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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

April 17, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again


Daily Reading: I Kings 12-14

 

I Kings 13:1

And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.

 

This unnamed prophet of God was given a “word” from God. He was to deliver this “word,” this message against the altar, in the temple that Jeroboam constructed in Bethel. Jeroboam (the first king of the Northern Kingdom) was in the temple and he must have intruded in the priest’s office. The message was about the future birth of Josiah, that Josiah would pollute that altar with the bones of dead men, the altar would be rent, and the ashes that would be on it would be poured out. This is one of those few prophecies that is so exact and detailed that it is almost unbelievable. Three hundred years later it was fulfilled, its fulfillment is recorded in II Kings 23:15-20.

 

But that’s not all. Upon hearing this prophecy, Jeroboam lifted his hand from the altar in a dramatic gesture while ordering the death of the prophet. Upon raising his hand, it dried up! That altar was rent, and the ashes were poured out, just as the prophet said it would be (the part about the bones of dead men being burned by Josiah is the part of the prophecy that took place in II Kings 23). In a moment of desperation, the king (Jeroboam) prayed that the man of God would pray for him so that God would restore his hand. The prophet did pray for the king and his hand was restored.

 

These few verses deliver a story that could be written about for a month’s worth of devotions. Consider two simple takeaways.

 

One, God knows the future. Yes, all humans have a free will, but God in His foreknowledge already knows that which a person will become, do, and most importantly, God knows if He can trust them. The Lord told the prophet that Josiah would be born and would perform the task that was foretold. Another example is that more than one hundred years before Cyrus (founder and king of Persia) was born, Isaiah prophesied about him (Isaiah 44:28, & 45:1). Isaiah proclaimed that Cyrus would issue a decree to let the Jews return to their homeland from bondage in Babylon. In Genesis the Lord told Rebekah all about the future of the twins that she would bring forth. Also, in Genesis God told Hagar about her soon to be born son, Ishmael. On and on we could go. Just understand this, all humans have been given a free will, but God already knows that which they will choose. For example, the people of Israel had a free will concerning the crucifixion of Christ but in Acts 2:23 it is recorded, Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:. The old saying is true “Has it ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurred to God?”  Why, because He knows all things before they happen.

 

Two, God has the ability to change His mind. He did it with Jeroboam’s hand. It was dried up, but then it was restored. Remember Hezekiah? God changed His mind and gave the king an additional fifteen years to live. In fact, six times in the Bible the statement “the Lord repented” is stated. Meaning the Lord changed His mind, thereby changing His actions.

 

There is so much here to relay, but space is limited. Someday there will be no limits and we will be able to learn everything about everything. Or at least I sure hope so!

 

Dr. William T. Howe

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