The Pretensions of Error Deepen its Shame
1 Kings 13:1-10
And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD to Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.…

1 Kings 13:1-10.

I. THE PRETENSIONS OF ERROR DEEPEN ITS SHAME. The idolatrous altar was being solemnly consecrated. The people's eyes were dazzled with the splendour of the priestly and regal display. Jeroboam himself stood by the altar to offer incense. And then the cry arose which arrested every ear and thrilled through every soul.

1. The attempt to give importance to the new idolatry only broadened the mark for God's rebuke: it simply lent emphasis to His condemnation. They had come to consecrate, and had really come to attend upon God while He desecrated the work of their hands. Heathenism in its splendour thus rebuked by the preaching of the cross, Rome by the light of the Reformation.

2. The agent by whom God's glory was vindicated. The insignificance of the poor, weary, travel-stained man deepened their disgrace. "God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."


1. The altar will be desecrated. The place will be made an abomination and horror. Sin's judgment will in the end be sin's destruction.

2. The sin will be wiped out in the blood and shame of those who have wrought it. The priests will be offered upon the altar, the bones of its worshippers burned upon it. The world's sin will be ended in God's fiery judgment upon the sinful.

3. The certainty of God's purpose. Centuries intervened between the prediction and the fulfilment, but all was arranged. The time was fixed, the avenger named. There is no uncertainty in God's mind regarding the end of iniquity. The decree has been recorded, the time fixed, THE MAN named by whom He will judge the world in righteousness.

4. The sign meanwhile given. The altar was rent and its ashes poured out. The wrath revealed from heaven now is proof that all God's purpose shall be fulfilled.


1. The withered arm. The arm outstretched in eager, wrathful command to arrest the man of God, withered in the very attitude. It was the emblem of his house and of his people; they were withered in the attitude of rebellion against God.

2. The prophet's safety. He needed none to shield him. God protects all those who serve Him.

3. Jeroboam's humiliation. He turns from idol and altar and priests, and requests the prophet's intercession with Jehovah.

4. His arm is restored at the prophet's request, and he thus bears in his person another token that the word he has heard is from God. It is the story of God's contest with darkness and wrong today.

IV. SEPARATION ESSENTIAL FOR TESTIMONY. Jeroboam's hospitality and reward were alike refused. The prophet was even forbidden to return by the same way: he was not to enter even into acquaintance with men who were sinning so deeply against God. Unless there be separation our testimony is a sham. Our life unsays our speech. If we will speak God's word to the sinful, our attitude must reveal their distance from God and the peril in which they stand. If our own heart be filled with holy fear it may pass item us to them. - J.U.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: Behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of Yahweh to Beth El: and Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense.

The Nameless Prophet
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