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Jeroboam Rules His Own Way
Bible Passage 1 Kings 12: 25-33
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2022 & book 1 Kings.

Jeroboam Rules His Own Way

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached October 10, 2022

SCRIPTURE 📖
25 And Jeroboam built Shechem on Mount Ephraim and lived on it, and went from there and built Penuel.

26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may well return to the house of David!

27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me and return again to Rehoboam king of Judah.”

28 Then the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold and said to them, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Behold your gods, O, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”

29 And he set the one in Bethel, and he put the other in Dan.

30 And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one, even to Dan.

31 And he made houses of worship on the high places and made priests of the lowest of the people, who were not the sons of Levi.

32 And Jeroboam ordered a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast that is in Judah. And he offered upon the altar. So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.

33 And he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised out of his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel. And he offered upon the altar and burned incense.

 

BACKGROUND
Solomon followed God faithfully until his last days when when his reign was characterised by injustice. His marriage to numerous women and countless concubines also made him worship other gods. His foreign wives usually brought their gods into Israel, and Solomon’s weakness in worshipping these gods led finally to his downfall (1 Kings 11:1-8). Solomon ruled Israel for 40 years and died.

David and Solomon built a strong united kingdom that included the nations they fought against and won by the power of God (apart from their own 12 tribes).

But the kingdom was divided after the death of Solomon. With the division of the kingdom came the collapse of the empire that David and Solomon had built. One by one the subject nations regained their independence.

Jeroboam was one of Solomon’s most capable administrators, an ambitious hard-working young man whom Solomon put in charge of the Ephraim-Manasseh workforce. God had chosen him to rule Israel so Solomon tried to kill him. Jeroboam escaped to Egypt, for he knew he could be sure of Pharaoh’s support because Pharaoh was afraid of Solomon and against him. Jeroboam stayed in Egypt till the death of Solomon, awaiting his opportunity to return and seize the throne of Israel.

After the death of Solomon, Rehoboam, Solomon’s son suspected that the northern tribes would break away from him so he immediately arranged for his coronation in Shechem, one of the important cities of the north.

That was when Jeroboam returned from Egypt and decided to test Rehoboam’s knowledge and ability as a leader. Rehoboam sought counsel from the elders who advised his father on what to do but later decided to go with the advice of the youth. This failed, sealing the division of the kingdom into two.

Jeroboam later became the king of the northern kingdom and Solomon’s son, Rehoboam became the ruler of Judah, the south.

From this point on, the northern kingdom of ten tribes was known as Israel, the southern kingdom as Judah. Judah was the smaller of the two kingdoms in both population and area, and had the poorer country agriculturally, but politically it was more stable. It had an established dynasty, the dynasty of David, and its people, being mostly from one tribe, were fairly well unified.

By contrast there was never a strong unity in the northern kingdom. Reasons for this were the greater number of tribes in the north, the comparatively large population of Canaanites still living in the area, and the natural divisions created by mountains and rivers. Judah was more isolated, but Israel was more open to foreign interference.

Shechem, where Rehoboam had hoped to unite all Israel, now became the capital of Jeroboam’s breakaway kingdom. Jeroboam established a second capital at Penuel, east of Jordan, probably with the aim of holding the allegiance of the two and a half eastern tribes (1 Kings 12:25). Later he moved his capital a short distance north to Tirzah, which remained the capital during the reigns of several kings (see 1 Kings14:17; 15:21,33).

In today’s text under consideration, Jeroboam saw that his people might be tempted to transfer their allegiance to Rehoboam if they went to Jerusalem for sacrifices and festivals. He therefore set up his own shrines at Bethel (near his southern border) and Dan (near his northern border), complete with his own order of priests, sacrifices and festivals.

This new religion included many ideas taken from the religions of Canaan and neighbouring countries. It was a rebellion against God for which the writer of Kings repeatedly condemns Jeroboam. It led Israel into increasing moral and religious corruption over the next two centuries.

 

LESSONS✍🏽
🔷 God will take back all that He has freely given us if we disobey His commands

🔷 No human beings can use their human power to oppose the plan of God successfully

🔷 We must guard against bad endings since good endings are as important as good beginnings

🔷 We must listen to the voice of God and His counsel rather than human advice that will always fail us

PRAYER POINTS🙏🏽
💥 Thank God for a new week
💥 Pray that you will follow God and listen to him till the end of your life

CONCLUSION📙
God who crowns us with dignity and respect, honour authority and wealth expects that we will rule and reign with Him. God’s counsel that will favour His own people should guide what we should do so our endings will honour God.
AMEN

In series Bright Morning Reflections