GOOD MORNING and welcome to another beautiful day in the Word!
Today’s readings are 1 Kings 12-14
Pay very careful attention to what takes place in our readings today. Like all Scripture, it is vitally important and applicable to our lives.
First, the lowdown: So y’all, here is what is happening. YHWH has split the tribes of Israel. Now, in keeping with His promise to David, he is going to keep Judah under the rule of Solomon and his successors. However, the rest of Israel will be ruled by a series of other kings. So for the next while, we will be reading about two kingdoms and their rulers. Israel and its kings and Judah and its kings. I have a couple of charts that will make this easier to track and keep up with.
Below is a chart I stayed up late last night working on for y’all because I wanted one that was straightforward and easy to reference. Keep in mind spreadsheets are not my specialty but I hope you see it as the labor of love that it was. You can click here to open up a printable copy. I think doing this will help you keep track of where we are and who we are talking about. The ones in red are the kings who were considered righteous in the eyes of YHWH. Manasseh will make sense when we get to that.
This is a more complicated chart but it does have more data. I can’t find an original source for it to link to.
moving right along…
Today, we see Jeroboam set up a system of worship that is a complete counterfeit of YHWH’s system. Now keep in mind that this is the same man who was warned -by YHWH- in 1 Kings 11:38 that his ability to maintain his throne depended on him obeying YHWH’s commandments.
- He created not one (like Aaron did) but TWO golden calves and declared them “gods” to Israel.
- Israel has ONE God, this was a benchmark, a huge deviation from the rest of the culture at the time, they were known for having ONE God and now just like that, they are worshipping plural idols as gods instead.
- He also set up his own feasts and appointed times
- Made temples, which were not consecrated to YHWH in any way AND
- He created his own counterfeit priest system from among the people, whom we are explicitly told are not Levites – the only priest system YHWH had ordained.
- His system was a complete counterfeit of YHWH’s because it was modeled after it.
How did he get away with it?
He made sure that his counterfeits were close enough the original that the people would feel okay going along with it, but just off enough that it will keep them from truly worshipping their God.
He marketed it along the lines of “Hey, I’m going to make this easier for you. This is just as good as what you’ve been doing but it will work so much better and be far less disruptive to your life.”
His ability to be successful with this is a tragic reflection of the state of Israel in that day, just as it is among many of YHWH’s people today. In fact, we are told the path is narrow and few will find it – based on that we can safely assume this is this way with the majority of YHWH’s people today.
How could YHWH’s chosen people not recognize a counterfeit?
They didn’t know the original.
That statement deserves a pause and a moment of silence.
Why did Jeroboam go to such extremes to create a counterfeit faith?
He tells us, out of fear that if the people continued in YHWH’s ways they would eventually return to Him in their hearts. 1 Kings 12:26-27
Think about it: We won’t recognize a counterfeit if we don’t know the original.
In doing this, he broke so many commandments we can’t even go into them all. But I want to add in some words from our Messiah, spoken during His famous Sermon On The Mount, about how He feels regarding those who would lead others astray:
“So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” ~Matthew 5:19
YHWH sends a warning to Jeroboam 1 Kings 13
We aren’t told the name of the man that was sent to deliver God’s warning. He is simply referred to as a “Man of YHWH” – what a title to strive for!
When He delivered his news and then subsequently healed Jeroboam (Make sure you read this chapter), Jeroboam tried to entreat him to return to his palace so that he could reward him.
The man of YHWH reiterates that YHWH had told him not to have any fellowship with him. This man was living in darkness.
This is reminding us, as if we didn’t know already, that YHWH detests these things:
- counterfeit gods
- counterfeit feasts
- and the entire counterfeit system that had been set up and dressed up to look like His.
Imagine, this was designed to “trick” His people into going against His commandments, NOT living according to His Word. Of course He is going to detest that.
Note that this man of YHWH could not be coerced in any way by Jeroboam. He had likely traveled a great distance, was tired, hungry, and possibly even poor.
He could have, as many of us would these days, told himself that in going home with the king he would have an opportunity to witness to him about the Father or help direct him onto a proper path once again.
But he remained faithful, careful to do all that the Father had ordered him to do, and careful not to place his own reasoning above YHWH’s. In doing so, he denied himself temporary comfort for the sake of being obedient and bringing honor to YHWH.
But then he met a prophet…
Around 1 Kings 13:18 and our story takes a tragic turn as our man of YHWH once again refuses to disobey YHWH, but the prophet lies and says that He, too, has received a message from YHWH, that contradicts the one the man of YHWH had received.
- Lesson #1: YHWH does not contradict Himself.
- Lesson #2: Beware anyone that contradicts God’s word.
We have to know the Word, be on our guard, and not accept a contradiction by anyone. We, as knowers of the word, will have no excuse if we do and we bring dire consequences upon ourselves, just as this man of YHWH did. For generations we’ve treated YHWH’s word lightly but as the times we live in grow more dire, we can no longer afford to do so.
Another interesting note:
In 1 Kings 14:13 we read that YHWH still considers Himself the God of Israel.
Though they have been unfaithful, He remains steadfast and faithful to His covenant.
He is faithful to us. May we be faithful to Him, studying to show ourselves approved and familiar enough with the original that counterfeits don’t even cause us to bat an eye.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!
One of my hobbies is designing t-shirts. I designed this one as I was working on these notes and put it in my Amazon t-shirt shop. Amazon prints and ships them for free. However, they require me to mark them up so I do the minimum. Any profits will go towards my monthly site expenses and podcast hosting fees.