Jeroboam was offered the same sort of blessing and provision if He followed the Lord through the prophet Ahijah in 1 Kings 11:38-39. Unfortunately, both Solomon and Jeroboam made poor choices. Solomon turned away from the Lord and toward the gods of his wives, so the Lord tore the kingdom away (1 Kings 11:11). Jeroboam feared man over God and created counterfeit feasts, gods, and priests, so the Lord cut off the house of Jeroboam (1 Kings 13:34).
What the Lord wanted from each leader is the same thing He wants from us: to love Him with all our heart, soul, and strength and to keep His commands (Deut 6:5, 17). This is why it is so important to know the word of the Lord that He has given to us in the Bible. If we know the Scriptures, then we will recognize the counterfeit “truths.”
Jeroboam was the clearest example of this. He said it was too hard for the people to obey so he set up idols, a counterfeit feast of the Lord (his own date for the Feast of Tabernacles), and priests who weren’t Levites. I have to wonder why the people followed all this. Did they not know the command of the Lord? Had they not learned from the history of the Israelites that you cannot just stamp His name on something He hasn’t designed and call it okay (Exodus 32:4-10)? Yet for many more leaders of Israel, it is consistently said that they followed in the sins of Jeroboam.
We are given the same sort of choice: if we follow Jesus, then we have eternal life. If we follow His commands, then He walks with us. We aren’t bound by decisions of the past or our ancestor’s sins. God gives each of us a choice, and as we grow in our knowledge of the Word, we may find ourselves in error. For example, we may realize that culture’s call to follow our hearts is a counterfeit to knowing our heart is deceitful (Jer 17:9), and we must follow Him and His commands. We will learn to filter what we have heard through the Word and must be willing to repent and follow Him, no matter the cost.
As we look forward to our Messiah’s return, may we take heed to His warning that false messiahs and prophets will arise with great signs and wonders to deceive us (Matt 24:24) and let that spur us deeper into His truths. If we commit ourselves to truly knowing Him and His ways, then we will have a much better chance of recognizing the counterfeit and enduring until the end.
“In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3 (NIV)
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