A Disobedient Prophet - Poem by Robert Pettit
Once a prophet who is now anonymous in name,
conveyed the Lord’s word, but later brought himself much shame.
If not disobedient, he might have won some fame.
He fell as prey to another man’s mendacious claim.
Ten of Israel’s twelve tribes would choose Jeroboam
over the son of Solomon, King Rehoboam.
Only tribes of Judah and Benjamin stayed loyal
They did not join the others in northern Israel.
The Lord’s word was spoken by the prophet Shemaiah.
He told all the followers of the king of Judah:
“Do not fight against the tribes under Jeroboam.
Lay down your weapons and return to Rehoboam.”
Jeroboam and his subjects would go to Shechem.
This would be their capital in the hills of Ephraim.
This prophet traveled from Judah north to Israel,
towards the town in Jeroboam’s kingdom, Bethel.
It was here the king built a sacrificial altar.
Because he was afraid, the new kingdom would falter,
he encouraged worship to a golden calf idol,
so they would not travel to Jerusalem’s Temple.
The fifteenth day of the eighth month was a festival.
This was when sacrifices were made by the people.
As King Jeroboam was ready to sacrifice,
the prophet from Judah was speaking loud with his voice:
“From the House of David will be born King Josiah.
Each of the priests shall be considered a pariah.
They will all be burnt sacrifices down in Judah.
The altar splits apart and ashes a plethora;
this will be the sign the Lord’s word will be prevailing.
He is stronger than any idols, and not failing! ”
“Seize him! ” was Jeroboam’s immediate command.
The king noticed the gross deformity of his hand.
The altar split apart and poured ashes on the land.
The prophet’s words were what everyone would understand.
The king urged the stranger to intercede with the Lord
Jeroboam begged to God that his hand be restored.
The prophet then had an intercession with the Lord.
When the king’s hand was back to normal, the king implored:
“Come home with me, we’ll eat, and I shall give a great gift
I see you are with God. You gave my spirits a lift.”
However, the prophet refused what the king would give
This man remembered God’s words as long as he would live:
Never to eat or drink anything away from home,
while in this northern place with his assignment to roam.
Therefore, he left Bethel by way of another road,
until he came to a tree where he lightened his load.
Another prophet living near the town of Bethel
was enlightened of the events by his sons quite well.
This man determined this stranger as someone to know.
He then asked his sons, “On which road did this prophet go? ”
After the sons told him, he said, “Saddle my donkey.”
The Bethel prophet then embarked on a short journey
until he encountered the man from Judah to see.
The prophet from Judah rested under an oak tree.
When asked if he were the man, he replied, “I am he”
The man from Bethel said, “Won’t you please come home with me?
I am also a prophet. An angel came to be
a messenger to instruct to take you home with me.
When we arrive there, we shall eat, drink, and be merry.”
However, this old prophet’s words were mendacity.
When seated at the table, the Lord God then conveyed
words to the Judah prophet because he disobeyed:
“You have not followed my orders in this time you roam.
Therefore, you shall not live long enough to return home.”
The old prophet and his sons helped the man on his way.
However, the Judah man did not get far that day.
As the young prophet journeyed on his way to Zion,
he would be confronted and murdered by a lion.
Passersby on the road then would be able to see
the body of the dead prophet next to the donkey.
Word came to the old prophet and his sons in Bethel.
He and his sons traveled to where the body would dwell.
They brought the body back to be buried in the land
of the Bethel prophet, who would then make this demand:
After I die, bury my remains next to this man.
He was true to the Lord God as one possibly can.
As prophets are, it will be hard to find another.
Therefore, I consider this prophet as my brother.
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