SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- So ... this is a weird story! By the way, you should probably find the weird stories in the Bible reassuring. If the Bible was written by people trying to convince others of lies, anything weird would be left out to avoid cynicism and questions. But weird things happen in real life, and the Bible is reporting on real life.
- The prophecy the "man of God" gives in verse 2 is fulfilled 300 years later. We find that story in 2 Kings 23:1-29.
- God is trying to get Jeroboam to turn from evil and back to him, and even gives him the sign of healing his hand (verse 6).
- God probably prohibited the "man of God" from eating while he was there because the people there were worshipping other gods (who even required child sacrifice) and God didn't want him to become associated with it or tainted by it. God is protecting him.
- It's bizarre that this "old prophet" who lives in Bethel lies to the man of God from Judah, getting him to come and eat with him, and then becomes the very person God uses to tell the man of God that there will be consequences for his disobedience. But, again, that's the way it really happened, and sometimes weird things happen in real life.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- God had specifically told the "man of God from Judah" not to eat or drink while he was in Bethel, where prohibited sacrifices were being offered as a part of pagan worship by people who were supposed to be faithful to God (see verse 9). But this man of God is deceived into disobeying God by someone who claims to be telling him the truth (verses 15-19). His disobedience leads to dire consequences, as disobedience to God always does. And WE need to know and obey what God has specifically told us, even if others try to convince us to do something else.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- God has specifically told us in the Bible a lot of things that others might try to convince us otherwise. For instance, God says that :
- we shouldn't have sex until marriage,
- astrology is evil,
- our money is not our own but belongs to Him and we need to generously give the first part back to Him,
- the path to greatness is not through gaining power but through serving,
- we shouldn't look lustfully at people or their possessions.
- Where do you find yourself being convinced that what God says isn't the final word, and that you can do what someone else tells you is ok?