The old prophet, the man of God, and spiritual obedience

Almost hidden away in the book of I Kings  See I Kings, chap. 13 . is a gem of a story. It is self-contained in just one chapter, but its masterful telling and unusual irony give it powerful impact. And like more familiar Bible stories, it is capable of teaching us some key spiritual lessons.

An unnamed minor prophet prophesies against King Jeroboam's policies. The king hears it and stretches forth his hand against the prophet, and immediately his hand becomes dried-up and useless. The king then turns to this man of God for help, and he heals the king's hand. We see that this prophet has the power of both prophecy and healing. He is not so "minor" after all. And something about the way the story is told begins to convey his genuine purity.

The king wants to reward the man of God and invites him back to the palace for "refreshments" and hospitality. But the man of God in no uncertain terms rejects the offer: "If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: for so was it charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest."

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Christian Science, not human will, heals
September 30, 1985

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