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For some time King Jeroboam (the manager) and King Rehoboam (the son) fought each other. One time Rehoboam gathered an army to go try to take back over the northern half of the kingdom of Israel where King Jeroboam was, but God stopped him.
God had promised Jeroboam the manager that his kingdom could last a long time if only he would stick close to God like David did.
But Jeroboam didn’t understand how something was going to “work.” God’s golden Temple (with the walls, the Altar, the Wash Bowl, the spices, the Lampstand, the Bread Table, the Big Thick Curtain, and the Ark) was not in Jeroboam’s half of the kingdom. God’s Temple and the high priest who offered sacrifices for the people were in the southern kingdom of Judah where Rehoboam was the king.
Jeroboam thought this was a problem because he was afraid that if people went to the Temple in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, they might change their minds and want King Rehoboam to be king instead of him. He didn’t want to lose his kingdom, so he started looking for a “solution” to this “problem” he thought he had.
Do you think this is really Jeroboam’s “problem” to try to “solve”? Or do you think Jeroboam should just follow God with all his heart like David did, and trust God to work it out however He wanted? God had even told Jeroboam, “Stay close to Me and you won’t lose your kingdom!” So Jeroboam should have just trusted and obeyed what God said, instead of trying to control things to try to protect his little part of the kingdom. Super bad things happen when we try to protect ourselves or “control things” for God with our own “ideas.”
Well, the “solution” that Jeroboam decided on was to make 2 golden cows for the people to worship so that the people wouldn’t travel to God’s Temple in the southern kingdom of Judah. Oh no! Oh, no! NOT more cowardice cows! That is not a “solution,” is it? That was breaking God’s 10 rules!
Not only that, but Jeroboam also said any ol’ person who wanted to could be a priest. Double Oh no! Oh no! That was NOT what God said about who could be priests, was it? The sons of Aaron were set apart to be the priests.
Jeroboam led the half-kingdom of Israel into serious sin.
When this happened, all the Levites throughout the half-kingdom of Israel took off heading south to the half-kingdom of Judah where Rehoboam the son was king. The Levites knew Jeroboam the manager was way out of line to make up his own religion like this, so they just packed up and left their homes. And they weren’t the only ones. All those who had set their hearts on seeking God joined the Levites as they headed south to the kingdom of Judah.
The northern kingdom of Israel never got out of this sinful hole Jeroboam dug. Jeroboam’s false made-up religion was the beginning of the end for the northern kingdom of Israel.
What foolish nonsense for Jeroboam to make up his own rules and religion in order to protect his part of the kingdom! That’s not ok.
Unfortunately many people still do this today. When they don’t understand how obeying God is going to work out for them, they just make up their own rules about what is acceptable to God. They say, “Anyone can be a teacher or a leader in our church.”
But any time we make up religious excuses and “reasons” for doing things a different way, instead of God’s way, it’s the same as making a golden-cow fake religion.
Meanwhile God told Jeroboam that his kingdom would be destroyed because he did not follow in David’s footsteps like God told him he could have. Imagine it! God told Jeroboam the manager that he could have been like another David. But Jeroboam just threw it all away.
Like we said at the beginning of this story way back with Adam and Eve… God gave people the ability to choose. And Jeroboam chose to be a disobedient waste of skin, instead of an obedient son walking with God as Daddy!
Ironic, huh? As an animated turtle once said, “One often meets his downfall on the road he takes to avoid it.” That’s what happened to Jeroboam. He was so afraid of losing his kingdom, that he did something totally foolish and sinful to try to keep it. But God saw it, and took away Jeroboam’s kingdom!
After King Jeroboam died, there were five bad kings in a row. Yes… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. There was so much sin and chaotic mess that one of them only ruled for a few days! I’m not even going to tell you all their names because we don’t have time to talk about all of them today, and they were all bad anyway. You can read about them in your Bibles though, some other time.
After those 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 bad kings, though, an extremely wicked king and queen came into power. Their names were Ahab and Jezebel. And even though they were extremely bad, we’re going to talk about them because God brought along a super special, Heaven-Seeing prophet to help — Elijah. And you’ll really like hearing about him. He’s super cool.