Welcome, friend, to Forward Friday, A Patch of Hope. Feel free to forward this email to a friend that might enjoy occasional Friday devotionals.
If you’re reading your Bible chronologically, like I am, then you’ve recently entered the Divided Kingdom era. It gets wild, let me tell ya!
Jeroboam has become king of the Northern kingdom, Israel, consisting of 10 tribes. And Rehoboam, Solomon’s son holds the Southern Kingdom, Judah, with the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
The split in kingdoms doesn’t exempt the Northern kingdom from the convent and Jeroboam begins to think (1 Kings 12:26-27): “Jeroboam thought to himself, “Unless I am careful, the kingdom will return to the dynasty of David. When these people go to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices at the Temple of the Lord, they will again give their allegiance to King Rehoboam of Judah. They will kill me and make him their king instead.”
But is this true? The thought is pretty standard human thinking. How will this affect ME? But are his thoughts TRUE?
Back up the bus to when God sent the prophet to Jeroboam to tell him he would be king.
1 Kings 11:28-38 (I’m only including verse 37-38 but you can read it all for yourself)
37 And I will place you on the throne of Israel, and you will rule over all that your heart desires. 38 If you listen to what I tell you and follow my ways and do whatever I consider to be right, and if you obey my decrees and commands, as my servant David did, then I will always be with you. I will establish an enduring dynasty for you as I did for David, and I will give Israel to you.
God told him he would be with him and establish him. IF (conditional promise) he would follow him. So had he consulted God and obeyed, God would have worked out the assumed problem from Jeroboam. We are often like this. Thinking God can’t handle the situation and so we have to figure it out ourselves. And that never goes well, does it?
The ways of Jeroboam matter because every single king of the north followed in them. And we too follow in them if we aren’t careful. What are the ways?
Jeroboam appealed to his SELF. What is in it for me? What do I want? His issue wasn’t that he built shrines for pagan gods; not it wasn’t idol worship.
It was a heart condition. A kingdom devised by what was in his own selfish heart.
Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
Can we trust our hearts? Should we follow our hearts? What else does the Bible say about our hearts?
- Jeremiah 17: 9-10 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
No. We can’t trust our own hearts. What about our own understanding?
- Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Jeroboam relied on his SELF and not God. So one of the ways we follow in the way of Jeroboam is when we divide plans according to our own heart’s selfish desires and rely on our own limited understanding without consulting God.
The Second Way of Jeroboam is the Way of Convenience.
Jeroboam appealed to convenience. And let’s be honest, any time we can take the easy way, that’s the way we’re going to choose.
He said to the people, “It is too much trouble for you to worship in Jerusalem. Look, Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!” 29 He placed these calf idols in Bethel and in Dan—at either end of his kingdom. 30 But this became a great sin, for the people worshiped the idols, traveling as far north as Dan to worship the one there.”
Yeah, it has been a hard week and do we really want to travel all that way for just a few hours? It’s not very convenient so let’s go with the easier way.
But was the easy way God’s way?
God set the times of festivals, the prescribed way to worship, the priest who could minister (levites) and the place of worship. But Jeroboam instituted new festivals, new places of worship, golden calves and new priests from any ole average Joe.
Charles Spurgeon said, ““Men are willing to worship God if they are allowed to have a ritual and symbols which they have themselves devised.”
In other words, I will worship God if he meets my lifestyle (sinful habits) but not if I have to change my lifestyle to meet his holy standards. That’s not convenient for ME.
The levitical priests and godly people then left the Northern kingdom when Jeroboam rejected God’s ways and commands. And the northern kingdom became a free-for-all. The word was no longer taught. And they did evil in the sight of the Lord.
When it comes to self and convenience over living out God’s truth in every aspect of the Word, we are following the ways of Jeroboam. Many false teachers who claim to be Christians say you can have God YOUR way. You can come without any change. Basically, just be a good humanitarian.
But they’re wrong. Don’t fall into these traps, lies.
Separate yourself from false teaching like the godly people and priests did.
2 Peter 2:1-3 “But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. 3 In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.”
Acts 20:28-30 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood[a]—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.[b] 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following.”
1 Timothy 4:1-3 “Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.”
Jude 2-4 “Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Read your Bible for yourself. Learn to rightly divide the word and know what is lies. Follow Jesus. Look to Him.