Jeroboam’s Folly

Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you. And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.’ ” (1 Kings 11:38-39)

Jeroboam’s Folly

The final days of king Solomon were nothing like his beginning days. When Solomon became king of Israel, his heart was loyal to the Lord. He was granted wisdom above all others by the grace of God and became the wisest man that lived. Tragically, his heart turned away from the Lord, and he filled Israel with the worship of pagan gods. Through the influence of his many foreign wives, Solomon introduced Israel to Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh, the god of the Moabites, and Milcom, the god of the people of Ammon. Near the end of Solomon’s reign, Ahijah the prophet met with Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, in a field. Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor whom Solomon had made officer over all the labor force of the house of Joseph. Ahijah promised Jeroboam that God would take the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and give ten tribes to Jeroboam and one tribe to the son of Solomon. This would not happen until the death of Solomon.

Ahijah tells Jeroboam the division of the kingdom was the will of the Lord. Jerusalem would be preserved through the one tribe as a covenant to David made long before. Jeroboam would become ruler of the ten tribes, and whatever his heart desired would be his. But then Ahijah gives Jeroboam a command that he must walk in the ways of the Lord, do what is right in the sight of God, and keep the statutes and commandments of the Lord. Blessings come with responsibilities. If Jeroboam would be faithful to the Lord, God would bless him with an enduring house as he gave David. Everything was given to Jeroboam by the hand of God to reign over the ten tribes and to prosper.

Hearing that Solomon was going to kill him, Jeroboam fled to Egypt, where he remained until the death of Solomon. Rehoboam became king in the place of his father, Solomon. Hearing that Solomon had died, Jeroboam returns to Israel and, along with the people, pleads with Rehoboam to lighten the heavy taxation his father had placed on Israel to fund his extravagant lifestyle. Rehoboam refused and made the burden harder upon the people. The people called Jeroboam back to be their king and began ruling over the ten tribes that had broken away from Jerusalem.

The folly of Jeroboam was forgetting the promise of God. Ahijah, the prophet, had foretold that Jeroboam would rule over the ten tribes and urged him to be faithful to the Lord. Jeroboam immediately rejected the word of the Lord. He set up golden calves in the cities of Bethel and Dan, made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people. Jeroboam changed the feast days corrupting the word of the Lord. The legacy of Jeroboam would last two hundred years, and Israel would be destroyed by the Assyrian Empire, never to be heard from again. All the kings (without exception) after Jeroboam were corrupt, evil, and immoral.

Jeroboam was given an opportunity to do good and follow the will of the Lord. Ahijah assured him the kingdom would be given to him, but then Jeroboam turned his back on God. He knew God had given him the kingdom and failed to acknowledge the Lord. It is sad when God blesses people, and rather than give glory to God for their blessings; they turn their backs on God. The world is a beautiful place the Lord has given to men to enjoy and prosper, yet most men reject that God had anything to do with it. God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, and the world rejects Jesus. Even among the people of God, the blessings of God are received with distrust and dishonor by those who turn their backs on God. The Lord blesses His people, and they reject Him. Jeroboam’s folly is turning away from the blessings of God.

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