1 Kings 13:7-10
And the king said to the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.…
We may view "Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin," as the "man of sin" of his time, and a forerunner of the Antichrist of more modern times (2 Thessalonians 2:3). In contrast to him we have to consider the "man of God," in which character this prophet who confronted Jeroboam at Bethel, is described. The instructions under which he acted teach us how a saint should behave amongst workers of iniquity.
I. HE MUST HOLD NO FELLOWSHIP WITH THEM.
1. He must not eat and drink with them.
(1) For this was anciently a profession of fellowship. Hence the Hebrews in Egypt would not eat with the Egyptians (Genesis 43:32). The Jews would not eat with the Samaritans (John 4:9); and they were shocked to see Jesus eating with publicans and sinners (Matthew 9:11). For the same reason Christians were forbidden to eat with ungodly persons (1 Corinthians 5:11; see also Romans 16:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14; 2 Timothy 3:5; James 4:4; 2 John 1:10).
(2) The law of distinction between clean and unclean meats set forth not only the duty of avoiding fellowship with moral uncleanness, but also with those who are morally unclean; for the unclean animals represented "sinners of the Gentiles" while the clean stood for the "holy people" of Israel (Acts 10:14, 84, 85).
(3) The eating of the forbidden fruit in Eden at the instigation of the serpent, who also seems to have eaten of it first, expressed fellowship with Satan! As the trees of Eden were sacramental, it may have expressed a covenant with the Evil One! Those who ate together were understood to stand to each other in a covenant relationship (Genesis 31:43-46).
(4) In this light the Christian Eucharist sets forth the covenant fellowship, that we have, first, with Christ, and secondly, with those who are in such fellowship with Him (see, in this light, John 6:53-56).
2. He must refuse their presents.
(1) Some think Jeroboam's offer to "reward" the man of God was to give him a bribe. This is not evident. Yet good men are liable to be tempted with bribes, but should stoutly refuse them (1 Samuel 12:3; Job 15:34).
(2) The king's intention was to do honour to the man of God, according to a constant custom in the East (see 1 Samuel 9:7; 2 Kings 5:15). The word מתת here translated "reward," would have been better rendered "gift," as in many other places it is. But such a gift or present, if accepted, would express friendship, and therefore, coming from the hand of an arch idolator and schismatic, it must be declined,
(3) Good men must be careful how they accept favours from the wicked, lest in doing so they may compromise to them their independence, or come unduly under their influence (see Genesis 14:28; 23:13-16; 2 Kings 5:16).
II. HIS INTERCOURSE WITH THEM SHOULD BE BRIEF.
1. While serving God he is safe.
(1) His very testimony for God commits him to a course of conduct consistent with it. This element of moral strength is lost to those who hide their light under a bushel.
(2) He has a right to claim God's help (Matthew 10:19, 20; Matthew 28:20).
2. But it is perilous longer to remain.
(1) The very disposition to remain amidst circumstances with which we should have no sympathy argues weakness which should alarm.
(2) He lays himself open to temptation. He may find the "king" disposed to honour him. Some are foolishly susceptible to flattery from the great ones of this world. The man of God should be proof against this (ver. 8).
(3) He may be taken at a disadvantage. Being away from the influence of godly friends. Having now no claim to special help from God.
3. But why must he return by another way?
(1) Not only did the man of God give a sign, but he was also himself a sign (see Ezekiel 12:11; Ezekiel 24:24; Zechariah 3:8, margin). As Jeroboam was the sign of the man of sin, this prophet was, at least in his instructions, a typical "man of God."
(2) In coming from Judah, where God was purely worshipped in His temple, to Ephraim, where "altars were made unto sin," he would personate that moral lapse into which Ephraim had fallen.
(3) In his speedy return from Ephraim to Judah, after deprecating the sin of the place, he would represent to the Ephrathites what God expected from them, viz., repentance and reformation.
(4) But the way hack to God is not precisely the reversal of the way from Him. Adam fell by sin of his own and was turned out of Eden, but must return by the righteousness of another (Genesis 3:24). Our way hack to God is the "new and living way opened in the blood of Jesus." - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.