Friday, November 2, 2018

Jeroboam And The Man Of God

New Mercies. They are our daily provision. We interpret situations with them. We bring them into each relationship. The believer has newness each and every day. The prophets in the Hebrew scriptures are a great example of this. They lived in the fresh word they received from God in the midst of an often perverse world and culture. They confronted the wrongs in Israel but if they were in their right mind they didn't 'return the way they came in' to the situation.

"And he gave a sign the same day, saying, 'This is the sign that the LORD has spoken: 'Behold, the altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.'' And when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, 'Seize him.' And his hand, which he stretched out against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar also was torn down, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. And the king said to the man of God, 'Entreat now the favor of the LORD your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.' And the man of God entreated the LORD, and the king's hand was restored to him and became as it was before. And the king said to the man of God, 'Come home with me, and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.' And the man of God said to the king, 'If you give me half your house, I will not go in with you. And I will not eat bread or drink water in this place, for so was it commanded me by the word of the LORD, saying, 'You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came.' ' So he went another way and did not return by the way that he came to Bethel." - 1 Kings 13:3-10 ESV

We can't fellowship with the way of compromise. Jeroboam's brother Rehoboam had made bad decisions and those decisions split the Hebrews into two nations. People who were loyal to Jeroboam's family stayed with him but he could not worship in the 'right place' so he set up a new place of worship that God could not and did not endorse.

Still... God had new mercy for Jeroboam. All he had to do was ask for it.

Often times we can look at people in the Bible and see that God gives us an account of them to reveal a mindset or method. I see Jeroboam as the 'old me' who is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Others have made bad decisions and I have to live with the consequences and there are no easy answers. The prophet is the 'new man' or 'new me'. He enters with clarity and mercy and somehow exits another way like the wind.

"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." - John 3:8 ESV

One nation became two. Then after many trials and finally captivities the remnant of this nation returned in unity again and rebuilt the wall and temple (see Nehemiah, Ezra and 2 Chronicles 36:22f). We start out innocent but then something happens. The world harasses us and eventually, we are taken captive but Jesus brings us back 'into the land' in newness. We become a remnant. A people that lives in and moves in mercy.

Today is a day where we might be tempted to fellowship with the old but we have a new option. We can enter in mercy and leave in new mercy because we see Jesus. Wow. Thank You God.


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