Jeroboam was exalted by God and blessed with kingship.
However, he led the ten tribes to forsake worship according to God’s law in the Torah, centered in the Temple in Jerusalem.
God allows the separation of the ten tribes from Judah due to the oppression they suffered at the hands of the taskmasters of the Davidic king, reminiscent of their ancestor’s oppression at the hands of the taskmasters of Pharaoh.
But it is one thing to revolt against the Davidic throne, and it is quite another to revolt against the Temple representing God.
God tells Jeroboam, “...You have done evil above all that were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods, and molten images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back” (1 Kgs 14:9).
The phrase “provoking me to anger” is likely an echo of the song Moses makes Israel memorize as the conclusion of their covenant with God (Dt 32).
In this song, God warns the second generation, who were about to enter the Promised Land with Joshua, not to provoke him to anger as their fathers did with their apostasy in worshiping the golden calf.
The song warns that such provocation will lead to drastic punishment, and as they make God jealous by going after the gods of the nations, God in turn will stir them to jealousy by giving the blessing of the land to the nations.
This context fits well with the rest of Ahijah’s message to Jeroboam, as he warns: “The Lord will smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land which he gave to their fathers, and scatter them beyond the Euphrates because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger.” (1 Kgs 14:15)
The covenant warning memorialized in Moses’ song, a song that underscores how Israel should never again provoke the Lord to jealousy by the infidelity of idolatry as they did with the golden calf, is echoed by Ahijah’s message to evoke the root cause of Israel’s impending exile-idolatrous infidelity.
Since Jeroboam bears much of the blame, his house will be violently overthrown.
Ahijah’s message echoes Deuteronomy in calling Palestine “the good land,” as well as Joshua, who warns that if Israel turns back to pagan idolatry, the Lord will drive Israel off this “good land” (Jos 23:15).
For Israel to return in their hearts to Egyptian idolatry means that they will lose the good land that God has given them.
All the names….ALL OF THE NAMES 🤔
We continue to have the DIVIDED KINGDOM
We continue to have the fleshing out of ALL THAT IS HAPPENING
In the NORTH, we have the 10 tribes of the Kingdom of Israel
In the SOUTH, we have the 2 tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the Kingdom of Judah
Jeroboam is the KING IN THE NORTH and is coming to the end of his reign
Jeroboam reigned for 21 years
1 Kings Ch 14 shows his son, Abijah
Rehoboam, the KING IN THE SOUTH, ALSO had a son named Abijah who will become king
Abijah, Jeroboam’s son, gets sick and his mother aka Jeroboam’s wife is sent by his father to AHIJAH THE PROPHET
YAY MORE CONFUSING!!!🤪
She asks if ABIJAH is going to die or live?
This shows us that even though a person can be a king, queen, or a billionaire, the REALITY OF LIFE is that even billionaires get sick
Even kings and queens get old
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US EXPERIENCES LOSS
Jeroboam doesn’t turn to the temples or altars or priests that he used for IDOLATRY
He turns to Ahijah who is a TRUE PROPHET
When we are free to choose what we want because we are in a time of abundance, peace, or comfort, we tend to give WHATEVER WE WANT
When it comes to DESPERATE TIMES, when our backs are against the wall, we need an ACTUAL PROPHET OF GOD
We need ACTUAL WORSHIP
Isn’t it interesting how in desperate times we FORGET about our preference when it comes to worship
We forget about our preference when it comes our living
We realize we NEED TO TURN BACK TO THE LORD
Jeroboam does this by sending his wife to Ahijah
Jeroboam DOES NOT ACTUALLY turn back to the Lord
1 Kings 14:9 “...but you have done evil above all that were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods, and molen images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back…”
Evil has come upon the house of Jeroboam and he will get cut off
By the middle of Ch 14, Jeroboam has died and his kingdom is at an end
Nadab, his son, is going to be the next king
Meanwhile....we have Rehoboam who is now 41 years old
Rehoboam also did horrible things
He leads the people of Judah into INCREDIBLE SIN
1 Kings 14:22 “And Judah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they committed, more than all that their fathers had done.”
What did they do?
Verse 23 says “For they also built for themselves high places, and pillars, and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree; and there were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord drove out before the sons of Israel.”
Remember when the people of Israel (all 12 Tribes) came into the land of Canaan, THOSE were the SAME practices that were happening BACK THEN (Meet the new boss, same as the old boss 😉🎸)
In Leviticus, they were told to STAY AWAY FROM THOSE PRACTICES
NOT JUST NOW
These things are ALWAYS GOING TO BE THOROUGHLY EVIL
Rehoboam establishes these HORRIBLE practices again
After Rehoboam dies, Abijah reigns
Abijah’s son is Asa and we will learn more about him as well
2 Chronicles 14 & 15
Abijah is going to be an OK king
Jeroboam came out against THIS Abijah (Rehoboam’s son) and was going to AMBUSH him
Abijah had already turned back to the Lord at this point
So even though there was an ambush, Abijah and his men turned back to the Lord and had victory
So Abijah is OK because he turns back to the Lord and repents a lot of the things that his father, Rehoboam, had done
Asa, Abijah’s son was THOROUGHLY GOOD in terms of FAITHFULNESS
Do you remember how we gauge the GOODNESS or BADNESS of these kings?
Are they FAITHFUL and lead the people towards FAITHFULNESS?
Are they UNFAITHFUL and lead the people towards UNFAITHFULNESS?
We get the story of Asa who did what was GOOD and RIGHT in the eyes of the Lord
Asa took down the idols
Asa took away the altars
Asa took down the pillars
Asa removed the Asherim
Asa commanded the Kingdom of Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers and to KEEP THE LAW AND COMMANDMENTS
Asa was SO FAITHFUL to the Lord
He not only did all these things by removing all signs of idolatry
But the Queen Mother, Maacah was REMOVED because she made an ABOMINABLE IMAGE for Asherah.
Remember, back then, the QUEEN was the MOTHER of the King, and NOT the WIFE
So Maacah was removed from being queen
Asa’s heart remained BLAMELESS all his days
That is REMARKABLE
In our invitation to be FAITHFUL
In our invitation to give to the Lord what He has asked for
That means our HEARTS
We can know we give the Lord our hearts BY OUR ACTIONS
So we can SAY internally that we BELONG FULLY TO THE LORD
But if we don’t ACT like that, then have we REALLY GIVEN OUR HEARTS FULLY TO THE LORD?
So how do we see that even Abijah and Asa have given their hearts more fully to the lord?
First, they removed IDOLS from their lives
Idols turn us AWAY FROM GOD
Do we have IDOLS in our lives?
Do we have TEMPLES in our lives that have to be cut down?
Do we have HIGH PLACES in our lives that have to be cut down?
We allow these things to take our hearts AWAY FROM GOD
God’s love TOLERATES NO RIVALS
This theme will continue for the rest of Kings and Chronicles
So ask yourself, “Does God have any rivals in my life for my heart, for HIS place in my heart?”
If so, like Asa, YOU NEED TO CUT THOSE DOWN
When Abijah had victory, they took spoils
What did they do with those spoils?
THEY OFFERED THEM TO THE LORD
So ask yourself, “When I have blessings in my life, am I willing to actually GIVE? Am I willing to actually use those blessings as worship?”
So remember when David and Solomon were alive, the kingdom was MASSIVELY WEALTHY
There was an ABUNDANCE that if you were to offer 6,000 lambs or 6,000 bulls, it would just be a drop in the bucket as a sacrifice
Remember these other kings have been despoiled by the Egyptian king
A lot of their wealth was TAKEN AWAY
But when they went into battle and got the spoils of war, they were willing to give many of the spoils in WORSHIP TO GOD
That reveals their TRUST IN THE LORD
Remember, God doesn’t NEED these animals
God doesn’t NEED these sacrifices
When we GIVE them to God, one of the things we are declaring is, “God, you are God and we are not.”
“God, thank you for victory!”
“God, I TRUST IN YOU!”
This would be a GREAT START for building MORE wealth
But we TRUST GOD WITH OUR FIRST FRUITS
Not only do they knock down the idols
Not only do they give God worship
But they follow God WITH THEIR WHOLE HEARTS IN THEIR ACTIONS
BY OBEYING GOD’S COMMANDMENTS
So to recap, these are the THREE THINGS TO REMEMBER TODAY:
1. What is God’s rival for my heart? GET RID OF IT
2. Where can I give God my first fruits to offer in WORSHIP?
3. Where can I follow God’s COMMANDMENTS? Where has God told me how He is COMMANDING me to live? How can I do that today?
If we can do those things, we can be like the GOOD king Asa
Asa was able to be in the midst of a world where it is difficult to follow the Lord
Asa was COMMITTED to following the Lord
WE CAN DO THAT TODAY TOO, BUT ONLY WITH GOD’S GRACE
This is a community PRAYING FOR EACH OTHER letting God’s Word shape the way we look at the world
Letting God’s Word also purify our hearts to GET RID OF THOSE IDOLS, to give Him the WORSHIP he DESERVES and to do what God COMMANDS
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE