Thursday, August 16, 2012
Good morning brothers and sisters
Now that Jeroboam and Israel are separate from Judah and Rehoboam, Jeroboam worries that worshiping in Jerusalem will lead his people back to their brothers and sisters. As a result, he builds new houses of worship for Israel, which is a problem. The author of 1 and 2 Kings will refer to this worship decision as the “sin of Jeroboam” throughout the story. Notice that Jeroboam makes the decision not based on religious reasons but based on geography and political power. The reality is that political rulers can’t control religion and stay faithful to God.
1 Kings 12:25-33
25Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and resided there; he went out from there and built Penuel. 26Then Jeroboam said to himself, “Now the kingdom may well revert to the house of David. 27If this people continues to go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, the heart of this people will turn again to their master, King Rehoboam of Judah; they will kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.” 28So the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold. He said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”
29He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one at Bethel and before the other as far as Dan. 31He also made houses on high places, and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not Levites. 32Jeroboam appointed a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month like the festival that was in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altar; so he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he had made. 33He went up to the altar that he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he alone had devised; he appointed a festival for the people of Israel, and he went up to the altar to offer incense.