When I read the bible, I often notice people who are mentioned without names. Perhaps it is because I often feel like an unimportant, insignificant, unnamed character. There are some who do not play a significant role, but others who do - all without their name being mentioned at all. In 1 Kings 13, we are introduced to a character without a name. He is simply referred to as a "man of God" from Judah. He was called by God to give prophetic word to Jeroboam and give a sign about the coming king, Josiah. This man of God was careful to keep God’s three-fold command - "You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came" (13:9). He was able to refuse Jeroboam's offer of food and reward. Then the narrative takes an interesting turn when this man of God meets another unnamed "old prophet" from Bethel. After identifying himself as a prophet, he lies to the man of God and brings him to his house and feeds him bread and water. As they were eating, God speaks to the man of God through the old prophet: "Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD and have not kept the command that the LORD your God commanded you ... your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers” (13:21–22). The story ends with the man of God getting killed by a lion on his way home. My first reaction to this story is simply, "Not fair!" The prophet who lied should be punished, not the prophet who died. However, the lesson learned here is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Both prophets have fallen short. The man of God did not obey God’s word. He kept his guard up when he was dealing with Jeroboam, however, not with the old prophet. Our intentions may be good, but we fall short. This is why Jesus humbled himself and came to earth on Christmas morning. Let us embrace his saving love as we celebrate Christmas. Merry Christmas!

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