Who is he?
Jeroboam was an ordinary man from the tribe of Ephraim. He was one of Solomon's officials. He rebelled against King Solomon. Ahijah the prophet met him and prophesied to him that he would be given ten tribes of Israel to rule over. This was very much in fulfillment of what God had said concerning Solomon in 1 Kings-11:11,12,13 when Solomon's heart had turned to follow other gods.
1 Kings 11:11 'So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.'
Later, after Solomon's death when Rehoboam becomes the king of Israel, the kingdom is split into two with ten tribes going to Jeroboam as their ruler and only one tribe left with Rehoboam. This is what the LORD said to Jeroboam through Ahijah the prophet:
1 Kings 11:37-38 (NET) 'I will select you; you will rule over all you desire to have and you will be king over Israel. You must obey all I command you to do, follow my instructions, do what I approve, and keep my rules and commandments, like my servant David did. Then I will be with you and establish for you a lasting dynasty, as I did for David; I will give you Israel.'
So whatever was prophesied over Jeroboam came true.
How did he stray?
It was God who had sent the prophet Ahijah in 1 Kings 11 and prophesied that ten tribes of Israel would go to Jeroboam and he will be their king. But in 1 Kings 12, we see that Jeroboam tried to control the situation. He tried to manipulate things and bring them in his control so that the kingdom should not revert to the house of David.
1 Kings 12:27 (KJV) If these people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
It is to prevent his fear from coming true that he made two golden calves and set up shrines for Israelites to go and worship. This led Israel to sin against God by worshipping idols.
1 Kings 12:28 'After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves and said to the people, “Going to Jerusalem is too much for you. Hear, O Israel, are your gods, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”'
1 Kings 12:31 'Jeroboam also built shrines on the high places and appointed from every class of people priests who were not Levites.'
Why did he stray?
The way to such a great trespass was through:
1) Trying to control instead of letting God control.
Jeroboam knew that he had nothing to do with becoming a king. He was a nobody and not of a royal lineage. He became a king only because God had directed the situations to tend to his becoming the king of Israel. If it wasn't for the prophet Ahijah he wouldn't have even started on his journey of becoming the king of Israel. Today if he was somewhere it was because of the LORD. So he should have by all means turned to God and asked Him to take control of the situations. Then there would have surely been a way out since it was God who had brought him this far and it was God who could take him ahead. But alas, he forgot! Or did he? Was he so short of memory to forget that it was God alone who was responsible for him becoming the king of such a great nation? He was not short of memory. He remembered everything, but somehow pride swept his mind and he began contemplating on how he himself could work out things. After becoming achievers with God's help and grace do we also forget God and start relying on our own capabilities because we think that we are capable enough or that God is weak and busy enough?
2) A few adjustments
Jeroboam had probably thought that since God has made me the king, the authority belongs to me and a little bit of adjustment like letting the people worship these idols considering them to be the gods who brought them out of Egypt, won't do any harm.
Who else do you remember had fallen into such a trap of making adjustments in God's setting?
Well, it was Eve in the garden of Eden. There too the serpent had injected this thought into her that a little bit of adjustment would do no harm. She had to believe the commentary that the serpent had to give about God than to believe what she herself knew about God.
In times of waiting, how many times have you allowed the enemy to inject negative thoughts about God's faithfulness? How many times have you done prayer as a formality and then moved the situation in a style that God would disapprove of? Today Jeroboams and Eves are here but we also have Jesus knocking on the door to come in and dine if they let Him and to drink from the spring of living waters if they thirst for the same.
3) Allowing fear to take control of our minds.
In Jeroboam's case, it was the fear that led him to imagine that Israel would revert back. He thought that he would lose Israel as if it was he who had earned the dominion. When fear takes over, it starts driving our minds and behavior patterns, unless we take charge over it or do not let it come in. James 4:7 'Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.' We have been asked only to fear God and that too as a child fears his dad, with honor, reverence, and obedience.
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- Whose fear dictates your steps?
- Fear of man
- Fear of the situation
- Fear of the future
- Fear of God
- Fear of God
Interpreting Your Score
If you got 0 correct answers: Where are you headed?
If you got 1 correct answer: Wow! Great going! Keep it up!
What can you learn from Jeroboam's mistake?
1) Let God control.
2) Let God approve of your adjustments.
3) Do not let fear dictate your steps.
© 2019 Lincy Francis