Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 13

A message from God against wrong religion

1 Kings 13:1

In northern and central Israel, Jeroboam was king. He did not want his people to serve God at the temple (God’s house) in Jerusalem – so, he made a new religion for them. He told the people to gather for prayer at the images (idols) that he had set up at Bethel and Dan. There, he himself offered animals as sacrifices (gifts for the purposes of religion).

So, the king led his people away from God’s commands about their religion (Exodus 20:4-6). They were not loyal to God, but God did not forget them. He remembered his covenant, the relationship that he had established by his promises to Israel. So, he sent a holy man, a prophet from Judah, to warn the people about their wrong religion. God wanted them to be aware of their wrong deeds so that they would turn back to him.

God had given clear instructions to this holy man – both about his message and about his behaviour on this journey. These extraordinary instructions emphasise how important this message was. In it, God would show that he knows about future events. In fact, this message even declared the name of the king, Josiah, who 300 years later destroyed Jeroboam’s holy place.

Probably, God also told this holy man exactly when he should declare his message. He declared it at the exact moment when Jeroboam was making his sacrifice in front of his idol. It seems that a vast crowd of Israel’s people was present. So, the holy man interrupted this great ceremony to declare his message.

Next part: Josiah will destroy Jeroboam's altar (1 Kings 13:2)


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