Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 13

The holy man does not turn back to God

1 Kings 13:23

God’s message to the holy man from Judah was that his grave would not be near his father’s grave. It would not be with the graves of other members of his family.

From the later part of the chapter, we can see what that meant. The holy man died before he could return to Judah. His grave was therefore in Bethel, far from the graves of his family.

However, perhaps the holy man himself did not realise how soon his death would be. He seemed careless about the message from God. He simply finished the meal that God had told him not to eat. Then he began his journey home, which he would never complete.

It is clear how he should have behaved. He should have stopped his wrong activities at once. He should have confessed his evil deeds to God, as David did in Psalm 51. David too was a holy man; and David was guilty of some very evil deeds. However God forgave David (2 Samuel 12:13) – and perhaps God would forgive this holy man too. God is merciful, in other words, very kind (Exodus 34:6-7). He does not want to punish people for their evil deeds – rather, his desire is to forgive them (Ezekiel 18:23 and 18:30-32).

Many people behave like the man in our passage. They know about God’s judgment against their evil deeds, and they know about the kindness of God (Romans 6:23). However, they still neglect to turn back to God until it is too late (Hebrews 9:27).

Next part: The extraordinary circumstances of the holy man's death (1 Kings 13:24-26)


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