah heard the sound of her feet entering the door, he said, ‘Come in, wife of Jeroboam! Why are you disguised? I have bad news for you.  Go tell Jeroboam, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: I raised you up from among the people, appointed you ruler over My people Israel,  tore the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it to you. But you were not like My servant David, who kept My commands and followed Me with all of his heart, doing only what is right in My eyes.  You behaved more wickedly than all who were before you. In order to provoke Me, you have proceeded to make for yourself other gods and cast images, but you have flung Me behind your back.  Because of all this, I am about to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam:
I will eliminate all of Jeroboam's males, both slave and free, in Israel; I will sweep away the house of Jeroboam as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone!   Anyone who belongs to Jeroboam and dies in the city, the dogs will eat, and anyone who dies in the field, the birds of the sky will eat, for the Lord has said it!'” (1 Kings 14:5-11)

One man of God falls and God raises up another.  Ahijah had been faithful and will be faithful to the end.

Jeroboam knows who to turn to when he needs to hear from God.  Ahijah had already prophesied that Jeroboam would become king—and the Word had been fulfilled.  So, he seeks the man of God for guidance about the future, as he had proven reliable in the past.  Speaking for God will seldom bring us popularity, but it will demonstrate integrity. 

Do you want a doctor who tells you what you want to hear or what you need to hear?  My first surgeon had the personality of a cardboard box, but the ability of the best in his field.  That’s the one I wanted for my operation.  He cut me; it hurt; but I was healed.  This is what the Word of God spoken by a man of God can do.

Jeroboam would not follow take the prescription, even though he respected the physician.  That was the case of King Herod who loved to listen to John the Baptist’s preaching, but would not repent; it was like Pilate who knew Jesus was innocent but caved in to political expedience.  I am fairly certain that both men are in hell—and that is what rejecting the Word of God will do.  Judgment fell on Jeroboam and his household accordingly.

Thankfully, the man of God also has A COMPASSIONATE WORD FROM GOD (14:12-20)

"As for you, get up and go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the boy will die.  All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He alone out of Jeroboam's [house] will be put in the [family] tomb, because out of the house of Jeroboam the Lord God of Israel found something good only in him.” (v.12-13)

Even on the darkest days, God will sometimes send a shaft of sunlight breaking though the clouds—in wrath He remembers mercy (see Habakkuk 3:2).  That is how the gracious God treats a little boy born into a wicked family.  His death was a precious gift.  He would be buried rather than consumed by dogs.  People would be mourning at his funeral instead of celebrating his death.  The little fellow would be welcomed by his Heavenly Father into heaven rather than following the wicked path of his human father had he grown up in Jeroboam’s palace.

The man of God must share the Word of God, whether people want to hear it or not.  Sometimes, it is blunt and confrontational, smelling of fire and sulfur.  Then, there are times is it blessed and comforting, smelling as Eden’s flowers.

No matter how people evaluate it—ultimately, it is what God says that matters.  Let us be faithful to proclaim and practice the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth—so help us God!

No comments: