I just learned something great from 1 Kings. Here it is:
I will make bad decisions if I fear losing what God gave me in the first place.
Let’s find this truth in the scripture. Our text is 1 Kings 11-14. It’s a long passage, so let me summarize.
Chapter 11 begins by describing King Solomon’s many wives – remember that Solomon was the son of David who assumed his father’s throne. Solomon was wise and rich beyond compare due to God’s blessings. However, Solomon’s foreign wives led him into idol worship and he displeased God. In response, God raised up enemies against Solomon. Prior to this, Solomon and Israel had enjoyed an extended period of peace.
One of these enemies was Jeroboam. Through a prophet, God told Jeroboam: “See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe.” (1 Kings 11:31-32)
Here’s what just happened. God selected Jeroboam to bless as the leader of 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel. Jeroboam did not ask for or deserve this honor. God chose him. The only requirement was: “If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.” (1 Kings 11:38) Wow. What an unbelievable blessing and honor God granted to Jeroboam.
Here’s what he did with it… To set the stage, Jeroboam is now king of the 10 tribes as God promised. Solomon is dead and his son, Rehoboam, is the king of Judah and is ruling from Jerusalem, the holy city where Solomon build the Lord’s temple.
Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”
After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other. (1 Kings 12:26-30)
On the advice of his friends (note that he did not seek God’s guidance), Jeroboam proceeds to: set up altars to worship these false gods, appoint priests, and even establish an annual festival. It was Jeroboam’s fear of losing the kingdom that God gave him in the first place that led him to dishonor God through the worship of false idols.
Do we do this? Do we fear the future after watching God sustain us in the past? Do we start down a path we believe that God has led us to follow and then lose courage when difficulties arise? Do we use other resources to allay our fears? If we’re honest, we can answer “yes” to these questions at one time or another. Let’s not be too hard on Jeroboam.
As you move forward, I encourage you to believe in God’s provision. Have no fear! Jesus is the good shepherd. He will provide.