Daily Thought for: 23rd May

JEROBOAM (1)

1 Kings 11. 26-40

The name of Jeroboam is inextricably linked with the chilling words, ‘who made Israel to sin’, and we instinctively remember his idolatrous practices.  He could have enjoyed a secure future. But he threw it all away, and the very prophet who predicted his rise, also predicted his fall; 1 Kgs. 11. 29-31; 14. 1-11. We cannot disobey the word of God without severe spiritual loss. 

Jeroboam began well. He was ‘a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing . . . that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph’, v. 28. We are encouraged when younger believers ‘earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints’, and ‘always abound’ in the Lord’s work. Needless to say, this should be true of all believers. 

Little did Solomon know that by promoting Jeroboam he was training a rival king! ‘Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee’, v. 31. The northern kingdom was sometimes called ‘Ephraim’ (see Hos. 7. 8, 11 etc.), and the ‘ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph’ ultimately became its king! Jeroboam forgot a most important lesson in those early years. God made it clear to him that the division of the kingdom would take place as the direct result of Israel’s disobedience and idolatry under Solomon. ‘I will give ten tribes unto thee . . . because they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth . . . Chemosh . . . Milcom, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes’, v. 33. In later years, Jeroboam repeated the same mistake. How much do we learn from our own mistakes, let alone the mistakes of other people? 

The silences of Scripture are significant. Nowhere do we read that Jeroboam expressed any allegiance to God. When Ahijah revealed future events to him, he said nothing. He made no response whatever when God said, ‘And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that which is right in my sight . . . that I will build thee a sure house, as I built for David’, v. 38. It almost seems as if he never had any time for God’s interests and God’s word. Are we doing the will of God from the heart? 

 

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