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.” 1 Kings 12:26-27
Jeroboam disregarded God’s promise to him that he would rule over ten tribes of Israel and the promise of a dynasty as enduring as David’s (11:31-38). Jeroboam thought he needed to secure the kingdom by using his own resources. The narrative continues, “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” (12:28-30).
Jeroboam led the people into idol worship to protect his own position. He didn’t want the people travelling to Jerusalem to worship God so he instituted a substitute system. It shows his lack of faith in God to fulfil his promise to him.
These golden calves continued to be a problem for Israel. Generations later we read, “So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan” (2 Kings 10:28-29). Jeroboam’s lack of trust blighted the nation for over a hundred years.
What legacy are we leaving behind? A legacy built on faith in God or a legacy of compromise and the pursuit of selfish ambitions?
Jeroboam’s example of lack of faith in God’s promises serves as a warning.