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The Disobedient Prophet.

The Disobedient Prophet.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.



1 KINGS xiii. 26.

And when the. prophet that brought him hack from the toay heard
thereof, he said, It ie the man of God, who was disobedient unto the
word of the Lord.
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.



1 KINGS xiii. 26.

And when the. prophet that brought him hack from the toay heard
thereof, he said, It ie the man of God, who was disobedient unto the
word of the Lord.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 05, 2013
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THE DISOBEDIET PROPHET.BY THOMAS AROLD, D.D.1 KIGS xiii. 26.And when the. prophet that brought him hack from the toay heardthereof, he said, It ie the man of God, who was disobedient unto theword of the Lord.In consideriDg the chapter from which these words aretaken, and which was the first lesson for this morning'sservice, it seems best first to explain such parts of it asmay need explanation, considered merely as a story ; andthen to show what parts of it, and in what respects, afibrdinstruction to us : two things very different in themselves,and requiring always to be kept distinct.Taking then the account of the disobedient prophetmerely as the account of a past event, and wishing tounderstand it merely as such, we may wish perhaps toknow why the prophet who came from Judah was com-manded neither to eat nor drink at Bethel; and stillmore, why the old prophet should have been so anxiousto persuade him to do what was forbidden him. ow thereason why the prophet who came from Judah was neitherto eat nor to drink at Bethel, nor to return by thesame way that he had set out, was in order to show thatJeroboam and his people were fallen away from the truecommonwealth of Israel, that the bond of brotherhoodbetween them and Judah was broken off utterly ; thatTHE DISOBEDIET PROPHET. 77they were be9ome to the servants of God like heathenmen and publicans, with whom they were to hold no
 
intercourse. As St. John desires the Christians not toreceive into their house certain men who by their evildeeds had broken the bond of Christian communion, noreven to bid them God speed, — * for he that biddeth themGod speed,' he adds, ' is partaker of their evil deeds,' — so the prophet of God, who was bearing the message of God's judgment against Bethel, was to have no friendlyintercourse with its people ; he was to keep himself aloof from them, and even to return by a different road, lest byrenewing his acquaintance with any of the inhabitantswhom he had seen on his first journey, he might be themore tempted to hold intercourse with them, and to lingeron his way home.This being the reason of the command given to theprophet of Judah, we are now to consider what motivesthe old prophet could have had to tempt him to dis-obedience. The old prophet must be supposed to havebeen one who had taken part heartily with Jeroboamin separating himself from the common worship at Jeru-salem ; one who had strongly supported the setting upthe altars at Bethel and at Dan. He would, therefore,be ill pleased to see his own conduct and that of hiscountrymen declared to be so sinful, as that God's pro-phets might hold no communion with them. He wouldfeel the command issued to the prophet to be a reproachupon him and on his cause, and knowing the effect of oldhabits and impressions upon the people at large, he wouldbe afriiid lest they themselves should be shocked at findingthemselves so utterly condemned as unholy by a prophetof Jerusalem, and lest they might desire to escape fromhis censures by conforming again to the worship of thetribe of Judah. As Saul had besought Samuel to turnwith him, and honour him before the elders of his people»»o
 
78 THE DISOBEDIET rROPHKT.and before Israel, so this old prophet wished to persuadethe prophet of Judah to abate something of his severity ;to enter into his house and eat of his bread and drink of his cup, that so the people might think that their conductwas not so utterly condemned at Jerusalem ; that the pro-phet, while bearing a message of severity, was himself inclined to think it too severe : that, whilst denoimcing a judgment, he acted as if he did not himself believe that itwould come to pass. For men's actions are more than theirwords ; and it would have been of little consequence thatthe prophet in public, and in his official character, if Imay so speak, should have denounced Jeroboam and hisworship as sinful, if privately, and in those momentswhen a man's real sentiments appear, he should holdfriendly intercourse with one of the prophets of that wor-ship, and enter with him into the sacred relations of hospitality.Such were the old prophet's motives ; motives arisingout of no hatred to the prophet of Judah, but simplyfrom a wish to make it appear that the cause of theworship of Bethel was not so evil as might be thoughtfrom the prophet's public message, and that the prophetby his own acts showed that he himself did not so regardit. And therefore, when he found that the prophet hadfallen a victim to his policy, that he had been himself condemned for lowering in a manner the sentence of God'scondemnation against others, then his heart smote him ;and while he mourned for him whom his arts had ruined,and said over his grave, * Alas, my brother I ' he con-firmed with his own lips the voice of that sentence onwhich he had vainly endeavoured at the price of so muchguilt to throw discredit.But now if from understanding this story, as a thing

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