And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the Lord hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
1 Kings 13:1-4 KJV
So, I’m just wondering…
Remember how our moms always told us when we scowled and howled to be careful because our face might freeze that way?
What if that happened to our pointing fingers?
Reading 1 Kings 13 during my morning grazing through verdant and green biblical Hebrew fields…
Bold prophetic outburst.
Rebel pronouncement. Prophetic provocateur.
Pious king in solemn worship before his altar turns. Face aflame and hotter than sacrificial embers, arm and hand shoot out with finger ready to launch as a lethal dagger. The king’s one word shout in Hebrew, “Teeph-sue-who!” “Seize him!”
And then his hand freezes.
The King James Version has it quite literally right. His hand “dried up.” Frozen. No movement. Imagine a Pirates of the Caribbean shriveling of flesh and bone, if you wish. But that hand and arm were stuck in their accusatory pose. Mannequin hand, with finger extended. Frozen. Rigid. Just like his heart.
After his arm was restored, I wonder, was he a little slower to point that finger the next time? Or was he, like we, right back to his royal and religious finger pointing antics as soon as the memory faded?
So just what might happen if, for one moment, just once…
every pointing finger froze
every wagging tongue congealed
every sneering lip shriveled
every rolling eye turned to stone.
How odd we all would look…