May 4. Jeroboam Leads Israel Astray

I Kin. 12:25-13:10; 33, 34

Since the capital of Israel, now Judah was at Jerusalem in the southern kingdom, Jeroboam selected Shechem to serve as his capital. Also, for fear that the people would return to Rehoboam if they went to Jerusalem to worship as God had commanded, he set up altars at two other places of worship. They were located at Bethel in the south and Dan in the north.

One sees in the life of the new king, Jeroboam an independence to do things his way instead of relying upon the commandments of God. He made a golden calf for each of the two new places of worship and stated, “…Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” He also appointed priests, including himself from non-Levitical tribes. Jeroboam established a feast day in the eighth month instead of God’s commanded day in the seventh month.

Obviously, God was displeased with Jeroboam’s man-made worship. He sent a prophet from Judah to relate His displeasure. The prophecy about Josiah was fulfilled hundreds of years later. After seeing the signs performed from God, Jeroboam asked the prophet to pray for him and invited him to his house. The prophet however, declined the invitation because God had forbidden him to eat or drink while on his mission. Whatever repentance that may have been in his heart was short-lived. “After this event Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way…”