Concern over high taxes, but not the
V. 1, Rehoboam, was a son of a strange, heathen woman, an Ammonitess, 14:21.
We see here that the wisest man ever to live could not pass his wisdom on to his son. Godly men who marry ungodly women for their physical attraction will pay a steep price, for a son or daughter seldom will rise above his or her mother. I have found that a child stands a better chance with a godly mother and an ungodly father. (I do not mean to discount the sovereign grace of God.) I know more men serving God today whose mothers were godly, and their dads were heathen, than I know the other way around. (St. Augustine, Timothy, &c., and personal observation.) Rehoboam was a son of Solomon, but not a son of his wisdom. He was a son of his folly and pride.
The people started to do right, and evidently wanted to, for they brought Solomon's son to make him king. Unlike David with Solomon, Solomon did not make his son king before he died. Was it because of the prophecy given to Solomon in 1 Kings 11:30-40? Was it because Solomon knew Rehoboam was worthless?
V. 2, the people remembered Jeroboam, and sent him to speak for them.
V. 4, they make a reasonable request of the king. This exchange between the people and the king reminds us that the State is not an income producing unit. However, the State does try to produce income through inflationthat is, by putting fiat money into circulation which robs from the family with higher prices. Then that paper is used to purchase real goods and services. Only the family produces income.
Solomon had levied heavy taxes of all kinds to finance his nice houses, public works and his wives. All the people asked for was tax relief. I wonder why Solomon did not finance these wonderful things from his personal income?
Rehoboam was 41 when he came to the throne, and only reigned seventeen years, 14:21. Solomon reigned 40 years, 11:42. So Rehoboam was born before Solomon came to the throne. Maybe Solomon was as young as 15 when Rehoboam was born. Rehoboam seems to have been Solomon's only son, and this was before he had his thousand wives. Polygamy does not increase the population, and it did not for Solomon, Hosea 4:10.
Rehoboam was one year old when Solomon took the throne. He was about twenty at the peak of Solomon's empire. Rehoboam's 20-40 years of life was as Solomon served this gold, glory and gals. Notice, then, that Rehoboam did not pick up the good part of his dad, but his weaknesses. The same as Solomon did his dad's weaknesses for women and his 100 horses. As the weaknesses and sins are passed down to the third and fourth generation (after David), we see sin gaining strength.
Remember, David never did put away Bathsheba as did Judah with
Tamar. Notice the four generations:
1. David and Bathsheba , 1 Kings 15:5
2. Solomon's wives and horses.
4. Abijam, 1 Kings 15:3
5. Then Asa, who did right, 15:11.
Again, we do not affect just our children, but our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We do not live unto ourselves: "I'm not hurting anyone but myself" is the devil's lie.
Rehoboam did a wise thing by asking for time to seek advice, but he did not heed the right advice he received from the older men. His mind was made up. His pride told him to surpass his father's glory with taxpayers' money. How many politicians say, "Elect me, and it will be bigger and better; you will have more and more without higher taxes, even tax cuts"? They know that to finance their dreams of grandor directly from the taxpayers' pockets will result in the same end as Rehoboam's.
We need men who will do right with less and smaller; men who will live within our means until the bills are paid. Robert Byrd (D-WV) is known as the "Pork King", because of all the Federal money he brings home, and he continually gets reelected. Until the people are weaned from the Federal pork, there will be no change. People will not be weaned until their covetousness is dealt with.
However, if the State would say, "Starting next year, there will be a balanced budget" and make everything cash as they go, the sound men would be voted out in the next election. The people are used to and dependent upon the pork.
Even though Rehoboam went to the older men for counsel, he did not go to God as his father, Solomon, had done. Solomon went to the Lord first. His son went to men first, and even then he ignored the older men who had stood in the presence of the true wisdom of his father.
The pride that caused Solomon to fall now prevents his son from even being able to control his kingdom.
Concern over high taxes, but not the cause.
The people asked Rehoboam to lower taxes, and he refused, so they go home to make Jeroboam their king, and then go serve idols. They got upset enough to revolt over their high taxes, but there was no concern about turning from God. They had it backwards. The high taxes were the result of turning from God. (1 Samuel 8.) If society would get as concerned over turning from the Lord (1 Kings 11:33) as they do high taxes, the taxes would come down. In fact, they were so concerned over the taxes, they killed the tax collector who went with Rehoboam to collect the taxes, 12:18.
It will be very difficult for us as humanist Christians to return to our Biblical foundation, but we can train the proper priorities back into our children.
Jereboam (the servant) had been elected as king. Even with the promise of God that the ten tribes would serve him, he was very insecure, so out of fear of losing the ten tribes, he started his own religion.
The Sin of Jeroboam is mentioned more than twenty times in Scripture, and influenced the nation for two hundred and fifty years. His sin was the main cause of Israel being carried off and scattered to the four winds, never to return. (2 Kings 17:21-23, says that Jeroboam drave Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin.)
What was the sin that Jeroboam made Israel sin?
First, it was not the sin of rebellion.
God himself was the author of Jeroboam's reign. God removed the ten tribes from David's house because of David's sin. Moreover, the kings following Jeroboam were also guilty of and held accountable for Jeroboam's sin, and the Lord raised them up also, 1 Kings 14:14, Baasha, 15:28, 29; Zimri, 16:12; Jehu, 2 Kings 9:6, &c.
Second, it was not the sin of going after other gods.
If it were, it would have been changed to the sin of Solomon, for twice Solomon is charged with going after other gods.
There is no mention of Jeroboam going after Baal, Ashtoreth nor Milcom as Solomon's wives did and as did the people.
V. 28, the golden calves were not identified with Baal, Ashtoreth nor with Milcom, but evidently introduced as a Better way to serve the Lord God. (Pp. Exodus 32:8.)
Third, it was not the sin of idol worship.
V. 30, the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. This does not say they bowed down before the calves, but that they went to worship before them. Romanism would be a good example of this type of worship.
What is Sin of Jeroboam? (Check also my notes at 1 Kings 14:9)
First, it was HERESY: an arbitrary selection of doctrine or practices. A choosing Instead of accepting the faith once delivered..., heresy seeks to pick, chose, modify, or adapt the faith to suit one's self, and to appeal to others. It makes the faith more readily and socially accepted.
Heresy, therefore, is a choosing, an opinion, especially a self-willed opinion which is substituted for submission to the power of truth. (Vines.) It leads to division and the formation of sects. (Galatians 5:20.)
The wrong opinions many times are the outcome of personal preferences or the prospect of an advantage. (2 Peter 2:1, compare with 1 Kings 12:28, Exodus 32:8. All speak of denying the Lord who brought them out of Egypt.)
Thus, Jeroboam chose to modify the worship of the Lord for his own personal advantage, 1 Kings 12:27.
How did his choosing (heresy) differ from the truth?
He chose his own place of worship. He chose an area that God did not appoint. God himself chose Mount Zion, which he loved. (Psalms 79:67-69.) Solomon confirmed God's choice at the dedication of the temple. 1 Kings 8:10, 11, 2 Chronicles 7:2, 12, 16. The prophet Ahijah had also reminded Jeroboam that Jerusalem was to remain the Lord's center of worship. (11:32, 36.)
Though Jeroboam himself knew Jerusalem was God's plan, 12:26, 27, his personal ambition and desire, covetousness, overruled, and he established two more places where God's people could worship God, 12:29. Keep in mind, though, that Jeroboam had already forsaken the Lord God, 11:33.
He chose his own method of worship. Contrary to the law, he chose graven images, Exodus 20:4; he chose the lowest sort of people, v. 31, as well as himself as priests, v. 33; he chose the time of worship. The law required the fifteenth day of the seventh month, Leviticus 23:34, 39. He chose the fifteenth day of the eighth month, as he devised in his own heart, v. 33. Evidently, he chose a more convenient time for the people.
God became a god of convenience for himself, and a god he felt would draw the people after himself. He devised a way that would be convenient for himself and for the people to worship the Lord, with the goal of keeping the people attached to himself, v. 26.
Scripture does not say Jeroboam went after other gods, e.g., Ashtoreth, Baal or Milcom, as did many of Israel's kings. Scripture only says that Jeroboam determined for himself when, where and how the Lord God should be worshiped. (Was he still worshiping the Lord God?)
2 Chronicles 11:15 tells us that Jeroboam ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. Thus implied is that any worship other than the worship of the Lord as prescribed by the Lord is devil worship. Christ must be recognized as Lord, or the worship is heresy.
However, Jeroboam shows us that there is more to proper worship than simply recognizing the Lord as Lord. Worship designed to attract or attach followers is heresy, as well as implied devil worship. 1 Kings 12:12:26, 27 and 2 Chronicles 11:15.
Sadly, there are many Christian leaders who, though not denying the Lord God, have designed "worship services" as well as personal messages to attract and attach followers. Have they not followed in the sin of Jeroboam, which caused Israel to sin, and started Israel on the speedy downward path to captivity?
We hear so many times today, "Everyone worship God in his own way". But any worship of God other than God's way, or worship of God designed to attract people, is devil worship. Jeroboam devised worship the way he felt it should be:
It was more convenient in Dan or Bethel than in Jerusalem. (Bethel was only about 10 miles north of Jerusalem, while Dan was much further away. Note that folks had to travel further to go to these false places of worship than they had to go to Jerusalem, the true place of worshiphuman nature will pay the price in order to "worship god in their own way.)
It was more convenient to worship at Jeroboam's time.
It was more convenient to worship in Jeroboam's way.
Jeroboam's worship was far more appealing to the natural man, and fit better into the social structure of his day than did the Lord's manner of worship.
We should notice here that the Lord demands total obedience in every area. Thus those who separate life into "sacred and secular" are actually involved in the sin of Jeroboam. (Romans 12:1, 2, Colossians 1:18.)
Second, it was Schism
Heresy, a choosing, an opinion, i.e., "My way is just as good if not better, so follow me", leads to divisions and formations of sects. (Galatians 5:20.) The church at Corinth was known for its heresies (a body of men following their own tenets, or beliefs that appear close to Scriptural) and divisions. (2 Corinthians 11:18ff.)
Jeroboam's heresy, he decided to worship God his way, led to divisions. The one place to worship God, Jerusalem, was divided into three: Jerusalem, Dan, Bethel. (1 Kings 12:28, 29.) Bethel was only about ten miles north of Jerusalem, where God was to be worshiped at the temple. Thus, Jeroboam's contention that it was too inconvenient to go that far to worship God was no more than an excuse to reign according to all his soul desired, 11:33.
It is a true saying: "A man's morality will dictate his theology." "I can worship God just as well here at the football game or on the golf course as I can in church."
Heresy is basically leaving the choice up to the individual, and results in the person doing his own thing, leading to divisions, schisms, in the body of Christ.
Heresy led to division in the priesthood, 12:31. What was to be exclusively for the sons of Aaron, now was given to the lowest sort of people.
The daughter of the Methodist minister who lived behind us in Linden, Indiana, said, "My dad used to sell vacuum cleaners (nothing wrong with that), but found this an easier job that pays more." (I worked the daylight to dark construction trade for several years, and even tried to work two 8 hour jobs for awhile, and I found being a pastor much more difficult than any "secular" job I ever had.)
When people are left to make up their own mind, then the priesthood is no longer restricted to the line of the Great High Priestthose chosen by the Spirit of Christ. The priesthood becomes no more than a job that they take because of the acclaim, or because they cannot afford otherwise (I can't imagine that, but men have told me such), because of the pay (a Southern Baptist Associate Pastor in Shreveport admitted that was the reason he was in the ministry), or any number of reasons other than they have no choice because of God's calling.
Heresy led to division in the sacrifice.
Jeroboam ordained the sacrifice, v. 32, that pleased himthe way that pleased him, 12:33, which he had devised of his own heart. "I know this is not what God's word says, but I think it should be this way." The sin of Jeroboam.
A stranger coming to Jerusalem to worship would be in utter confusion as to which one was correct. Jerusalem or Bethel.
If the sin of Jeroboam does not describe the situation today, what does? The church buildings may look the same on the outside, but: Which are approaching the throne of God through the shed blood of the Lamb, and which one is offering incense on the altar before the calves? Which are offering a better way to serve the Lord, a way that appeals to the natural man?
Heresy led to division in the feast.
The one feast that was to be held in the seventh month is now divided into two feasts: one in the seventh month, and one in the eighth month, held just a few miles away.
First, the sin of heresy an arbitrary selection of doctrine
or practice, a choosing. (1 Kings 12:53.)
Second, the sin of division, schisms.
Third, the sin of Korah, Numbers 16. "I can worship God, I can serve God just as well my way."
The sin of Jeroboam was not rebellion nor idolatry, but the serving of God in an unauthorized way, in an unauthorized place, by unauthorized means (rites and rituals, ways which I commanded not, Jeremiah 19:5), and by unauthorized people, priests and ministers.
Jeroboam's church was a prosperous Church. The majority of the people went to it in spite of the three miracles performed against his church:
1) 13:3, the altar was rent, and the ashes poured out, v. 5.
2) 13:4, Jeroboam's hand was dried up.
3) 13:6, Jeroboam's hand was restored.
Not only were miracles performed against his church, but throughout the Old Testament, prophets cried out against the sin of Jeroboam. However, though Jeroboam's method of worship was clearly contrary to the word of God, his church flourished for 250 years.
Because a church has been around for many years, because many people support it, or because it seems to flourish and prosper, does not make a church or ministry of God.
We cannot pick and chose the doctrines that please us (as we devise in our own hearts, 12:33), but we must align our doctrine with the word of God.
I suggest here that Jeroboam's church is a near perfect picture of many churches and ministries today as it flourished. But its time of judgment was promised, and that time came.
Jeroboam's church was a church of compromisehe compromised on the authority of God to tell him how and where to serve the Lord.
Jeroboam's church prospered as he made religion convenient and appealing, all under the name of serving the true God of Israel. Crowds flocked to it as the ten tribes loved what he had to offer. It appealed to the natural man.
But Jeroboam's church had God's judgment against it, even though it took 250 years for it to reap what it had sown. (2 Kings 23:15.)
There are a great many more lessons in this chapter, e.g., Jeroboam had God's promise that the ten tribes would follow him, 1 Kings 11:30-40, yet he built the calves out of fear that the people would return to the house of David, 1 Kings 12:27. We fear that God's word will not be true for us, so we set about to bring it to pass by our own means.
But the primary teaching of this chapter shows us that Jeroboam's church was not rebellion nor idolatry; it was a compromise on God's law-word in order to appease the people to keep them attached to himself. It was an attempt to carry on God's work in an unauthorized way.