Out of the frying pan and into the fire

Due to Solomon’s idolatry, God arranged for the man Jeroboam to take over the territory of Israel occupied by the ten northern tribes (1 Kings 11:29-31). When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam “went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king (1 Kings 12:1). There, Jeroboam confronted Rehoboam and turned the people against him (1 Kings 12:3-4). As a result of following the counsel of his friends, Rehoboam alienated the  people and instead of making him king, they abandoned him. “And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel; there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only” (1 Kings 12:20).

Less than 40 years after David’s death, the utopia he established had disintegrated. In spite of Solomon’s wisdom and wealth, his leadership of the nation caused the people to rebel against God and forsake his inheritance (1 Kings 12:16). Shortly after he began his reign as king of Israel, Jeroboam introduced fully pagan practices into Israel’s religious rites. He made two calves of gold and told the people “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (1 Kings 12:28). The tragic thing about Jeroboam’s sin was that it caused Solomon’s temple to be deficient in support. The temple was intended to be maintained by the sacrifices of all Israelites, but only a small portion of the people worshipped there. In essence, Jeroboam’s actions put the temple out of business.

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