At the Lord's Command

Immediately, King Solomon's heart turned away from God just because he married strange women, and his kingdom got divided because of this.  For the sake of God’s promises to King David, the tribe of Judah was the only tribe that stayed with his son.

One of the divided kingdoms was ruled by Jeroboam, who was made king over all of Israel. However, he repeated the mistake that caused King Solomon to be divided. He erected pagan shrines and ordained priests in his own kingdom just to sustain it and ensure that the people of Israel did not return to the dynasty of David.

For the records, the priests are always selected from the tribe for Levi, but Jeroboam elected the priests of his kingdom from common people. Not only that, he built pagan shrines in place of God's temple. This act by Jeroboam was in no way different from that of King Solomon.

For this reason, the Lord sent a prophet to denounce Jeroboam. The prophet decreed at God’s command that a child named Josiah would be born for the dynasty of David. It was also declared that the same altar that was erected for their pagan gods would be used to burn human bones, and a sign that was promised came to pass the moment the prophet delivered his message.

This made Jeroboam so pissed that he ordered that the prophet be seized, but the hand he stretched toward the prophet became paralyzed in a certain position. The altar split into two thereafter, and the ashes poured out. This must have caused the king to realize how potent the message was.

He does not need any more evidence that the prophet was sent by God. This made him ask the prophet to plead with God so his hand could be restored. God honoured the prophet's prayer by healing the paralyzed hand. The prophet was offered a gift in return, but he blatantly refused. (See 1 Kings 13 vs. 16).

Here is the gist:

  • The prophet left Judah for Bethel at the Lord’s command.
  • God told him what to do after delivering the message.
  • The king offered him food and gifts, but he refused because all he wanted was to obey God's commands.

When the news reached the old prophet in Bethel, he saddled his donkey and set out in search of Judah's prophet. When he was discovered, he invited him to his home for dinner. The prophet of Judah responded in the same way that he did to the king. However, when the old prophet declared that he had been sent by an angel of God, the prophet of Judah put aside his reasoning and immediately followed.

At this point, he chooses to believe the word of the old prophet and neglects the command of God. He did not even stop to ask God if what was said was true. Instead, he chose to believe the old prophet because he was a prophet. Did God send him? Was he sent by the angel or by himself? Those were the questions that the prophet needed to chew on before responding.

As little as the instructions were, they were the determinant of his safe return back to Judah; the moment he disobeyed, he paid with his life. Another thing is that he was found resting under a tree still in the land of Bethel. Maybe if he had chosen to move far away from the land, the prophet would not have gotten to him.

This goes on to show us that God’s commands aren't something to joke with or handle with levity. Failure to obey his commands simply means disobedience. His command should always supersede all other commands, regardless of the time, place, or whoever is given different advice that is completely different from the Lord’s command.

We sometimes act as the prophet of Judah. We choose to heed people's advice because we believe they are speaking from experience or that they are more knowledgeable. Knowledge is not the same as God's commands. Experiences that are not based on God's Word should not be followed. Even if they are based on God's Word, we have no reason to make use of them if they are completely different from God's instructions at that point in time.

You will be shocked at the kind of advice you receive sometimes. Many people have missed it completely just because they chose to believe someone else’s advice. Some are in the wrong relationship because so many have fallen into errors that have held them down in shackles. After all, they did not consult God and ask to know what He was saying at the time.

That's why it's good to know God intimately. Learn to hear him speak; let your heart communicate with him as you read and study his words. His words say, "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." Psalms 119:11 NKJV To obey His instructions, His words need to be inscribed in our hearts.

It's not too late to make a U-turn today. Ask that he direct you in all that you do. Ask Him to give you the grace to obey his instructions despite all odds. Pray until it becomes something you can do with ease.



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