1 Kings 12:20-13:6; Acts 9:36-43; Psalms 132:10-12; Proverbs 28:14
OT: “When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had come back, they summoned him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. No one followed the house of David except the tribe of Judah alone… Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built Penuel. Jeroboam said to himself, “The kingdom might now return to the house of David. If these people regularly go to offer sacrifices in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem, the heart of these people will return to their lord, King Rehoboam of Judah. They will kill me and go back to the king of Judah.” So the king sought advice. Then he made two golden calves, and he said to the people, “Going to Jerusalem is too difficult for you. Israel, here are your gods who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” …A man of God came, however, from Judah to Bethel by the word of the Lord while Jeroboam was standing beside the altar to burn incense. The man of God cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord: “Altar, altar, this is what the Lord says, ‘A son will be born to the house of David, named Josiah, and he will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who are burning incense on you. Human bones will be burned on you.’” He gave a sign that day. He said, “This is the sign that the Lord has spoken: ‘The altar will now be ripped apart, and the ashes that are on it will be poured out.’” When the king heard the message that the man of God had cried out against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Arrest him!” But the hand he stretched out against him withered, and he could not pull it back to himself. The altar was ripped apart, and the ashes poured from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.” (1 Kings 12:20, 25-28; 13:1-5 CSB)
When the Lord initially approached Jeroboam, He said to Jeroboam that He would establish a dynasty through Jeroboam as long as he was faithful to the Lord’s word, will, and ways. After Jeroboam was made king over the 10 tribes of Israel, he became more fearful of losing his reign than he was of offending God. Instead of trusting God’s word and faithfulness, Jeroboam placed his faith in himself. Instead of leading the people in worship to the living God, Jeroboam created his own religion (fashioned after the religions of Egypt) and led the entire nation astray. It wasn’t long before God sent a prophet to warn Jeroboam. This man of God is unnamed, but his prophecy was amazingly accurate. 300 years after this prophecy was given, a young descendant of David, named Josiah, came to power in Judah – and as part of a nation-wide revival, he went into the Northern kingdom of Israel and desecrated and destroyed the altar and high places that Jeroboam had initiated. After Jeroboam, the Northern Kingdom of Israel never returned to fully and faithfully worship the Lord God… and nearly every king of Israel was accused of following the sin of Jeroboam. Jeroboam could have established quite the legacy, had he trusted in the Lord. Instead, his name went down in infamy as an example of someone who completely and unrepentantly rejected the Lord. While we may never see ourselves doing something as rash as Jeroboam did – in a sense, we commit the sin of Jeroboam nearly every day. How often do we trust ourselves more than we trust the Lord? How often do we take matters into our own hands instead of placing our well-being in the hands of the Lord? How often are we more concerned with our reputation and maintaining our position than we are with honoring and obeying the Lord. Something to consider.
Proverbs: “Happy is the one who is always reverent, but one who hardens his heart falls into trouble.” (Proverbs 28:14 CSB)
Proverbs 16:18 says that pride comes before destruction and an arrogant spirit before a fall. This proverb is similar, but it offers an antidote to pride: reverence… a humble reverence of the Lord’s word, will, and ways leads to happiness (blessedness). Reverence leads to blessing, while pride and a hardened heart leads to a curse. Jeroboam, unfortunately, gave in to the latter. We have the opportunity to choose the former.