He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’ ” (1 Kings 13:21-22 NIV)
The word of the Lord is powerful. The thirteenth chapter of 1 Kings highlights just how powerful the word is to rulers and messengers.
The word of the Lord had something to say about the destiny of the altar built to idols in front of King Jeroboam. The word of the Lord backed up the destiny with a sign in the present that overruled any authority Jeroboam looked to exercise as seen by the shrivelled hand he suffered when he looked to reprimand the messenger of the Lord. The word of the Lord showed mercy to Jeroboam by restoring his hand to health thanks to the intercession of the messenger. This clearly showed the power of God against rulers of the world. No matter what they look to do, they must yield to the word of the Lord.
What takes place following this is a sober reminder that God is not a man that he should lie. The word of the Lord was clear as to how the messenger should deliver the message and what he should do after he had delivered the message. This was the word of the Lord. It was clear. Clear to the point that the messenger could even refuse the invitation of the King. The messenger knew it very well. When an old prophet comes along and invites the messenger to go against what God has said, this messenger has a choice, that choice is clear. If an old prophet appeals to something that contradicts the word of the Lord following the old prophet clearly defies the word of the Lord. There is much to be said about what the old prophet did, but it is the act of defiance of the messenger that comes to the fore. The sad demise of the messenger does not diminish the message, on the contrary, the old prophet sees the protected body of the body as a testimony of the power of the word of the Lord that must be obeyed by rulers and messengers.
Even if the messenger fails, the message remains true. This episode is given to us so we can be mindful and sensitive to the power of the word of the Lord.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden