Old Testament Lesson 27: The Influence of Wicked and Righteous Leaders

Introduction
Prophets are not required to do things that make sense to anyone but God. Their prophetic utterances are often received with ridicule and derision. Their actions are frequently misunderstood. But what Ahijah did to Jeroboam must have seemed strange beyond all comprehension:

"And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces . . ." (1 Kings 11:29,30).

There was of course a divine and significant purpose in the act - it was intended to teach Jeroboam a lesson about the will of God.

"And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee . . . I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes" (1 Kings 11:31,35).

With the call came a great promise:

"And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee" (1 Kings 11:38).

With the calling and the promise of God safely in his heart, we might expect that Israel - at least the 10 tribes - would have a truly and continually righteous king. But we have seen with Saul and David that righteous kings have been in short supply among the descendants of Israel so far.

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