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April 17 Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 13-14
“The Man of God who was Disobedient”
1 Kings 13:26
May God the Holy Spirit inscribe upon our hearts a portion of that for which he has caused these two chapters to be written in the Book of God for our learning, our admonition, our comfort, and our hope.
King Jeroboam reminds us of a fact that is commonly forgotten. Judgment never brings repentance. Providential judgments often alarm the wicked and cause the unbeliever to cry out to God; but that which is born in the storm dies in the calm. Jeroboam’s hand was miraculously withered by God and miraculously healed by God; but his heart was unchanged. — “ Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord” (Isaiah 26:10).
The Lying Prophet
In the character of the lying prophet we are given an alarming reminder of the fact that men may minister in holy things and never partake of the things themselves. Here is an old one, who has been a prophet for many years. How often he spoke to others in the name of God, and spoke the Word of God in truth. Yet, he was a lost, unbelieving man. He never knew the very things he preached, was never influenced in his heart by the Word of God, and never experienced the life-giving power and grace of God the Holy Spirit in his soul.
The Disobedient Prophet
The disobedient man of God was a truly faithful man, a bold prophet who spoke for God to the rebuke of the king, and did so face to face with the king. Few men of such boldness and faithfulness exist in any age or any society. Yet, even such a bold man is but a weak sinner saved by grace alone. The power of the king could not persuade this prophet to disobey God; but the subtle deception of a deceiving prophet of smooth words brought him down to the grave. Let us learn again from this man that there is in every child of God in this world two distinct, mutually warring natures, flesh and spirit. There is in every child of God this side of eternity a mixture of faith and unbelief.
These things are written here in the Book of God to remind us that salvation is God’s work alone. The only thing that distinguishes the elect from the reprobate is God’s grace. The only righteousness we have is Christ our Righteousness. The only holiness we have is Christ our Holiness. The only sanctification we have is Christ our Sanctification. The only redemption we have is Christ our Redemption. The only safety we have is Christ our Savior. — “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift!”
While we see the sad consequences of our fallen nature in a man so dreadfully wicked as Jeroboam, let us seek grace to put our faces in the dust and lay low in self-abasement before the throne of our God, the God of all grace, knowing and acknowledging that if we differ from him it is grace alone that makes us to differ. As we do, as we bow before the throne of grace, knowing that it is grace alone that makes us to differ from the reprobate, let us give thanks to our God for that grace and for faithful prophets like Ahijah, by whom the Lord God brings us the gospel of his grace.
Let our hearts be lifted as one, asking God to raise in his church many Ahijahs in this dark, dark day. Ask the Lord, with importunate pleading, to send forth faithful prophets, who will neither fear the frowns, nor court the smiles of any man, men who will proclaim the whole truth of God as it set forth in Holy Scripture, and keep back nothing that may be profitable to the salvation of chosen, redeemed sinners, the comfort of believers, the edification of God’s saints in the faith of the gospel, and the reviving of God’s church, for Christ’s sake.