I'm reading through the early days of the divided kingdom, currently the events on the 10 northern tribes, lead by Jeroboam. Who was recently visited by a Man of God with a severe prophesy. Needless to say, he ignored it.
V 1-14 Abijah becomes sick
Abijah, Jeroboam's son become sick.
In response, rather than crying out to the God who gave him all that he has, he disguises his wife and sends her to the prophet, Ahijah, that had originally met him in a field and told him of God's prophesy to use him in the disciplining of Rehoboam.
He sends her with bread and cakes and honey, which seems like an offering to me. He wants to know what Ahijah can tell him about his son's sickness.
This looks all the world like Jeroboam thinks that God isn't real. That all the gods are the same, and if you bring a gift you get what you ask for. This man has become very deceived.
So God warns Ahijah that Jeroboam's wife is coming and pretending to be someone else. He also gives Ahijah the message to give her.
He greets her and calls her on her disguise. Then he reminds he what God said to her husband before the kingdom spilt. He then concludes that not only was Jeroboam not like David, but more evil than all who came before. Then He points out the molten idols and how they provoked the Lord.
He then explains that He is going to wipe out every male in the house of Jeroboam- both bond and free. And sweep away his house like one does dung- until it is all gone. And once dead, they will not be buried but eaten by dogs and birds; except Jeroboam's son who God saw good in and would allow to be buried.
So he sent her away and said that when her feet hit the city, they would die. And He had another house lined up to lead Israel.
V. 17-19 The End of Jeroboam
He then promises to uproot and scatter all of Israel beyond the Euphrates for following Jeroboam into evil.
The wife returned to Jeroboam's castle and the boy died. He was mourned just as the prophet said.
Verse 19 explains that the rest of Jeroboam's stories about his war and reign are in the book of Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. I think this is the end of his story for us, as our Book of Chronicles is of the kings of Judah.
Verse 20 wraps up his life with his years of reigning, his death, and his son taking over.
How It's Going At The Same Time In Judah: Rehoboam
Just as a reminder, Rehoboam is the son of Solomon whom they all just assumed would follow Solomon, with no evidence it was God's will; while Jeroboam led the rebellious 10 northern tribes of Israel.
- was 41 when he took over (too old for the stupid "young man" shenanigans.)
- ruled 17 years in Jerusalem (the capital designated by God putting His name on it)
- His mother was an Ammonite
- Solomon must have married this women before the Egyptian.
This became bleak very fast.
Verse 22: "And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord and they provoked Him to jealousy more than all that their fathers had done...
I mean...I don't know who counts on the father list...but Saul alone was ridiculous. Not to mention all of those in the time of the judges.
In one generation, they became so deprived they won out the the enraging God category. That's...I don't even know what that is. Evil. Solomon started the slide and Rehoboam just kept rolling.
Jeroboam and now Rehoboam. Just dismissing the God of the universe and going their own ways. Terrible, terrible ways.
It shows you why He doesn't interact with us the way we think He "should". "Why won't God just talk to me... If God would just _________, then I would be ok."
These men had a direct line to the King of the Universe; but they did what they wanted and what they wanted was deprived.
Rehoboam also built idols and places of false worship in high places. Verse 24 specifies that they had male cult prostitutes, as were seen in the people that God kicked out of Canaan to make room for Israel.
Why have a religion at all if you're not following the one that has been proven over time? Why make one up if you know the truth? It's one thing to worship these idols in ignorance. It's another to have a front row seat to the big show, but decide you'd rather sit in your own defecation for fun.
Ok. Now comes the time to play the dreaded game...since I'm judging them, maybe I should check and see if I do the same thing.
The short answer is yes. That's me too.
I hear of the God of Creation. Who can, at a minimum, do miracles and raise people from the dead. He loves me and I accept His redemptive plan to save my soul.
I trust myself...I trust medicine...I trust my country and government...I trust superstitions in the form of OCD weirdo behaviors to sooth my fears...I trust fear.
Maybe I don't intentionally establish fake new religions; but when I have a need I go looking for something here on earth to meet the need; rather than the God who has done miracles for me my whole life. Proven Himself as my advocate and adopted Father. But I choose the world...time after time.
I can only imagine, but I'm guessing God jealousy is in proportion to the gifts granted. In other words, although what Rehoboam and Jeroboam di must have made God's jealousy burn like a million suns...He knows what he's done for me and He knows, in proportion, how much I've turned my back on Him for other solutions and comforts...
God- I am so sorry. We're all here by Your good grace and for Your plan to redeem the world. But instead we chase our own pleasures and solutions- dismissing Who You Are. Please forgive me and cleanse my heart of all unrighteousness, that I could see clearly to serve you. Please heal our land and let us be your light. Amen.
Ok...so Rehoboam reigned for seventeen years...and I Kings records exactly one historical event...Rehoboam getting his tail end handed to him by the Egyptians.
They took everything. They took everything from the Temple, Everything from his house, and they took those stupid gold shield that Solomon had made on the backs of his people.
What's Rehoboam's response? Repentance? Wisdom? Nope. His priority was to get the shield replaced, so he had them made of bronze and had them guarded heavily by his guard.
Again, it sounds like I'm judging, but I'm guessing when I get to heaven and I see the video footage of my life I'm going to see a metric ton of times God tried to discipline me only for me to learn the wrong lesson and walk the other way. His patience is so great with us!
Verse 29-31 wrap up his life and note that the rest of his acts can be found in the Chronicles, so I will continue there next time.
To God be the Glory forever and ever. Amen.
I Kings 14: Wiersbe
Wiersbe talks about the idea that Jeroboam (and Rehoboam) both di more sin than Saul, David, and Solomon combined.
This got me to thinking about how that is measured and compared. David murdered, Saul was extremely destructive, and Solomon di so very many things wrong. But starting these false religions was worse than those things?
And then it occurred to me. Starting a false religion moves people away from God, which moves His plan of redeeming the world further from reality. Which put countless souls in peril for eternity. That's extremely serious sin. We have to remain obedient and wise that we don't jeopardize eternity for others.