Text: 1Kings 12:25-13:10
Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach. Jeroboam, was chosen to become king over the ten northern tribes but here, he shows the foolishness and deceit that is in a man’s heart. “Those that know their God shall be strong and do exploits” Daniel 11:32, but, we see Jeroboam depicting faithlessness in God but rather is full of fear and insecurities. He never imagined that he would become king, yet God made him king, without him breaking a sweat for it. Now, he wants to keep that kingdom by employing empty wisdom.
As usual with backsliders, Jerobaom started out probably with the intention of “serving God” in his own confused mind. He may never really wanted to go all out into idolatry. He wanted to retain the worship of Elohim, but would mix it up with all other kinds of religious practices. So in place of God, he borrowed the pattern of the pagans of Egypt and all surrounding Israel neighbours where the worship of donkeys and bulls thrived. He set up one in Dan the farthest tribe in the North and another in Bethel closest to Jerusalem. So that none of his subjects would have any excuse of going to Jerusalem for worship.
Read also: Why did Solomon’s kingdom fall?
Imagine, he also changed the time of festivals. Then he made priests from anyone who shows interest neglecting the levitical priesthood, with himself being the chief priest offering incense on all altars. Thus, he employed syncretism and incorporated all sorts of unwholesome religious practices. How men can confuse themselves. All these he did in a bid to “secure the kingdom” which God had already secured for him. From here onward, it was a downward spiral for Israel. Jeroboam will go down history in every age as the one who led Israel to sin. Even when he was confronted by the prophet, he still did not repent. Subsequently all Israel played the harlot with him except for some true levitical priests who returned to Jerusalem.
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How we make the same mistake today! Syncretism has entered and polluted the church so much. So called men of God explain it away. So many people have added a lot of fetish practices to the worship of the one true God, in their bid to “help God”. And it’s no surprise that the practice is gaining ground. May we like the wise priests in this passage learn to stick to what we know to be true. To hold fast to the profession of our faith as handed down to us by the apostles. Many suggestions will surely come to a man’s mind but the mind surrendered to God will always sift those suggestions in line with the word of God.