Saturday, March 10, 2012

1 Kings 14 - Unrighteousness of Jeroboam and Rehoboam

LINK: 1 Kings 14
Parallel passage: 2 Chronicles 12:1-16

BACKGROUND

Jeroboam of Israel
Reigned: 931-910 B.C. for 22 years
Character: Bad

Even though Jeroboam sent his disguised wife to the prophet at Shiloh, Ahijah still prophesied of the death of Jeroboam's son, Abijah (notice the close spelling of the prophet's and son's names), and the downfall of Israel for its blatant violation of the commands of God. He specifically said that he would scatter them because they provoked the LORD to anger for making Asherah poles. These were wooden images made for the worship of Asherah, a Canaanite mother-goddess. Also, Ahijah prophesied that a king would cut off the family of Jeroboam I, and we will see this come true in 1 Kings 15:27-30.

Rehoboam of Judah
Reigned: 931-913 B.C. for 17 years
Character: Bad mostly 

Rehoboam's three year period of listening to the Lord and acting upon it came to an end. Judah did evil by setting up high places, sacred stones, and Asherah poles on every high hill and spreading tree. They even had male prostitute shrines. 

The worst thing was that the palace and temple treasures were carried off by Shishak, king of Egypt in 926 BC. Shishak was also known as Sheshonk I, the founder of the 22nd dynasty of Egypt, who ruled from 935-914 B.C. He is the king who had given asylum to Jeroboam I when he fled from Solomon (1 Kings 11:40). In this particular military campaign, Shishak took control of 156 cities. This is recorded on the exterior wall of the temple of Amon at Karnak in Egypt. It says his army penetrated as far north as the Sea of Galilee. He wanted to reestablish Egypt as a world power by trying to regain control of trade routes.

There is a parallel story of both Jeroboam I and Rehoboam in 2 Chronicles 9:29-13:22 . It is from this account that we learn that the "LORD struck [Jeroboam] down and he died."

REFLECTION

What is the appeal of idols? 

Here are some reasons given in The Life Application Bible, p. 575:


POWER 
The people wanted freedom from the authority of both God and the priests. They wanted their religion to fit their life-style, not their life-style to fit their religion. 
Modern Parallel 
People do not want to answer to a greater authority. Instead of having power over others, God wants us to have the Holy Spirit's power to help others. 
PLEASURE 
Idol worship exalted sensuality without responsibility or guilt. People acted out the vicious and sensuous personalities of the gods they worshiped, thus gaining approval for their degraded lives. 
Modern Parallel 
People deify pleasure, seeking it at the expense of everything else. Instead of seeking pleasure that leads to long-range disaster, God calls us to seek the kind of pleasure that leads to long-range rewards. 
PASSION 
Mankind was reduced to little more than animals. The people did not have to be viewed as unique individuals, but could be exploited sexually, politically, and economically. 
Modern Parallel 
Like animals, people let physical drives and passion rule them. Instead of seeking passion that exploits others, God calls us to redirect our passions to areas that build others up. 
PRAISE AND POPULARITY 
The high and holy nature of God was replaced by gods who were more a reflection of human nature, thus more culturally suitable to the people. These gods no longer required sacrifice, just a token of appeasement. 
Modern Parallel 
Sacrifice is seen as self-inflicted punishment, making no sense. Success is to be sought at all costs. Instead of seeking praise for ourselves, God calls us to praise Him and those who honor Him.

APPLICATION

Read through the modern parallels above, and talk to God about them. What will be your "I will" statement for today? 

PRAYER

Lord, keep us close to Your side so that we might never stray from You into areas of idolatry. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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