Jeroboam had a problem.
As I am sure you know, Jeroboam was the man who split Israel into two separate nations, and while his initial rebellion was a success, he anticipated troubles ahead.
If he encouraged God’s people to obey God’s commands, he would lose power and control over them, because it would mean they would be going down to Jerusalem to worship, which is of course, where the Davidic king ruled and if it’s hard to stay separated for long, if you are worshiping together like that.
So, he came up with a solution.
You might say he found a way to build a kingdom for himself, using religion and I think his plan has been copied by false teachers and prophets for generations since.
He set up a parallel religion, in which he used Israel’s love for idol worship and their respect of their ancestors, to “replace” God’s actual presence with a symbol of His presence.
A golden calf.
And to make this idolatrous worship appear acceptable, He gathered around this blasphemy, as much of the Mosaic ritual he could.
As one commentator explains,
“….while he gratified the love of idolatry, he decked it out with all the rest of the worship which God had appointed for himself.”
And, I couldn’t help but think as I read this description of Jeroboam’s rebellion, what an indictment on so much of what is happening all around us today!
There is a lot that goes under the name of Christianity which is idolatry dressed up in its Sunday clothes, and there are many false preachers who are still using people’s love of idolatry and respect for their ancestral traditions, to gain control and power over them.
Jeroboam’s religion had the feasts and assemblies and sacrifices and hymns and tithes and priests and prophets and places of worship, but it didn’t have God.
As one man writes,
“But all his outward show was rotten at the core…”
When people twist the truth, they shape a lie, and use God’s name to blaspheme Him and condemn themselves.
May God help us confront idolatry, speak the truth, and lead people to worship the one true God instead!