The Divided Kingdom – Week 4 – Shifting Faith

February 25, 2018

The Divided Kingdom – Week 4 – Shifting Faith

The Divided Kingdom – Week 4 – Shifting Faith

Shifting FaithTurn in your Bibles to 1 Kings 12:25 – 13:1
Each week in this series so far I have tried to give you a bit of context and teaching about the books we are looking at and the point of what they are writing.  So far we have mainly been looking in 1 Kings.  Just so we remember this book (KINGS) was written as an explanation to the question of how the people pf God ended up in exile.  It was written to those who had rejected the truth of who God was and basically showed the rapid progression of moving away from God.  It only took 40 years (2 generations) to fall away completely from following God.  This is a crucial fact for us to realize today.  We are not far away from where they were at.
Last week we focused on the story of Rehoboam and how because of his arrogance, pride and foolishness, he drove the people away.   Ray was the rightful King in the south, Son of Solomon (SK1).  But he did not follow God instead he followed the path of His father Solomon (late in his life)  This is a warning to us that those around us might just follow our bad examples and even make them worse.
Today we return for a few weeks and look at Jerry.  Jerry (NK1L1) is in the north, instituted by God with a promise of blessing for obedience.  His start is promising.  God actually promises to make Him like David.  Even in this God is trying to point him back to a godly legacy.  If we ignore the past we are doomed to repeat the failure in the future.
Lets read:
1 Kings 12:25 – 13:1
25 Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel.
26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”
28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.
31 Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. 33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.
Chapter 13:1
By the word of the Lord a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. 
Shifting Your weightAs we look at the life of Jeroboam, I want to use a word picture to discuss his life.  Have you ever had to stand a long time, and you find that you are standing on one leg more than the other?  Then because your leg is tired you shift your weight on to the other side.  That is the picture I want you to think about when we discuss Jerry.
He began strong on the side of God.  He was resting His weight on what God had said. But as soon as he is made king, he shifts the weight off of trusting God and instead begins to trust his own accomplishments.
Remember each of these lessons are designed to teach us how the nation fell and how we can keep form going the same way.  How often do we do the same thing as Jerry?  God does something powerful and significant in our lives and shortly after that we begin to trust in what we can do for God instead of what God wants to do through us.  We shift from God’s word and His grace to our own accomplishments.  Look at Vs 25.
25 Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel.
The first thing we see is he fortified Shechem.  Shechem was his home town and Jeroboam was fortifying is seat of power.   When we shift our trust away from God and on to ourselves we must accumulate power in order to protect what we have.  Next He goes to Peniel which was the eastern most entrance to Isreal.  This is actually where Jacob wrestled with God.
26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”
Jerry, in his own reasoning begins to formulate an entire scenario in his mind that end in His own death.  What is this called?  Worry!  It has been said that worry is a mild form of Atheism.  Think about the scene. Jeroboam has been handed the Kingdom by God, the people have rejected the cruel and harsh treatment Rehoboam has promised.   And somehow left with his own thought process he ends up here.  This is why it is so important to have Godly counsel in our lives.  Worry and Fear are what he is being driven to, because He had shifted his faith away from God on to his own accomplishments.  And when that happens when we operate or lives with that mindset be begin to distrust the word of God and the way he calls us to live.
This is the same attack that the enemy has used since the Garden of Eden.  Satan comes to Eve and he uses the simplest of attacks.  “Hath God Said?”  If the enemy can get us to deny the word of God we begin to distrust the author.  We begin to believe things contrary to what God has said.  Satan tempted eve with the idea that God was not good.  That God was holding out on her, that God did not have her best in mind.
Pastor and Author Tim Chester wrote a book about this called “You can change”  In it he says we have 4 fundamental belief that we must always remember and live according to.  They are called the 4 G’s
    1. God is Great – So we don’t have to be in control  – God is powerful and able so we can trust him when things don’t look the way we think they should.  Psalm 145:3 – Worry
    2.  God is Glorious – So we don’t have to fear others – Psalm 19:1 – Fear of men – He is almighty and we serve Him only.
    3.  God is Good – So we don’t have to look elsewhere – 2 Thes 1:2; 2 Pet 1:3 – Idolatry  – He is enough we do not need anything else.  He fulfills completely.
    4.  God is Gracious – So we don’t have to prove ourselves – Eph 2:8-9 – Pride and works  – HE gives us everything and so we don’t have to worry about losing anything.
Whenever we begin to believe that what we have is because of what we earn, we will begin to trust in our work not God’s faithfulness.
    If we believe we earned it then, we have to fight to keep it! But, if it is given by God, the only fight we have is to stay close to Him.
    Jerry is not trying to stay right with God he is trying to preserve his position. The Prophet of God came up and gave it to him, He did not earn it.
    When fear and unbelief rule our lives we do irrational and ungodly things. Jeroboam failed because he thought too much of himself instead of inquiring on God.
He drifted from God’s word to his own thoughts. How do I know this?  In Deuteronomy 17:18-19 there are detailed instructions for Kings, “18 When the King takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law… 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees”
28 After seeking advice, 
        Seeking advise from any source not rooted in God’s word always leads up down the wrong path.  Good godly counsel is hard to find today.  Why because largely we are biblically illiterate people.  That is one of the reasons I am so encouraged to hear and see how many of our people are reading their Bibles on a daily basis.  It is also why we are teaching the way we are.  But here is a WARNING.  Just because someone is a Christian does not mean they are biblical with their advise! The word of God is the standard not our thoughts, feelings or emotions.  If someone tells you something and it is contrary to the word of God it is not biblical advise.  The advise Jerry received was not biblical.
the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
Unbelief always leads to the sin of idolatry.
2 Golden calves – Same as Aaron in Ex. 32. I would love to take you there and spend some time comparing but instead I want you to see 1 thing.
Ex 32:4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
Jeroboam fell into the same old trap.  If we do not learn form the mistakes of others in history, we are doomed to repeat them.  Where do you think Jerry learned about worshiping Golden Calves?  Egypt, where he was exiled, when Solomon was trying to kill him.  When we are not trusting God we go places and we learn things that draw us away from God. When we shift our faith from God’s word to us, that unbelief always leads to Idolatry.
29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.
Why 2 calves and why at Dan and Bethel?  Dan was the northern most border of Israel and  Bethel was the southern.  And notice the is says they went as far as Dan.  Some commentaries think this means that they traveled to both,  that they became centers of attractions,  They became destinations not simply places of worship.
31 Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. 33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.
    He builds his own thing-dom instead of God’s Kingdom
            designed to be appealing, convenient, comfortable and compromised
        Promoting an easy religion ends in adopting false worship (12:27, 28).
        High places – Altars
        Appointed priests
        Festival on the eighth month
        Calves he made
        He decided the time of the festival – Num. 29:12
By the word of the Lord a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. 
Vs 1 – God sends His word – to convict and judge
    Failure to yield to God’s word – God in His faithfulness continues to pursue Jeroboam and call him to live right.  God mercifully pursues us.
Questions for the week?
Where do you rest on your accomplishments more than God’s word?
When do you let fear and worry control your life?
What areas of idolatry (putting other things ahead of God and his word) do you need to repent of?
How has your worship of God become convenient, comfortable, and compromised?
How has God mercifully pursued you when you have fallen away?

 


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