1 Kings 13:1-10

Jeroboam Warned, Stricken

13 Now behold, there came a man of God from Judah to Bethel by the word of the Lord, while Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense. He cried against the altar by the word of the Lord, and said, “O altar, altar, thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’” Then he gave a [a]sign the same day, saying, “This is the [b]sign which the Lord has spoken, ‘Behold, the altar shall be split apart and the [c]ashes which are on it shall be poured out.’” Now when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar in Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him.” But his hand which he stretched out against him dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar also was split apart and the [d]ashes were poured out from the altar, according to the [e]sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord. The king said to the man of God, “Please [f]entreat the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.” So the man of God [g]entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him, and it became as it was before. Then the king said to the man of God, “Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.” But the man of God said to the king, “If you were to give me half your house I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water in this place. For so [h]it was commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall eat no bread, nor drink water, nor return by the way which you came.’” 10 So he went another way and did not return by the way which he came to Bethel.

Jeroboam offers us another lesson in leadership, which is when someone criticizes your altar, you should have them killed…

Rather, he shows us what not to do when you receive criticism as a leader. Criticism is rarely ever enjoyable, but it’s nearly always an opportunity to learn. Especially when we’ve made mistakes, we need to own them, and learn from them. Even more, we need to be gracious to those who point them out, even if they weren’t very gracious in their delivery.

So when you’re tempted to stretch out your hand and strangle the messenger, consider the message itself. Find out if there’s anything you can learn. What prompted the negative response, put yourself in their shoes, and see how they got to a point of throwing rotten eggs at you. If possible, even ask what made them feel that way, so you can find the root of the problem, and take action to improve your skills as a leader.

In all of this, seek wisdom from God, and He will be your guide, even through the harshest critiques.

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