The Divided Kingdom – Week 6 – The Fall of Jeroboam

March 11, 2018

The Divided Kingdom – Week 6 – The Fall of Jeroboam

The Divided Kingdom – Week 6 – The Fall of Jeroboam

JeroboamTurn in your Bibles to 1 Kings 14:1-20
Today we will conclude the story of Jeroboam.  Last week remember there was a showdown between Jeroboam and a man of God in which God demonstrated His power and his mercy to heal.  But at the end of the passage we saw that through all that, Jeroboams heart was so hard that he would not turn back to the Lord.  The main warning we saw was, we need to be careful that we do not become hard hearted to the call of God.  Remember he is the first king of the northern Kingdom.  He was promised the kingdom by God by a prophet named Ahijah (friend of Jehovah). Ahijah the prophet lived in Shiloh.  Well in today’s passage we see him again.  The first time he shows up it is with good news, this time not so much.  Let’s read the fall of Jeroboam.
Lets read:
At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became ill, 2 and Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go, disguise yourself, so you won’t be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there—the one who told me I would be king over this people. 3 Take ten loaves of bread with you, some cakes and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.” 4 So Jeroboam’s wife did what he said and went to Ahijah’s house in Shiloh.
Now Ahijah could not see; his sight was gone because of his age. 5 But the Lord had told Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son, for he is ill, and you are to give her such and such an answer. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else.”
6 So when Ahijah heard the sound of her footsteps at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why this pretense? I have been sent to you with bad news. 7 Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 8 I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. 9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me.
10 “‘Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone. 11 Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country. The Lord has spoken!’
12 “As for you, go back home. When you set foot in your city, the boy will die. 13 All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only one belonging to Jeroboam who will be buried, because he is the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom the Lord, the God of Israel, has found anything good.
14 “The Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will cut off the family of Jeroboam. Even now this is beginning to happen. 15 And the Lord will strike Israel, so that it will be like a reed swaying in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land that he gave to their ancestors and scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they aroused the Lord’s anger by making Asherah poles. 16 And he will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit.”
17 Then Jeroboam’s wife got up and left and went to Tirzah. As soon as she stepped over the threshold of the house, the boy died. 18 They buried him, and all Israel mourned for him, as the Lord had said through his servant the prophet Ahijah.
19 The other events of Jeroboam’s reign, his wars and how he ruled, are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel. 20 He reigned for twenty-two years and then rested with his ancestors. And Nadab his son succeeded him as king. 
What a strange story.  Remember last week we talked about how there are times in scripture that we see things that don’t make sense or seem unfair.  Today we see another one of these times and it all centers around Abijah the son of Jeroboam.  But before we get to far into the story lets see what we can learn form this passage.
At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became ill,
Remember names are extremely important in the Bible. Often names are reflective of the character of a person.  ABIJAH means “Yahweh is my father.”  Abi is a contraction of Abba.  Jah is a shortened form of Yahweh.   Somehow this child had not been corrupted by the ways of His father.  His heart was not hard.  Let me say this up front we have the ability with God’s help to not follow the sinful path of our parents.  We have the ability to break the cycle of past sin.  But it requires us to make God our father.  It requires us pressing in to Him and having a relationship with Him.
2 and Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go, disguise yourself, so you won’t be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there—the one who told me I would be king over this people. 3 Take ten loaves of bread with you, some cakes and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.” 4 So Jeroboam’s wife did what he said and went to Ahijah’s house in Shiloh.  Now Ahijah could not see; his sight was gone because of his age.
Jeroboam tells his wife to disguise herself and go to Ahijah the prophet. Take some gifts and find out what is going to happen to the child. So Jeroboam’s wife disguises herself and goes to the prophet with these gifts. it tells us that he told her to take ten loves of bread, some cakes and a jar of honey.  This would not have been considered a large gift.  In fact many commentaries say that this type of gift would have been seen as a poor man’s gift.  Why the disguise? Was it to hide the fact that Jeroboam was consulting the Lord’s prophet?  Or was it an indication of the kings despiration?  Either way, together with the gifts, he was attempting to manipulate a favorable prophecy from Ahijah? He knows enough to realize that he was not walking with God so he could not expect The prophet to treat him kindly.
Now the scriptures tell us a funny part to this story in verse 4. The prophet has become so old that he can no longer see. So here is Jeroboam’s wife trying to disguise herself when the prophet cannot see anyway. This tells you how long it has been since Jeroboam and his family have consulted the prophet of God. It is a sad declaration on the spirituality of Jeroboam and his household. He gives his wife instructions to disguise herself apparently unaware that the prophet she is going to see is nearly blind and couldn’t identify her anyway.  Jeroboam expects Ahijah to know the future, but he doesn’t seem to realize that if the Lord knows the future, he can certainly see through a disguise!
5 But the Lord had told Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son, for he is ill, and you are to give her such and such an answer. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else.”
6 So when Ahijah heard the sound of her footsteps at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why this pretense? I have been sent to you with bad news.
First notice when Jeroboam finally turns to God. Why is he seeking the word from the Lord through his prophet now? The reason is because his child is sick. He is seeking the word of the Lord only in the time of trouble. Jeroboam turns a deaf ear to the word of the Lord at all other occasions only to hope for good news from God after rejecting him. How often we also treat God the same way as Jeroboam did! We want God to be there for our emergencies but not to rule over our lives. We don’t want him to tell us what to do. But we want him there as our personal insurance policy when things go wrong. Jeroboam knows he is not going to get a good word from the Lord because he has been rejecting the Lord. That is the whole reason for send his wife and putting her in a disguise.
So Jeroboam’s wife shows up but Ahijah already has the scoop.  He knows who she is and what she wants.  But God has a message for Jeroboam.  This scene cracks me up.  She enters the room and Ahijah says who are you trying to fool?  You came to ask a question but God has actually sent me to you with some bad news.  Before we look at the wife and think how stupid can she be.
How often do we try to pull the same stunt before God?  How often do we pretend to be someone that we are not?  We live our lives in the way that we want to live but think that we can fool God into not recognizing us for who we truly are.
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways;we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. 2 We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.
Wearing masks and pretending that we are good with God when we are not is no way to live. Do we really think that we can deceive God? This problem goes all the way back to the very beginning. After being caught in their sins, what do Adam and Eve do but attempt to hide themselves from the presence of the Lord (Genesis 3:8)!
Just like Jeroboam’s wife, we can try to hide who we are or what is going in inside of us, but our God s too gracious to let that happen to His kids.  Instead we find ourselves before the God who knows everything: Like the “Woman at the Well” God desires to expose us not to harm us but instead to bring us to repentance.
Here is the Good News!  You cannot fool God!  He see it all!  He knows it all!  HE is omniscient and omnipresent.  He knows that what we try to hide and disguise will only eventually be revealed and will eat us alive in the process.  But God does not want us to suffer with those things. He already knows and he wants to set us free.  Listen to what Romans says…
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
That is Good News if I ever heard it!  Unfortunately that is not what Jeroboam receives.
7 Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 8 I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. 9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me.
These verses express the reason for God’s severe judgment. I think it is important for us to consider that God has a reason behind his judgment. Listen to how God describes the reason for the judgment. Verse 7 through the middle of verse 8 rehearse the grace God had shown toward Jeroboam. God says that he had exalted Jeroboam and made him the leader over Israel. When God tore the kingdom in pieces, he gave Jeroboam 10 of those tribes. God is saying that I blessed you and exalted you. I took care of you. Jeroboam was merely a servant in Solomon’s house but God made him king.
But what did Jeroboam do with God’s blessings? The middle of verse 8 through verse 9 give the answer. Jeroboam was not like King David, who was a man after God’s heart and seeking God’s will. David kept the commandments of the Lord and followed with all his heart. David did what was right in God’s eyes. But not Jeroboam. Jeroboam did none of these things. Instead, Jeroboam was been the worst in his evil ways, going after other gods. Basically, Jeroboam threw God’s goodness away. He took the blessings of God, saw them as nothing, and threw them away. Listen carefully to the words at the end of verse 9: “You have cast me behind your back.” This is why God said he was so angry. God will not come in second. God refuses to be co-pilot. He will not be second chair. God does not share. He is a jealous God. Jeroboam had turn his back to God, deciding to go his own way.
God described in this paragraph how we turn our back on God.
  1. By not following him with all of our heart. David followed with his whole heart. That is what made him a man after God’s heart even though he stumbled and sinned. His heart was seeking after the Lord. God demands our hearts. God demands all of our being to be seeking him. Otherwise, we have thrown God behind our backs.
  2. We do not keep the commands of the Lord. A proper heart will lead us to proper obedience. When I love the Lord then I will want to do what the Lord has told me to do. We will want to do what is right in God’s eyes, not our own.
 Jeroboam had taken God’s blessings and grace and thrown it away. Therefore, listen to the judgments to come for his sins.
10 “‘Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone. 11 Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country. The Lord has spoken!’
We see that because of Jeroboam’s unrepentant spirit, because of his continual hardening of his heart toward God, it results in every person in his family being wiped out.
There is a concept in scripture that is difficult for us to understand. “The Sins of the father”  in Exodus 34:6-7 it says “Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth; 7 who keeps loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
But God also says in Ezekiel 18:20, “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”
So which one is right?  Both.  You see the truth is we have a responsibility to understand that our sin does not just effect us.  in fact our sin can have major effects on generations to come.  This church is an example of some of that.  Because of a moral failure 20 yrs ago this church has struggled.  But the good news is we can change that pattern.  This is why it is so important to keep short ledgers with God on our sin.  To make sure we are open and honest when we fail and to not let the enemy  have any foothold in our lives.
The phrase “every last male” is a very interesting phrase.  In most modern translations we could skip right over it.  Does anyone have a KJV here?  What does it say? “everyone who pisseth against the wall.” The desire for decorum in the modern translations, hides the shocking image which God certainly intended: there is something filthy, a foul odor emanating from Jeroboam’s house.  If a family member died in the city, the dogs were going to eat him. If the family member died in the open country, the birds were going to eat him. There was not going to be any honor for the bodies of these wicked people. This is important to notice as we read the next 2 verses.
12 “As for you, go back home. When you set foot in your city, the boy will die. 13 All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only one belonging to Jeroboam who will be buried, because he is the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom the Lord, the God of Israel, has found anything good.
Jeroboam’s son, whom the wife was inquiring about, was also going to die. In fact, she would no longer see him alive. As soon as she entered the city, the child would die. He is the only person is Jeroboam’s house and family that would be buried. The reason is because there was something found in this son that was pleasing to the Lord. Not so for the rest of the family.
We look at those verses and it shocks us.  Once again we look and think… that is not fair.  But what is the truth?   The wages of sin is death.  The truth is we will all one day die.  Unless the Lord comes back within our lifetime we will all someday die.  The question of timing is not up to us, it is up to God.  The truth is God dealt kindly with Abijah.  He could have been slaughtered and the animals eat him as he lied dead on the ground.  Instead He was buried and mourned unlike the rest of his family.  Jeroboam’s wife had gone to find out whether her son would live or die. She got a great deal more than she bargained for: the announcement of the end of her entire family and a violent end at that. It was a sign of being cursed to die unburied, as later would be the case with King Baasha (1 Kgs 16:4) and Queen Jezebel (1 Kgs 21:24).
14 “The Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will cut off the family of Jeroboam. Even now this is beginning to happen. 15 And the Lord will strike Israel, so that it will be like a reed swaying in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land that he gave to their ancestors and scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they aroused the Lord’s anger by making Asherah poles. 16 And he will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit.”
17 Then Jeroboam’s wife got up and left and went to Tirzah. As soon as she stepped over the threshold of the house, the boy died. 18 They buried him, and all Israel mourned for him, as the Lord had said through his servant the prophet Ahijah.
19 The other events of Jeroboam’s reign, his wars and how he ruled, are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel. 20 He reigned for twenty-two years and then rested with his ancestors. And Nadab his son succeeded him as king.
The cost of Jeroboams sin was huge.
  1. Ahijah dies
  2. The dynasty of Jeroboam would be overthrown. A new king would arise and would make sure that there was nothing left of Jeroboam’s descendants.
  3. The nation of Israel would be exiled from the land. God was going to rip the nation out of this good land and scatter it beyond the Euphrates River. This prophecy came to pass in 722 BC when the nation of Assyria came and conquered Israel, taking the people captive, and scattering them across their empire.
We need to learn a very valuable lesson. Sin changes the course of history. One person’s sins can significantly change the course of life events.
Our sins bear a dramatic impact on ourselves, our family, on people we do not even know, and people in the future who are not alive yet. Our sins set the course of this local church. Following the Lord with all your heart or not determines everything for your children, your family, your future, and this congregation.
Families are ripped apart by sin. Devastation occurs because of sins. Churches are destroyed by various sins. We only hold together when we are passionately pursuing Jesus. Only when we love him and seek to honor him do we have any chances of life holding together in this world.
Let us be like David not Jeroboam, Both full of faults and failure but one had a heart toward God, while the other turned his back on God.  Let’s pray.

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