The sin of sitting under an oak
1 Kings 13:1-3 “And, Behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Beth-el: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee….
And he gave a sign….saying, This is the sign….Behold the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.”
The kingdom has been torn in two after Solomon’s death. His son reigns in Judah….and Jeroboam reigns in Israel.
This split would cause many problems….deaths….and finally the downfall of both Judah and Israel…
…..though through God’s mercy (sending prophets to awaken them to return to Him)…..it would be several hundred years before it happened.
Israel was the worst of the two….for Jeroboam began setting up a rival religion immediately….afraid if Israel went to worship at Jerusalem, he would lose his power.
(Sadly,….for you would think that Israel would know better….he set up two golden calf’s, saying…..and doesn’t it sound familiar? Exodus 32:4….that these are the gods that brought them out of Egypt. 1 Kings 12:27-28, 30)
A man of God was sent to prophesy against the wicked altar that Jeroboam in Israel, had set up.
This man was not named…..nor his tribe….nor anything…..except that he was sent by the Word of the Lord.
The man of God did that,…..and as he spoke the king pointed to him and cried, “Lay hold on him” (1 Kings 13:4)
….suddenly the kings hand and arm, was dried up, so he could not move it!
The king, so eager to imprison him a moment ago…..begged for healing….
….and the man of God prayed…and the kings hand and arm were healed!
At the same time, the altar was rent in two, and the ashes of their sacrifices poured out!
Just as the Word of God had said,……which was spoken by the man of God.
Very amazing!…proving that what this man of God said, would truly come to pass,….later. And it did. (2 Kings 23:15-16)
Now, if this was all the story…..it would be grand and glorious….but it was not the end.
When we are given God’s Word to share….
….we are not only to speak God’s Word…..but we are to obey everything we have been told about it…..
….it is God’s Word, and there should be reverence about it.
(How many times the Lord has said to me, to preach His Word….
…..and I want to add an explanation….”it will make it more understandable, Lord”…..as though the Holy Spirit needed my help in explaining things! Crazy, I know. Praise God for His correction and help to me, always.)
….but the problem was….this man was to give his message….and leave.
Get back into Judah….about eleven miles away.
Don’t eat or even drink water in this place!
(God was manifesting the evil of that place….whether people believed His Word, or not.)
1 Kings 13:9 “For so was it charged me by the Word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor return again by the same way that thou camest.”
This man left…..and got about half way there, when….
….. this man sat down under an oak…..not yet to Judah….not yet fully obedient.
1 Kings 13:14 “And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak:…”
What was he doing?
Thinking about what he had just seen….
……about the grand things the Lord had just done!
Thinking about the wonderful things God had done through him…..
(which is always amazing….that God can use us to speak to someone to show them God’s Word)
And in doing so, this man got tricked by someone who lied to him (“…an angel spake unto me…” 1 Kings 13:18)
An old prophet in Israel heard of what happened….and went after this man of God….whether for news of Judah, or companionship, or curiosity….it does not say.
Now the prophet would never have caught him if the man of God had kept going….back to Judah….which the Lord had told him….specifically.
But this prophet found him sitting under an oak….
….and lied to him.
“Come home with me….have some food and drink…..an angel told me to come after you,”
Sadly, the man of God….who was glad to have someone to talk to…
…..decided to be obedient to the prophet, rather than God’s guidance to himself.
When he became disobedient (“so he went back…and did eat…and drank water.” 1 Kings 13:19)….
….”Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, and hast not kept the commandment which the Lord thy God commanded thee,….thy carcass shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.” I Kings 13:21-22.
The man of God left….but on his way back to Judah….
…….”a lion met him…and slew him…” 1 Kings 13:24
…..he was never to return to Judah!
And all these things are written for our learning:
How easy it is for us, to get caught up in our own thoughts of things:
Of how they “should” be.
Of what happened…
Of what they could have been….
Of our part in it all.
We can go over and over and over it…..but that will not change it…..or enlarge it….or diminish it, in reality.
Only in our perspective will it change.
What we can do, is strive to set everything we do aside to the Lord….
…..and after….it it in His hands.
For if it is in His hands,….it and we, are safe.
As Paul said,……and I am sure it was through much experience,….
Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I know both how to be abased, and how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
And this is what each Christian is to do:
All the things we have to do in our life……through Christ Jesus’ strength.