We have another response to having your sin exposed. A prophet points out Jeroboam’s sin and Jeroboam wants the prophet arrested. God protects the prophet by withering Jeroboam’s hand. God heals Jeroboam when he asks for prayer, but he doesn’t turn from his sin, even with the dramatic display of God’s intervention. This is very reminiscent of Pharoah. He’s following all the wrong examples. He follows Aaron’s example with the golden calf. He follow’s Pharaoh’s example of acknowledging God only when it serves him.
But then we have this story that I hate. God defended this prophet. He was speaking God’s words and obedient. He knows that God has told him not to eat or drink in that place.
An old prophet’s sons hear what happened with Jeroboam and the prophet and report it to their dad. The old man seems to decide to test the prophet’s commitment. He says an angel from the Lord told him that the prophet was to eat and drink with him. The prophet disobeys God and decides to eat with the man. The old man then prophecies that the prophet will not be buried in the tomb of his father. The prophet is killed by lion. The lion is obviously sent by God. There is no random accident here. The lion doesn’t eat him nor attack his donkey. The donkey and lion just sit nicely together while the prophet lies dead. The old man mourns for him and takes care of his body, burying him in his own tomb.
I have never gotten this story. Why? Why did he test him? Why did he take it upon himself? Does he regret it? He sort of seems to, mourning for the man, not acting like he got what he deserved.
What can we learn?
One, everything is a test. Every decision we make is showing our heart. Do we have chesed toward God, loving devotion? Are we faithful? Or, can we be easily turned by the lusts of the flesh, like hunger and thirst?
Two, there is no little decision when it comes to the word of the Lord. The word of the Lord is life and death. There’s no compromise. Compromise is death. Obedience, surrender to the Word, is life.
Three, you have no obligation to ever obey the words of someone who says an angel has spoken to them about you!
Four, we should never put people in a position of tempting them to disobey God. We should all have compassion for one another, knowing our weakness, and only ever help each other towards obedience.