A nameless prophet pronounces judgement, predicts Josiah’s reforms, still 300 years in the future, splits an alter, shriveles a mans hand, restores it, then gets tricked, and killed by a lion.
What the heck is this story?!
This cautionary tale establishes something: dividing Israel does not mean dividing God. Judah still talks with Him and Israel is fooling themselves. The worship set up in Bethel is a horrible farse, no where near the worship at the temple in Jerusalem.
The prophet from Judah was marked by power. Power for him in obedience, and power against him in disobedience. The lion and donkey standing civily in the road indicates the divine involvement. He did not randomly die. Judah moves in the power of God. It is both good and dangerous. Israel is out of the game. They are just like any other nation in Canaan now, worshiping false gods and following false prophesies.
Favor with God is not inherited. Yes, some people like myself were fortunate enough to be born into God-fearing families, but that’s not what justifies me. I, as with each person on earth, am personally responsible for how I respond to the power, love and holiness of God. This fact is why I can even hope to know Him. If it was genetic, my non-Jewish family would be without hope. God time and time again demonstrates that His favor rests with those who respond in obedience to Him. Like Rahab the Canaanite, Ruth the Moabite and Uriah the Hittite.
I admit there have been times when I was an independent little turd, yet still assumed God was on my side. Nope! He let me fall on my face more than once! But His steadfast love endures, folks, and He is faithful to restore us.
He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. Is there an area of your life you assume God will bless, even though it’s not submitted to Him?