Jeroboam had been given a golden ticket! He had been chosen by God to lead the ten tribes of Israel. Confronted by a prophet in chapter 11, Jeroboam was informed that if he obeyed, God would be with him and build him a house like He did for David. What an amazing opportunity!
Now, with the ten tribes under his control, Jeroboam’s heart would be tested. The test would not be war, famine, or crisis. Rather, it would be a test of faith. Would Jeroboam believe what God told him or would he give into fear and try to guarantee his future on his own?
In chapter 12 we find Jeroboam pondering a question. What would happen if year after year the citizens of his country traveled to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem? He suspected that sooner, rather than later, he would be pushed off the throne as the kingdoms rejoined (v. 27). The ingredient Jeroboam failed to include in his recipe of doubt, was God’s promise! The kingdom was his. His to enjoy, or his to lose. All he had to do was obey.
So, it is disappointing to see Jeroboam choose to protect his throne in a way that disobeyed God and led his people astray (vv. 28 30). Jeroboam decided to build two shrines in his kingdom, one at Dan at the northern border of his kingdom and one at Bethel near the southern border. Their purpose? To create an opportunity for Israelites to worship without going to Jerusalem. At these shrines Jeroboam installed idols, golden calves, and invited his people to worship. In his fear-driven effort to protect himself, he led his kingdom into the very sins that led to Solomon’s downfall.
>> It seems sensible to do everything we can to protect our own interests. But we must be mindful that God is the only One who can guarantee our future. What are you afraid of that is causing you to secure your life in a way that dishonors God?
We know fear is not from You, but we don’t know how to let it go. Give us courage and strength to obey You, even when we feel trapped, abandoned, or under pressure. Alert us when we allow ourselves to be driven by doubt.