There are many times in life where people seek and desire the wisdom of the Lord. Perhaps a person is faced with a major decision that needs to be made concerning a crossroad in their path. Perhaps a person needs God’s wisdom to know how to respond to a particular person. Perhaps a person recognizes they need God’s wisdom to overcome certain temptations. Either way, the people of God should understand that we always need God’s wisdom. We always need the ability God provides to know the difference between right and wrong according to His standards, and then the ability to act rightly. The tricky part is understanding God’s communication. He promised that He would provide wisdom. He expects His people to have understanding. He commands His people to seek Him and His ways. Yet many people are confused about how the Lord’s wisdom comes and how to exercise it. Thankfully God’s Word is sufficient to provide examples that reveal the method of God’s work.
In 1 Kings 14:1-6 the Bible explains God’s response towards Jeroboam’s sin. It is true that God promised to judge Jeroboam’s works through King Josiah, who would come a few generations later. However, since Jeroboam didn’t care at all about God’s declaration and continued in sin as if God would not respond, the Lord took it upon Himself to provide another declaration of judgment unto Jeroboam. Jeroboam’s actions served to mock the Lord as if His hand were too short to discipline, but God would prove otherwise. The scriptures state that Jeroboam’s son became sick. He was Jeroboam’s only son, which meant that he would have been Jeroboam’s heir. He would be the one to grow as a man and carry on the lineage and heritage of Jeroboam and the newly establish kingdom. The threat of death to Jeroboam’s son was a threat to Jeroboam’s legacy. For this reason, Jeroboam actually sought the Lord – kind of…
The Bible explains that as the condition of Jeroboam’s son worsened, he sought to send his wife to Shiloh to inquire of Ahijah the prophet there. Though Jeroboam was able to convince other people that the idols he built with his own hands were equal in power, glory, and majesty as the Lord God Almighty that delivered the children of Israel out of the house of bondage in Egypt, when real life and death matters surfaced, he didn’t believe those things himself. Deep down, Jeroboam knew that the gods he worshiped and sacrificed to were fake. They were simply objects he created to convince himself that he had more authority and power than he really did. Jeroboam knew that the idols he served were powerless and unresponsive. Though he committed his life to pretending to be spiritual, his self-made religious practices were insufficient to deal with the real matters of life and death. Therefore, he sought inquire of the One True Living God by speaking to one of His prophets that lived in Shiloh.
This doesn’t mean that Jeroboam was repentant. This doesn’t mean that Jeroboam was actually seeking God. Jeroboam was merely seeking the favor He knew God “could” provide. Since Jeroboam spent his life doing things his own way, he didn’t know the character and nature of God to understand that He doesn’t work like a genie in a bottle or insurance policy that gets people out of bad situations when we call on Him. Since Jeroboam spent his life worshiping himself and doing things his own way, he never learned that God is not a bailout plan that quickly and comfortably fixes the mistakes we make or inconveniences we face. Though Jeroboam knew deep down that his idols were worthless, he never made efforts to seek God to know Him and how He actually works. Evidence of this truth is provided in the manner that he “sought God.”
The Bible explains that he sent his wife in secret. Jeroboam would not go himself because Shiloh was in the region of Judah. Jeroboam led the ten northern tribes to rebel against Judah and convinced them that it was not important to worship the presence of God in Judah. He figured it would be hypocritical to go to Judah to seek the God who dwelt in Judah by inquiring of His servant despite the things he had previously said and done. This is why Jeroboam sent his wife in his place and also told her to disguise herself. Jeroboam did not want the people to know that he was just as dependent on the Lord as everyone else is. Jeroboam knew the truth but wanted to hide it to make it seem as if his ways were sufficient to satisfy the circumstances of his life. Therefore, Jeroboam sent his wife while disguised to seek out Ahijah, the prophet of God, in hopes to receive God’s favor though he never sought God’s forgiveness, mercy, or even desired to know Him.
The prophet Ahijah was a completely different person than Jeroboam. The reason that Jeroboam sought Ahijah specifically was because Ahijah was the prophet that God used to tell Jeroboam that he would be king of the ten northern tribes of Israel. Jeroboam figured that since Ahijah had good news in their first conversation, he would provide good news about his ailing son in their second meeting. This was not so. Ahijah was not a man that committed himself to seeking the approval of men. Ahijah was a man that God used to proclaim His truth, regardless of how it was received by the people he spoke to. The Bible explains that when Jeroboam sent for Ahijah that he had aged to the point that he was blind. Thus, it might have seemed like Ahijah was ill-prepared for the deception of Jeroboam. Jeroboam was sending a woman that Ahijah didn’t know. The woman being sent was also going to be disguised. These are difficult circumstances for a blind man to act with wisdom. Nevertheless, Ahijah responded perfectly with God’s wisdom.
The Bible teaches that before the wife of Jeroboam arrived that God spoke to Ahijah to tell him what Jeroboam’s plan was. Though Ahijah was blind physically, he could see clearly spiritually. Notice that God prepared Ahijah to deal with the deception of those who opposed God by revealing truth. This means that Ahijah needed to be in constant communication with God. In order to be prepared for deception, one needs to be equipped with the truth BEFORE deception comes otherwise one is unable to discern the difference. If we don’t know what is true before the enemy tries to deceive, how can we compare the lies of the enemy with truth to know which way is right? The basis of Ahijah’s relationship didn’t start when he needed help. The help arrived to Ahijah before he needed it because he had a continuous and progressive relationship with the Lord. Ahijah was frequently listening to the Word of God.
Next, it is important to recognize that the Lord is Provider, but faith is required to exercise the Lord’s provision. God provided wisdom to Ahijah. He told Ahijah Jeroboam’s plan so that when Jeroboam’s wife arrived, Ahijah would know who it was, what he was supposed to do, and remain protected from the deception of the enemy. The Bible states that when Jeroboam’s wife arrived, Ahijah didn’t play any games. He trusted that the Word and declarations of the Lord concerning truth was real and sufficient to bring victory. When Jeroboam’s wife arrived, Ahijah immediately referred to her as Jeroboam’s wife, showing that he was not going to be deceived. Ahijah showed that, despite his physical condition, God had equipped him for the circumstances and he was not about to be lied to. Though Ahijah could not see physically, he could see the deception spiritually and immediately put Jeroboam’s wife on notice. Their plans were foiled immediately because Ahijah immediately repeated the things God told him. Ahijah believed God’s Word concerning the deception of Jeroboam and was bold to proclaim his knowledge that God provided. Ahijah didn’t wince or flinch at the possibility of being wrong about what God told him. He immediately stated that he knew Jeroboam’s wife was pretending to be someone else showing her that they could not fool God!
This is how God provides wisdom. Those who seek to know God receive the revelation of God’s essence as wise. We should gain wisdom as we receive the Word of the Lord that describes His essence. We must communicate with God, and since God in these last days speaks to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1), we must seek to know Him by His Word! When we seek to know the essence and characteristics of God by the Word, we learn the patterns of His work, and since He is truth and righteousness, we learn the patterns of truth and righteousness. We become familiar with His essence so that when deception comes along, we recognize a difference. When we know the person of God according to the declarations of His Word, we can see deception trying to pretend to be truth. However, this understanding is only helpful when we act in faith according to that understanding. Like Ahijah, we need to be willing to respond in faith boldly concerning the things God reveals to us of Himself according to His Word. God provides truth and wisdom, but it is only good to His people when it is exercised boldly in faith when we decide to do what He says is right according to His righteousness, and are willing to oppose darkness and deception to do so.
It is a sad truth, but a truth nonetheless, that many people simply don’t fear the judgments of God. God is supremely powerful above all things and proves it. People even attribute natural disasters to God as part of His judgment. Yet the vast majority of the world does not turn to God in repentance. The vast majority of the world simply continues in the idolatrous activity that was practiced before the declaration of judgment. For example, in the Book of Revelation, the Bible predicts that when God unleashes the increasing fury of His wrath upon the earth while dismantling all of the ideas, systems, and processes that people had grown accustomed to trusting in rather than God, most of the people in the world at that time will acknowledge God as the Author of the disaster, but will curse Him rather than repent! It might seem crazy, but this has been the habit of human beings since the beginning. Today is no different. While the world is progressively moving towards the Day of the Lord, things are happening that are causing fear, panic, frustration, and anger in many hearts – believer and non-believer alike. Nevertheless, churches are not being flooded with people seeking to repent and turn from their own ways in order to follow the righteousness of the Lord according to the clear standards of His Word. People are going about the business they were going about before: doing what seems right in the own hearts, figuring their effort, their words, and their opinions to be sufficient to create change, solution, and peace.
While many today are taking the “opportunity” to be a voice of reason that stirs the masses to peace, the cultural, political, and spiritual climate these days is not new. The Bible speaks of a time just like this to illustrate why mankind is in the wrong and God is in the right. In 1 Kings 13:33-34 the Bible summarizes the conduct of the later parts of Jeroboam’s life. The scriptures were clear to state that God was not pleased with Jeroboam’s conduct. Jeroboam was put in a position of authority and influence as God’s disciplinary tool against Israel for Solomon’s idolatry, and the willingness of the people to give into it so easily. However, as God told Jeroboam that he had an opportunity to flourish as a righteous king of the ten northern tribes of Israel if he were to do things God’s ways, Jeroboam decided he wanted to exercise the influence and authority God gave him for different purposes. Jeroboam wanted to remain in charge. Jeroboam wanted to increase his wealth and influence. Jeroboam wanted to live comfortably and liked the idea of being in charge of people. Thus, Jeroboam did what he felt he needed to do to ensure his new lifestyle was permanent. Fearing that if the people were to worship God in Jerusalem the people would reunite with the king of Judah (Rehoboam), Jeroboam made up his own worship, sacrifice, and feast days for the sake of “convenience” for the people. Jeroboam proposed his ways as a safer and easier ways to do the things God commanded, saving them time, money, and travel if the people lived far from Jerusalem where the temple was. The problem was that Jeroboam did not have the authority to do this, and made up idols to worship in place of the presence of God that filled the temple in Jerusalem. He told the people that the idols were the figures of God that delivered them from Egypt, and the people quickly adapted to Jeroboam’s leadership and followed him into abominations.
God quickly responded to Jeroboam’s wickedness. He sent a messenger to proclaim judgment, stating that a king from Judah (Josiah) would destroy all of the work of Jeroboam’s hands. God told Jeroboam that, even though Jeroboam created this false religion to keep people from God and the people of Judah, it would be God through the king of Judah that would destroy all of the altars and high places that Jeroboam created. Jeroboam didn’t like the sound of God’s judgment. Jeroboam didn’t like that God would deliver consequence for making up his own rules. Jeroboam didn’t like being told that he was wrong. Jeroboam didn’t like the idea that his ways weren’t equal to God’s and that God would actually bring judgment. Hence, Jeroboam lashed out according to his human nature in anger. Jeroboam reached out for the man of God that spoke the prophecy against him in order to detain and arrest him. However, God exercised His power to wither the hand and arm of Jeroboam on the spot. This freaked Jeroboam out of course and he immediately begged the man of God to plead to the Lord to heal his arm. The Lord exercised EXTRAORDINARY mercy and heeded the desire of Jeroboam and healed his arm. Though Jeroboam was worthy of death according to the Law, God provided mercy. This doesn’t mean that God was showing favoritism, but that He is patient in His judgment, providing ample opportunities for repentance in order that people should live rather than die.
Jeroboam was excited to have been restored and sought to pay back the man of God rather than thank the Lord who healed him. Jeroboam wanted to reward the messenger instead of submitting to the Author of the message. Jeroboam praised the tool of healing rather than the Healer. Jeroboam wanted to exalt and tend to the instrument God used to do His work rather than exalt the name of the Lord that showed great mercy and patience. Then, when the man of God left Jeroboam, the testimony of 1 Kings 13:33-34 explains that Jeroboam went back to doing the exact same things he was doing before all of this took place. Though Jeroboam had heard from a messenger of God that he would be judged, he kept going in the direction that was leading to judgment. Though Jeroboam saw the power of God when his arm was withered, he continued in his sin since the circumstances appeared to normalize. Though Jeroboam was show GREAT mercy by God when his arm was restored and his life was spared for the time being, Jeroboam continued to live in a manner that was offensive to God. The Bible does not state that Jeroboam considered God once. God proclaimed judgment and then proved that He is powerful enough to do it, but Jeroboam didn’t care. He didn’t fear God. He didn’t care about God. Jeroboam was so consumed with himself that he was able to keep on living ignoring God and His work as if it wasn’t real.
In addition, Jeroboam continued to wage spiritual war against the Lord. Not only did Jeroboam keep living his life in the same manner that got him in trouble, but the scriptures testify that he also began to appoint priests from every class of person. The Bible bluntly says that Jeroboam made it so that anyone that wanted to be a priest, could be a priest, and he consecrated them and appointed them as “holy people.” The scriptures proclaim that only God has the authority to ordain priests. The first priest mentioned in the Bible is Melchizedek in the Book of Genesis, which the Book of Hebrews later argues was an Old Testament manifestation of Jesus Christ – our Great High Priest. God later appointed the tribe of Levi to serve as priests in the same likeness and manner as Melchizedek. The priests were supposed to be men that were set apart by God as people appointed to special work that encouraged, enabled, and facilitated the worship of God through sacrifice. The priests were middle men that enabled the people of God to seek God; and since God is holy, the priests were supposed to be holy. Since Melchizedek, the first priest, was an Old Testament manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah, and the tribe of Levi was modeled after the ministry of Melchizedek, then the priests were supposed to live their lives as prophetic pictures of the Messiah Himself!
Jeroboam’s priests were intercessors unto idolatry. Jeroboam appointed any man or woman that liked the idea of looking spiritual and having influence and authority over others, and his appointments led to the worship of false gods and idols. Where scripture says that the true church of Jesus Christ should not be quick to ordain and appoint anyone and everyone into the ministry of teaching and leading, Jeroboam did not lead according to this command. Like the children of Israel that lived during the time of the judges, Jeroboam was simply doing what “seemed right” in his own mind rather than following God’s declarations of righteousness according to the Word. Jeroboam let the people do whatever they wanted, and even appointed himself as a priest. Though God gave Jeroboam influence, power, and authority to lead according to His righteousness, Jeroboam abused the gift that God gave to try and be God. He abused his power as king in order to make himself a priest. He came up with a false worship system and convinced the people that it was right and good because of the comfort and convenience that it offered. Though God promised to judge Jeroboam, he didn’t care, went about doing things the ways he thought would be successful, and tried to produce his own form of unity and peace. Sound familiar?
History shows that people can be pretty manipulative to get their way. Many times people have a desire and will say the things that need to be said – whether true or false – in order to get other people on their side, and ultimately get what they want. People often seek to use the weaknesses of others to control circumstances to be favorable for their personal and selfish ambitions. People will often pervert and corrupt truth in order to make it seem like their way is the right way, swaying others to agree with their personal and selfish ambitions. Though this is a common human habit, it is not a good one. This truth shows that human beings truly have wicked hears and will often do terrible things just to get their way. Many lives are ruined on account of the selfish ambitions of others. While the Lord told His people to love one another, He often disciplined His people because they acted selfishly in this sort of way rather than built each other up for spiritual purposes. The Bible is clear to show that this is not only problematic, but is candid to show that there is consequence for this.
It is important to recognize that God’s people should not be tools of temptation. Since God does not tempt and cannot Himself be tempted, then temptation should not stem from God’s people that should be living in the manner of His likeness according to His righteousness. This means that God’s people should not seek to persuade others out of God’s will in order to have their personal way appeased. God’s people should not seek to manipulate circumstances in order that their selfish desires would be realized. God’s people should be encouragers of others to do as the Lord commands. God’s people should exhort one another to endure the difficulties of obedience unto the glory of God. God’s people should sharpen and build up one another to do God’s will without compromise, not compromise to do mankind’s will at the expense of God’s glory. Yet the Bible shows that human habit is contrary to what God’s people should do.
This truth is made clear in the testimony of 1 Kings 13:20-32. This testimony documents a short-lived relationship between two men: one referred to as “man of God” and another referred to as an “old prophet.” The man of God was a man that God used as a messenger of His judgment towards Jeroboam. Jeroboam was a wicked king that created and stimulated the worship of false gods and idols in the ten northern tribes of Israel. God sent the man of God to proclaim His judgment, and also sent him with the command to abstain from eating bread, drinking water, and returning home in the same manner that he went. At first, the man of God was obedient. He went to Jeroboam and boldly spoke the words God gave him. Though Jeroboam tried to tempt the man of God to disobey the Lord, enticing the man of God with food, drink, rest, reward, and comfort, the man of God denied the temptation and made his way home.
However, the man of God was also approached by another man that was identified as an old prophet. This man also sought to tempt the man of God. Though the scriptures don’t explain why, the old prophet desired the man of God to come to his home and recline there. The old prophet also enticed the man of God with food, drink, rest, and comfort. Though the old prophet was supposed to have been a man that communicated God’s Word too, he lied to the man of God by saying that the Lord sent an angel to him, commanding the man of God to stay in the home of the old prophet to rest, eat, and drink. When the man of God heard the old prophet say that God sent an angel, the man of God believed the words of the old prophet at the expense of the clear commands God previously gave him. Not knowing the unchanging nature of God, the man of God assumed it was true that God changed His mind about His previous command, sent an angel to the old prophet, and communicated new orders to another person. Even though the Bible doesn’t show God work like this in other places of scripture, the man of God took his eyes off of the Lord, His righteous commands, and gave into the temptation of the old prophet.
The old prophet was successful to get his way. The old prophet lied and manipulated the circumstances to tell the man of God what he needed to hear in order that the old prophet would get what he wanted. The will of the old prophet proved to be costly for both himself and the man of God. As the two were reclining and talking, the Bible states that the Word of the Lord came to the old prophet to declare judgment against the man of God. The Lord exercised His sovereign control to communicate through an old prophet that proved himself to be a selfish liar and a tempter of God’s people. Though this seems unfair to the man of God to receive judgment from his tempter, it is more important to see that God has charge over anyone and everyone to accomplish His will. Perhaps equally as important, the Lord showed that He is not a respecter of persons. He will use whoever He desire to communicate His Word. He will use any vessel He wants at whatever time He wants. The quality of the vessel has no bearing on God’s ability to communicate His Word, whether it be encouragement, warning, or judgment.
Nevertheless, the man of God was judged. The Lord proclaimed that the man of God would be judged so that he would not be allowed to be buried in the grave of his fathers. The Lord would not permit the man of God to be buried according to the traditions of his people. This means that the death of the man of God would take place in such a manner that would communicate God’s judgment, and the restriction on his burial would continue to proclaim that message. The scriptures explain that the man of God ultimately left the old prophet’s house, and while on his way home, was attacked by a lion and killed. The lion ripped the man of God off his donkey and mutilated him. However, God again exercised His sovereign control as Creator to speak a message through the death of this man. The scriptures explain that the lion did not kill the man and respond according to his nature. Rather than eat the man or his donkey, the lion simply sat next to the dead man’s corpse. Likewise, the man’s donkey also remained. The image that onlookers witnessed was a corpse lying in the middle of a calm lion seated next to a donkey, both animals sitting peacefully.
Word quickly got around town about these events and eventually reached the ears of the old prophet. When the old prophet heard that a man died by the paw of a lion, but the lion and donkey remained in the manner that they did, the old prophet knew it was the man of God. Thus, the old prophet went out to confirm what he knew in his heart. After confirming the identity of the corpse, the old prophet was immediately consumed with regret. He took the body of the man of God and buried him in his own grave in his hometown. In this manner the prophecy of the Lord’s judgment was fulfilled, but the grief and regret was also communicated. The old prophet was willing to give up his own resting place to honor the life of the man of God. The old prophet felt terrible about how his selfishness served to tempt the man of God from his purpose and ultimately led to his death by God’s judgment. Though the Bible does not say that the old prophet repented, it does state that the old prophet lived miserably remembering how his selfishness led to the destruction of the life of a man of God.
The old prophet charged his kids to bury him in the same grave upon his death so that his bones would be laid to rest with the bones of the man of God. The old prophet knew that he was responsible for the death of the man of God. The old prophet knew that he was responsible for the destruction of the life of God’s servant. The old prophet knew that getting his way wasn’t really worth it in the end, and so was convicted to lay eternally with the man of God, sharing in the judgment that God ordained for His dead servant. Some have a hard time with this testimony since the old prophet seems to be let off the hook for his lies, manipulation, and tempting. However, it is important to separate the work that God does in this life from the work that God does in the next. The judgment and death of the man of God was brutal, violent, and public to shame the man of God in order to communicate a message to the rest of the people in Israel. As the man of God had not “kept the Lord’s command,” he had taken his eyes off of the Lord’s essence and glory, figuring God to be one to change His mind, deliberately give conflicting commands, and be less in value than bread, drink, and the comforts of this life. The rest of Israel was in the same spiritual condition. Thus, God sought to remind the people that there is consequence for such a manner of living, and since He is not a respecter of persons, used the life of His servant to communicate that message. The Bible does not teach that the man of God was condemned to hell, only used to proclaim a message of God’s supreme authority and glory through his death.
Likewise, though the old prophet was used as a tool of the devil to tempt God’s messenger and continued living, the Bible does not state that he was permitted into the kingdom of God. Instead, the scriptures show that he lived the remainder of this life with guilt and conviction. The eternal fate of both of these men is solely in the hands of the Lord who is just and righteous. Hence, the people of God should be clear to see that because God is sovereign and supremely in control of ALL things, He will respond against ALL forms of wickedness that stem from the hearts of ALL people. Those who seek to lie, manipulate, and tempt others in order to get their own selfish way by controlling the lives of others; getting them to believe God’s will is different than what He commanded; and seeking to provoke people out of the convictions God has placed on the heart; will suffer great consequence for destroying the lives of God’s people.
The Bible is clear to candidly document the flaws and faults of mankind. The Bible teaches that all fall short of the glory of God and provides amble historical evidence to prove that claim as true! However, many times the Bible reveals the source of mankind’s folly. For example, since most of the Bible deals with God’s relationship and work with the children of Israel, the Lord often reveals the means by which they ended up in ungodly situations. The Bible doesn’t just show the documentation of God’s proclamations of judgment in discipline against His people. The Bible also shows God explain why He disciplines His people; and that discipline and judgment was often on account of the leadership of His people. It is true that God pointed out the folly of the entire nation of Israel (though there was always a faithful remnant). Yet at the same time, the Bible clearly documents that the leadership of Israel was largely responsible. When God proclaimed to the children of Israel that He was going to judge them by sending the Assyrians and Babylonians to take them over, He was sure to explain His displeasure with the kings of Israel, the priests, and the elders. The people stumbled and fell into wickedness because the leaders who were entrusted as spiritual and civic leaders of the people used their authority for selfish gain rather than God’s purposes.
This reality shows that, sometimes, those who are trusted to be men and women who hope to be helpful in our pursuit of the Lord can often times be the chief source of temptation. Had the Jewish religious leaders not been so stuck in self-righteousness, the Jews likely would have received Jesus when He first came, recognized the “time of their visitation” and world history might have been MUCH different than as it stands now. The people trusted that the leadership, advice, and example of the Jewish religious leaders was motivated to connect the people with the Lord, which actually was contrary. Jesus revealed that the motives of the Jewish religious leaders were to lord over God’s people to build up their own sense of self-worth. These people did not lead to God, but were instead vessels of temptation that led away from God. Yet, this does not excuse those who followed and fell into that temptation. The Bible teaches that each individual is accountable to the Lord as an individual so that those who receive the revelation of God and learn His ways are accountable to learn how His ways and words might differ from the ways and words of those who lead into temptation, regardless of the “leadership” position they might have.
This example can be seen in the testimony of the man of God in 1 Kings 13:11-19. This portion of scripture documents the work that God did through a man He selected to communicate judgment to the wicked leadership of King Jeroboam. God was determined to use this man as His messenger, and being His messenger, required the man to obey certain commands in order that the authority he spoke with on behalf of God would be verified. Here it is important to note that those who carry the message of the Lord are required to live in a certain manner in order to maintain the integrity of the message and the One who sent it. Since this person was identified in the Bible as a “man of God,” this man was commanded to live as one coming from God. The Lord commanded this man to abstain from eating food in the region of the king since the people were sacrificing to idols and false gods, and likely dedicating that food to them. The man was to refrain from drinking water in the region of the king because the Lord wanted this man to trust Him for provision. Likewise, the man was not to spend any recreational time in the region of the king because God understood that bad company corrupts good morals. God did not want His messenger falling into the same darkness by the same means that Jeroboam did. Since this man was identified as a man “of God,” the Lord wanted him to be holy and separate from darkness and wickedness of every kind because God lives in the same manner. How can this man be “of God” if he lived according to his carnal surroundings?
The testimony of this man of God showed that he was tempted to disobey the commands of the Lord. Because this man proved to have a powerful relationship with the Lord God Almighty, Jeroboam sought to appease this man and bring him into his home. Jeroboam wanted to bribe the man of God to be his personal servant, likely pleading for the favor of Yahweh when it was convenient for his personal circumstances since that’s how Jeroboam used the man of God before. The man of God was stern in his conviction to obey the Lord and denied the king. The scriptures shows that the man of God was able to avoid the first test of temptation, but that test was soon followed up in a more clever package. The testimony of 1 Kings 13:11-19 shows that the word about the man of God and his interaction with Jeroboam go out quickly. There was a man that the Bible refers to as “an old prophet” that heard about how the Lord used this man of God and was determined to bring him into his home. The scriptures state that the old prophet sought out the man of God and tried to entice him.
When the old prophet found the man of God, he approached him and offered him the same things that Jeroboam did. The old prophet invited the man of God to recline in his home, eat bread, and drink water. The old prophet invited the man of God to enjoy the same refreshment and reward that Jeroboam did. The old prophet sought to bring the same kind of physical and circumstantial comfort that Jeroboam did. However, the man of God was sure to explain that he could not accept the offer. The man of God explained that the Lord commanded him to abstain from bread and water while in the region, and explained he was not able to return home in the manner than he went into the northern region. This is where the Bible is helpful to reveal the true nature of temptation. Though the man was referred to as “an old prophet,” the Bible shows that he was another source of temptation. First, it is important to note that when the old prophet is introduced, his title is presented in contrast to the title of “the man of God.” So, while the man might have been a prophet at one time, his identity as “old” had less to do with his age (though he might have been advanced in years), and more to do with the fact that he was unused as a prophet of God any longer. God’s Word might have went through this man at one time, but not any longer.
The scriptures explain that the “old prophet” sought to leverage his title to entice the man of God into being a part of his selfish ambitions. The old prophet said that, though the man of God knew God told him to follow certain commands, that God had sent an angel to the old prophet to communicate new orders. The old prophet claimed that God sent an angel to him to explain to the man of God that he would be permitted to enter into the old prophet’s home, eat, and drink. The scriptures are clear to state that this man was lying. The Bible plainly says, “He was lying.” Unfortunately, the man of God could not recognize the lie of the old prophet, trusted in the position of the man, and disobeyed God, following this old tempter into his house to recline. It is important to recognize the temptation that the man of God was faced with, the manner in which it came, and the reason that he fell into it. Notice that the temptation was the same as the first. God gave a command, and the second offer was the same in that the temptation called for the man of God to disobey God’s simple command. God told the man of God to proclaim a message and then leave his surroundings in a holy manner that was parallel God’s own holiness. Both forms of temptation came in the offer of comfort, increase, and compromise. Like when Satan tried to tempt Jesus to turn stones into bread, it seemed harmless that a hungry man should exercise His resources to survive and provide for Himself. Yet Jesus was clear to state that the true nature of one’s essence is not dependent on physical food, but spiritual nourishment in the Bread of Life! Though it might have seemed harmless to eat a little bread, drink a little water, and get some rest in a comfortable place after a job well done, those options were contrary to God’s commands and will.
Secondly, the temptation was relentless. When one attempt was insufficient to stumble the man of God, the enemy was sure to repackage the temptation in a different form. It was in essence the same trick, but covered in a different person. God’s purpose was to use a man to proclaim a decree of righteousness according to His judgments. The enemy’s purpose was to use a man to pervert God’s righteousness. When one man didn’t work, the enemy sought to use one that looked like one of God’s own people. Hence, it is true that the devil will sometimes present himself as an angel of light! The second tempter was a prophet at one point. It is assumed that as a prophet, he was a well-respected man that had integrity and honor. It was assumed that as a prophet, he had good intentions. The man even proclaimed that God visited him with an angel and was still sending messages. While the modern church today is confused and weak in many regards, we can look to the “teacher” and “preachers” that “lead” congregations throughout the world to see that they fit the mold of this tempter. There are many men and women that speak contrary to God’s righteous commands of holiness in order to gratify their own selfish ambitions, inciting disobedience to holiness and godliness because they proclaim to have received divine “new” instruction.
Notice that the man of God had already received a command from God. God’s will and purpose was already declared plainly. The man of God was not confused by God’s decree and order. The man of God was not troubled by God’s command. Yet this “old prophet” spoke in such a manner made God look confusing. This “old prophet” said that God didn’t really mean what He originally communicated and that he received divine orders that God changed His mind. This is where the man of God fell into temptation. Had he known that God does not change, he would have been sterner in his convictions to do what was originally commanded. Had the man of God understood the purpose of God’s commands in how they were a demonstration of His own holiness, the man of God would have recognized the lie of the old prophet. The man of God should have questioned within himself. Since when does God change His mind? Since when does the change of God’s mind reflect the complete opposite of what He first commanded? Why is God telling this person and not me directly? Why haven’t I been able to confirm this “new” command from God’s Word myself? In what way does this “opportunity” and “command” demonstrate the characteristics of the Lord, the patterns of His previous work, and facilitate His holy and righteous will? If we’re not willing to honestly deal with these things – no matter where the source of “advice” or “wisdom” is coming from – we risk following the commands of men and women who have selfish motives, and not the will of God.
Temptation is a difficult reality of life. Though God Himself does not temp, nor can He be tempted, He does exercise His sovereign control to allow people to be tempted. He allowed Eve to be tempted in the Garden of Eden, and that didn’t prove to have an effect that many would consider good. God allowed David to be tempted, and that didn’t work out well for him either. On the other hand, the Bible shows that Joseph, the son of Jacob was also tempted by Potiphar’s wife, but he was able to escape and avoid the trap. Yet still, Joseph was sent to prison, not for his folly into temptation, but his refusal to fall into it. The Bible shows that temptation is rough no matter which way you look at it. If a person falls into temptation, the results are bad. When a person is able to recognize the way of escape that the Lord provides to avoid the danger of a certain temptation, it seems that difficulty comes about anyway. Why does God do this?
The scriptures teach that Jesus was tempted in every way, and sinned not. This is explained in order that the impeccability of Jesus would be known. He was human and faced the same difficult choices that any human would face. He was tempted in every way that every human being is tempted. Yet He is unique as God in flesh because He never succumbed to the temptation that came His way. He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil himself while he was in a state of physical weakness and without help from those who might have been able to help Him. It was just the devil and the Lord Jesus; and the Lord Jesus proved that His righteousness is greater than the temptations of the devil! Additionally, the scriptures show that Jesus’ disciples also fell into temptation on account of the weakness of their flesh, but each was restored into the ministry, activated by the Spirit, and equipped to be a part of the Father’s plan to turn the world upside down with the distribution of the Gospel! In this we can see why the Father allows temptation: His power is magnified when His people exercise it to escape the traps of the enemy, thereby equipping them for the next difficult challenge in sanctification; His mercy is demonstrated as God works through the process of sanctifying His people.
The good news is that God is exalted in either circumstance of temptation. The same cannot be said of His people. When God’s people fall into temptation, while the Lord may exercise mercy overall, His people are still left to deal with the consequence of stumbling. Therefore, it is important for God’s people to recognize the varying form and patterns of the enemy’s work to tempt as provided in scripture in order that we would recognize the traps of darkness to avoid unnecessary struggle. The Bible is helpful to unveil the tactics of the enemy in 1 Kings 13:7-10. This portion of scripture documents the results of a man that set out to do the Lord’s work. When Jeroboam turned the ten northern tribes of Israel to an idolatrous system of false religion, God immediately responded with the proclamation of His coming judgment. The Lord sent a man simply referred to as “a man of God” to communicate His judgment against Jeroboam. The man of God was obedient to do as God commanded. The man of God boldly and bluntly stated the truths of God’s prophetic word to announce that Jeroboam’s efforts to turn the people from God would ultimately be foiled. God would destroy all of the works of Jeroboam later through Josiah, the king of Judah.
When Jeroboam heard the man of God speak, he was not pleased. He tried to detain the man of God, calling for his guards to arrest him. Additionally, Jeroboam reached out for the man of God to grab him, and when he did so, the Lord made Jeroboam’s hand wither. This freaked Jeroboam out to say the least! He quickly changed his tune regarding the man of God so that Jeroboam implored him to intercede to God in hopes that God would show mercy and restore his hand. The man of God complied and sought the Lord to see if He would restore Jeroboam. The Lord showed GREAT mercy and indeed restored Jeroboam’s hand fully, right there on the spot. Jeroboam suddenly desired to be a friend of the man of God. The testimony of 1 Kings 13:7-10 explains that Jeroboam invited the man of God to refresh himself with the king so that he could receive a reward. Jeroboam wanted to befriend the man of God suddenly and give him of his own riches. Jeroboam wanted to make the man of God comfortable and increase his position in life. Jeroboam wanted to give the man of God refreshment and reward. These are the temptations of the enemy.
Consider the reality and context of the full testimony. First and fundamentally, how could the man of God receive refreshment and reward for work that God did? Did the man of God restore the hand of Jeroboam? Did the man of God have the power to execute judgment and then the power to show mercy? Did the man of God have the authority to command elements of creation to take form one way or another? The man of God was so weak in his power and authority that he is not even given a name in scripture. He is a man, but God is God! The Lord is the One that had power and authority to communicate and execute judgment. The Lord is the One that had the knowledge and wisdom to recognize the wickedness of Jeroboam to begin with, and then proclaim events that would happen in the future. The Lord is the One that judged Jeroboam’s hand. The Lord is the One that had the authority to continue in judgment or show mercy, of which He elected to show mercy. The Lord is the One that had the power to immediately restore Jeroboam’s hand. The man of God didn’t do anything but repeat the Word of God and then call out to Him when His power was needed. God could have used anyone or anything to do this work. Thus, the man of God was not deserving of refreshment or reward.
The temptation that Jeroboam presented was difficult because of the manner in which it came, and the timing of the offer. The testimony of 1 Kings 13:7-10 explains that God had previously commanded the man of God to abstain from eating bread, drinking water, or returning home in the same manner. God did not want the man of God eating the bread or drinking the water of the king because the king was an idolater. The king was a man that sacrificed to idols and false gods. According to the Bible, the man was as antichrist, making all of his possessions and purposes corrupted and evil. As God is holy and separated from those things, He expected His servant and messenger to be the same, for what fellowship does God have with Belial? Jeroboam’s invitation was an invitation to fellowship, as much as it was an invitation to receive increase and comfort. It was not just that Jeroboam wanted to give the man of God stuff, but that he wanted the man of God to remain with him in order to get it. Jeroboam wanted the man of God’s time and presence. In the same manner that he desired to keep the children of Israel from worshiping God in the manner that God commanded, Jeroboam was tempting the man of God to do the same.
The Bible shows that bad company corrupts good morals. Thus, God commanded His people that we should not engage with people that live in darkness nor indulge in the things that they indulge in. The Apostle Paul taught that it is even shameful to speak of the things that are done in darkness, let alone participate in them in the fellowship of wicked people. The Apostle Paul also wrote that God’s people should be “simple concerning evil,” which means that God’s people should be IGNORANT of the things wicked people are doing. How can God’s people be ignorant of wickedness if they receive the invitations of wicked people to participate as partners in darkness? The man of God was being enticed by another man of position. The king was making the offer to engage and indulge. The king’s offer was a promotion and an “opportunity” to increase. Nevertheless, the command of God was clear. The man of God was NOT to rely on the provision of wicked people. The man of God was NOT to take pleasure in the things that wicked people possessed. The man of God was NOT to have fellowship or commonalities with ungodly people. Thus, any consideration of Jeroboam’s offer would have been compromise and disobedient to God’s blatant command.
Thankfully, the Bible shows that the man of God was obedient to God’s Word. It is possible for God’s people to escape temptation. The Bible documents the historical narratives of real people denying the alluring offers of ungodliness in order to do the simple things that God commanded in faith. Consider that the offer of Jeroboam did not seem immediately threatening. Should it be so bad that a hungry servant eat, or a thirsty one drink? Should it be so bad that a hard and diligent worker be promoted or get a bonus? The Bible shows that the man of God was careful to consider the source and the consequence. The source of provision was corrupted. The source of the increase was darkness. The source of the “opportunity” was ungodly. The man of God recognized that if he would have partaken in ANY facet of the king’s offer, it would have been in direct violation of the commands God gave. Therefore, he was unwilling to budge in compromise and remained obedient to the Lord God Almighty, leaving Jeroboam and his offers unfulfilled.
So, how does this work? Where was the power the man of God had to recognize and overcome this temptation in a manner that is duplicable by God’s people today? First, the Bible is sure to clarify the position of the man. While he was an expendable servant of the Lord God Almighty, he was identified as a man of God nonetheless. He was of the Lord. He was a servant, but God was his Master. He was a man that served as an instrument of God’s righteousness. Those who are not willing to submit to the purposes of God cannot exercise the power of God to escape temptation unto His glory. Secondly, the man knew who God was and valued His essence more than the offers of the world. Though the message that the man of God brought to Jeroboam put him in a position of danger to communicate, the man of God recognized the superior authority of God so that the threat of offending God presented greater fear in the man’s heart than offending some guy. The man of God knew that God was the God Most High so that the God’s commands took priority above ALL other things and threats. Lastly, the man of God valued God’s essence more than the king’s offers. The man of God plainly stated that he wouldn’t even go into Jeroboam’s house even though he hadn’t eaten or drank anything. The man of God trusted in the goodness of God and relished in the privilege of being used for His righteous purposes more than the fake “rewards” and “refreshment” that the ungodly world offers. If we don’t know who God is, the extent of His glory and goodness, and value those things more than anything else, how can we expect to deny the things the enemy sends our way as temptation intended to separate us from God?
The Bible shows that idolatry is one of the most severe issues in human life that God responds to with swiftness and severity. The first three commands of the Ten Commandments deal with idolatry. The Lord is God and there is no other. Thus, any other subject or object that is revered more than God in someone’s heart offends God. People are not offered forgiveness, redemption from the bondage of sin, and escape from death by human philosophies, ideas, creative designs, programs, or manufactured items. God alone is supreme in His authority to deal with spiritual matters of life and death, and when people put other things in His place in their lives, God is not pleased. The Bible shows that God will respond to these things to make Himself known, thereby giving each person a chance to respond either in repentance from said idolatry, or continue on unto death.
The swiftness and severity of God’s response against idolatry can be seen in the testimony of Jeroboam. In 1 Kings 13:1-6 the Bible testifies that God immediately responded against the actions of Jeroboam. Being afraid to lose his authority and health, Jeroboam made efforts to distract the ten northern tribes of Israel from God’s commands concerning worship. Jeroboam feared that if the people continued worshiping God according to His commands, they would reunite with the two southern tribes, submit to Rehoboam as king, and deny him ultimately. Therefore, Jeroboam made efforts to keep the people from worshiping God by making up his own religious system. He sought to mimic the commands of God, making it seem as if his ways were equal to the ways of God. He made altars like those that existed at the temple. He made idols that were supposed to be representative of God, and proclaimed that the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt by the power of those idols rather than God Himself. Jeroboam appointed priests that weren’t Levites, and made up holy days that were to be celebrated on the same days as God’s actual holy days. Within a short period of time, Jeroboam had the ten northern tribes of Israel living lives dedicated to false religion and idolatry that paralleled the conduct of antichrist. God was not pleased.
The testimony of 1 Kings 13:1-6 explains that God quickly sent a prophet to Jeroboam to warn him and speak judgment against his actions. The man of God went to Jeroboam to find him standing by one of the altars that he built, giving an incense offering to his fake god. This detail is important to recognize, seeing that Jeroboam was committing the very sin God was judging while he was being warned of God’s judgment. Clearly God was in the right to make His proclamation against Jeroboam. Jeroboam’s sin was not a seasonal thing that he quickly turned from. Jeroboam’s sin was his new way of life. In his effort to hoard the authority God entrusted to him, Jeroboam not only sought to keep the children of Israel from God, but did so by leading the people away from God in his own journey of departure. For this reason, the prophet that God sent cried out emphatically against Jeroboam, seeing the darkness of his sin as he was sent to speak against it. When the man of God spoke against Jeroboam, he spoke with great conviction and boldness.
When the prophet of God spoke to Jeroboam, he declared that Jeroboam’s efforts to make a false religion would be destroyed. Though Jeroboam made great efforts and invested a ton of energy and resources into the manufacturing of his self-righteous worship process, God proclaimed that it wouldn’t last and that He would ensure its destruction. God even mentioned the name of the man He would use later to destroy the works of Jeroboam’s hands. The Lord prophesied that he would send a man named Josiah from the tribe of Judah to destroy the altars and high places that Jeroboam had built. God explained that the false religious worship system that Jeroboam would not last, and that God alone had the authority to ensure such judgment. In addition, the wicked men that would be alive at the time of Josiah would be killed and their bones burned upon the burial place of Jeroboam himself! God even provided a sign at that very moment to validate and certify His judgment as true. The prophet of God told Jeroboam that in order to prove that God’s judgment was true, the very altar that Jeroboam was worshiping on would immediately split in half, and all of the ashes that were being offered to his fake god would fall upon the ground as dirt.
The Bible testifies that immediately after the prophet spoke these things that Jeroboam grew angry. He stretched out his hand to try and grasp at the prophet and commanded that the prophet be arrested. Clearly the Bible shows that mankind has an issue with the decrees of God’s judgment. People don’t like hearing that God is right and we are wrong. People don’t like hearing that there is consequence for our offense against God. People don’t like hearing that the efforts of our lives will crumble and burn in the end should they oppose God’s ways. People don’t like hearing that God is truly supreme and we are but dust of the earth. Then, in typical human fashion, Jeroboam thought he could rebel against God by detaining God’s messenger. Jeroboam felt himself strong enough to contend with the Lord God Almighty, but found out very quickly that he was nothing. The scriptures testify that as Jeroboam stretched out his hand to detain the prophet, his hand immediately withered and became stuck in the air. He could not grasp God’s messenger. He was immediately unable to perform a simple action using the hand he had used to build idols that symbolized the evil desires of his flesh. The true nature of his crippled identity was dramatically revealed. Jeroboam, as is the case with any human being, cannot contend with God.
Needless to say, Jeroboam freaked out! Seeing his hand wither, he froze in terror, and at that moment, watched the altar to his false god split down the middle and the ashes fall upon the floor just like the prophet of God said! God’s power and authority was validated and confirmed, and Jeroboam could not deny it. He immediately called out for the help of the prophet. Jeroboam didn’t repent, but did implore the prophet to plead with God on his behalf. Jeroboam would not repent on his own to turn to God, but instead referred to the Lord as the prophet’s God, seeking for him to intercede to God. Jeroboam did not care to know the God of Israel himself. Jeroboam did not fear God enough to humble himself before God. Jeroboam simply was frightened by the circumstances that God orchestrated and wanted the Lord to change them back as if he was dissatisfied with a magician’s trick.
This is where the Lord God Almighty reveals the amazing extent of His glory. The sin of Jeroboam was worthy of the judgment God proclaimed. The continued rebellion of Jeroboam would have made God just to outright destroy and kill Jeroboam on the spot. God was right to judge Jeroboam by crippling his hand, but when the prophet pleaded with God on behalf of Jeroboam to restore his hand, God actually responded! God actually restored Jeroboam’s hand on the spot to be as it was before! God did not seek to destroy though Jeroboam was wicked. God did not seek to shame even though God was right. God’s response to the pitiful condition of Jeroboam was mercy. Though a child of Israel, Jeroboam didn’t know who God was, which was why he referred to God as the prophet’s God and not his own. Jeroboam had indulged so much in the affections of his flesh that he could not recognize or see the value of God as light. Thus, God pitied Jeroboam and showed him mercy. This does not mean that Jeroboam was forgiven of his sins. The Bible does not state that. God would still exact His judgment as confirmed in the testimony of 2 Kings 23:15. Nevertheless, God was not just powerful to show His ability to judge, but also His willingness to restore – even those who are wicked. And while Jeroboam would not seek the Lord’s forgiveness, the willingness and power of God displayed to restore Jeroboam’s hand shows that He is willing to offer restoration to those He knows will reject it. This is power! This is glory! This is goodness! This is the Lord God Almighty, and it has been historically confirmed that there are none like Him – especially in this regard!
While the world is on high alert about the frailty of life on account of natural disasters taking place throughout, Jesus commanded His people to pay attention to something else to gage the nearness of His return. The Lord Jesus explained that the chief characteristic of the Last Days would not be natural disasters, terrorist attacks, aligning nations against Israel, chip technology or anything media-driven facet of modern culture. No, Jesus taught that the chief characteristic of the Last Days would be the increase in false teaching concerning His identity and purpose. Then, when the Apostle John, the Apostle Peter, the Apostle Jude, and the Apostle Paul wrote about the Last Days, they agreed with and confirmed that false teaching concerning the identity, purpose, and promises of Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah would be the chief concern. The Bible teaches that many will come in His name, but will deceptively lead many people away from the Lord. The Bible teaches that many will cause doubt in the supremacy of the authority of God’s Word, but from within the church. The Bible teaches that many will proclaim to be servants of the One True Living God, but not resembling His characteristics in any form, seeking to gratify their own selfish desires rather than die to self to serve the spiritual needs of others, which is the character of God as exemplified through Jesus.
This is the chief problem because it has always been the chief problem. Before God flooded the world in judgment the Bible explains that the people of the earth denied God and His righteousness, doing what seemed right in their own selfish minds and hearts so that the world was riddled with violence, sexual immorality, and an affection and connection to spiritually dark activities. They denied God’s essence as light and pursued affections to be connected to darkness. Soon after God judged the world with the flood and the people began to repopulate the earth, the Bible again testifies that mankind sought to exalt themselves according to their own selfish desires rather than follow God. They built up a temple to reach into the heavens to celebrate and exalt the perseverance and achievements of humanity as they pulled together as one to rebuild themselves. They did not obey God’s command to fill the earth and subdue it. They did not recognize God’s authority. They instead figured themselves to be equal with God, having the power to make their own rules and own sense of righteousness apart from God, figuring that there would be no consequence. God then saw the hearts of the people and judged them again by confusing the language and scattering the people abroad as He determined.
The Bible clearly shows that there is a problem with the human heart and will. It is naturally contrary to God, so that people have a natural desire to do what we feel is right without any consideration for God’s true righteousness. History shows that people go great lengths to make up things as we go, redefining what righteousness actually is. We don’t consider God in our thinking so that we seek to mimic His work without seeking Him to do it, and then celebrate our efforts as we go. This is the spirit of antichrist as the Bible explains it. The Bible teaches that this is the heart of Satan himself. It is no wonder that Jesus – God in flesh – looked at the religious leaders that were in power while He walked the earth and referred to them as children of the devil! Thus, Jesus’ teaching about the Last Days simply explained that, as time goes on towards the moment of His return, people will work harder to pervert and corrupt His ways in order to gratify their own flesh. People will seek to exercise the authority of God, even in His name, in order to validate their own wicked and selfish desires while blaspheming the truth identity, purposes and promises of the One True Living God. This is why Jesus will bring natural disasters upon the earth such as have never been seen. So while some fear the natural disaster events, according to the Bible, the world hasn’t seen anything yet! Instead, we should fear the amount of false teaching and the numbness to true righteousness that is evident in the world.
The Bible also teaches that this is not the first time this has happened. Therefore, we can look at history to see how God responds to the self-righteous and prideful characteristics of mankind. For example, in 1 Kings 12:25-33 the Bible testifies of the sin of Jeroboam. Recall that Jeroboam was a man that was once revered for his faithful service unto Israel. He was a diligent worker according to the job that King Solomon appointed him to do, and was promoted as a result of his diligence. At the same time, Jeroboam was the tool that God was determined to use to exact judgment against Solomon for his idolatry. God told Solomon to abstain from the worship of idols and false gods, but desiring to have relationships with wicked women rather than obey God, Solomon got into the wicked habits of the women he brought into his life. The people were equally as wicked so that when Solomon began to use the Lord’s resources to build altars for false gods, the people quickly worshiped false gods on those altars. Therefore, God decreed that He would divide the kingdom of Israel in half as a reflection of the hearts of His people being divided against Him. The hearts of the people were split in two – recognizing God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but also worshiping other gods that were representative of their selfish and wicked desires. God sought to use Jeroboam to lead and cause this split between the kingdom.
When God selected Jeroboam, He gave Jeroboam an opportunity to succeed and please Him. God told Jeroboam that He would be in charge of the northern ten tribes of Israel, and that if he would serve God exclusively according to the Law, Jeroboam would flourish as the king of the northern tribes. However, Jeroboam did not heed the words of God. As soon as Jeroboam was given the chance, Jeroboam proved that he was equally as sinful as any other person. The testimony of 1 Kings 12:25-33 explains that Jeroboam had reasoned in his heart that if the people decided to reunite with the people of Judah, they would worship God at the temple in Jerusalem, submit to Rehoboam as king of Israel, and then seek to kill him for the leader of a rebellion. Jeroboam was afraid, and attributed the worship of God at the temple in Jerusalem as the catalyst of possible tragedy to his personal affairs. Therefore, Jeroboam sought to deal with this matter to keep people from worshiping according to the will of God in order to preserve his own authority as king of the ten northern tribes, and protect the integrity of his own purposes and fleshly desires.
The Bible explains that Jeroboam leveraged his authority with the specific purpose of mimicking God’s worship system in order to keep the people from God Himself. Jeroboam wanted to keep the people with him, not God. Jeroboam set up two places of worship and built two idols of calves for the people to worship. He even went so far as to bluntly blaspheme the name of the Lord by saying, “Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” Jeroboam actually pointed to manmade figures as the Creator of the heavens and the earth that delivered the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt. Jeroboam pointed to the manufacturing and accomplishments of people as equal to the redemption and deliverance of God. Jeroboam pointed to the statues of cattle that represented the fleshly affections and “needs” of the people and convinced them that they were equal to the glory of God that manifested His holiness and righteousness through the presence of the cloud and the giving of the Law.
The Bible shows that Jeroboam didn’t stop there. When he built up these false places of worship that were built around idols, he also appointed his own priests that were not from the tribe of Levi. He ordained feast days that fell on the same days as God’s feast days. He made up his own sacrificial system and encouraged the people to give offerings that seemed familiar to the Law, but were manmade, centered on idol worship, and were specifically constructed to KEEP people from the One True Living God! Jeroboam was able to pull this off with clever deception. He presented this false religion and worship system as being equal to the one that God authored according to the Law, but in a more convenient fashion. He convinced the people that it was a burden to travel all the way down to Jerusalem to worship God. Therefore, his system was a solution to provide a more convenient means of worship. Jeroboam was a “peoples man.” He wanted to make the lives of the people simpler and more comfortable so he incited division. He wanted to make the lives of the people good and pleasurable without strain and challenge so he invented his own religious worship, feast, and sacrifice system that seemed to be like the one God gave. These are the same issues that the world is faced with today, but in much greater volume!
The essence of the problem is that Jeroboam was determined to keep people from God by competing with Him. The efforts of his own hands were identified as the means by which the people were saved. Suddenly a man’s contributions to religious worship was equal to God’s work as Savior. Jeroboam appointed priests to administrate and encourage “worship” but in places that God never authorized, in ways that God directly opposed. Jeroboam didn’t leverage the people that God appointed, but instead took it upon himself to figure his authority as equal to God. He strayed from the clear and documented declarations of God’s righteous orders and commands to do his own thing. Having understanding that God already appointed the proper way to worship Him, Jeroboam directly opposed God’s Word to satisfy the desires of his own heart. The feast days that Jeroboam created were celebrated on the same days that God appointed His own feast days in order that the people would not have the opportunity to do things God’s ways. Jeroboam convinced the people that his own ways were God’s ways even though Jeroboam’s ways were intended to keep people from God! That was the plan and the mission, and it worked!
This testimony goes to show that, no matter the person or the time that they live in, mankind has a natural desire to directly oppose God to do what seems right and good to us. We will do whatever it takes to convince ourselves that our ways are right and good, and even try to package darkness as light in order to validate our sin. The reason that false teaching will be so rampant and successful in the Last Days is because the Bible teaches that the hearts of people will grow dull and numb to His true essence according to His Word. Our desire to do what we want will be so uncontrollable that we will be willing to live in darkness as if it is light. It is one thing to consider the evil of Jeroboam as a form of antichrist long before that word is mentioned in the Bible. It is another thing to see how quickly the people in the ten northern kingdoms embraced and approved of Jeroboam’s false religion. If the people had truly been seeking the true God before Jeroboam, would they have embraced a false one so quickly? Thus, the prosperity of Israel before Solomon’s death was NOT a testament to the “righteousness” or approval of the people. The prosperity of any people does not assure spiritual maturity since the material prosperity of Israel quickly turned into spiritual depravity that separated them from the One True Living God. This is a problem that has far longer lasting consequences than any natural disaster. This is a supernatural disaster…
The Bible teaches that none are righteous, no, not one. This is important to understand when examining God’s judgment and disciplinary methods in the Bible. Sometimes there is a tendency to see the work that God does in judgment and figure that the tools God uses as disciplinary instruments are selected by the merits of their righteousness, as if their goodness qualified them to be used in this manner. This is not so. Consider that God used the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans as disciplinary tools against the children of Israel, and these nations were all pagan. Consider that even Habakkuk contended with God and wondered how God would use the people of Babylon as disciplinary tools seeing how wicked they were compared to the children of Israel. Thus, the utilization of a person in the hand of God does not reflect whether or not God sees them as righteous or not. God looks for faith and accounts it to a person as righteousness. Thus, the Bible shows that God uses both the faith and the unfaithful as tools of disciplinary correction.
It is important to recognize this dynamic as it relates to Israel’s history. For example, in 1 Kings 12:16-24 the Bible describes the split between the northern and southern kingdoms in Israel; and this split lasted for almost eight hundred years! There is a tendency to examine the foolishness of Rehoboam to heed the poor advise of his peers to oppress the children of Israel as justification for the rebellion of the northern kingdom. However, the Bible describes that the northern kingdom and their leaders were equally as foolish. It is true that Rehoboam denied the Lord and the opportunity he had to demonstrate the characteristics of Christ through his service to the people. It is true that Rehoboam made a foolish decision to pursue the desires of his own heart, arranging an audience that would simply tell him the things he wanted to hear in order to validate his opinions and personal desires. It is true that Rehoboam was wicked for doing these things. Yet it is also true that the people in Israel that rebelled against Rehoboam’s foolishness were wicked too.
Recall that the ultimate reason that God divided Israel was an act of discipline against Solomon and the idolatry that he festered among the children of Israel. However, the means by which God disciplined Solomon revealed that all of Israel was guilty of Solomon’s sin. All of Israel had turned their eyes from the Lord unto their own selfish ambitions. All of Israel was discontent with the extent and quality of the Lord’s provision. All of Israel lived according to the spirit of self-entitlement, figuring they should receive more for doing less. Therefore, while Rehoboam made a mistake in rejecting his opportunity to serve the people, the people weren’t suffering to a degree that required exhaustive assistance or relief from the king. The people were in a season of tremendous increase, peace, and rest, yet they desired more, and Jeroboam was the man they followed to get more as he voiced the general sentiment of Israel’s self-centered idolatry. This is why God divided the kingdom. The division of the kingdom was reflective of the hearts of the people divided from God.
The testimony of 1 Kings 12:16-24 reveals the true heart condition of the northern tribes. Their rebellion was the work of the Lord, but their motives for it were not valid and just. They were not oppressed like they said. They were not overworked like they accused. They were not suffering greatly as they proposed. When given the chance, the people showed that they were equally as dirty as Rehoboam. Upon hearing Rehoboam’s decree that he would not give into the desires of the people to “lighten the workloads,” the people quickly determined in their minds that they would separate. Like spoiled brats, when the people didn’t get their way, they threw tantrums and wanted to run away. They did not exercise righteousness and submit to God’s appointment of the king. Though Israel had demanded a king from God three generations before, and God gave them a king, suddenly the people did not like God’s provision because it didn’t match their personal desires. The northern tribes that followed Jeroboam agreed that they would separate from Rehoboam and the region of Judah in order to be their own nation. That which God determined to be one, they desired to make two. Though God put it into the hearts of these people, these desires were not in line with the original will of God. This shows that God’s discipline was simply the manipulation of circumstances to show the true hearts of wicked people pretending to be righteous.
To make matters clearer about the wickedness of the people of the northern tribes, the Bible explains that the people quickly became violent and murderous. King Rehoboam heard about the division of the northern tribes and so he made efforts to gather his financial resources that Solomon had placed throughout Israel. He sent a man named Adoram to lead this effort, but the people of the northern kingdom took it upon themselves to stone Adoram to death. Adoram was simply a man following orders from his superior, and yet his life was taken. The people of the northern kingdom saw it fit to murder their own brethren in order to gain leverage and power to get their way. It is true that God judged Israel by dividing the kingdom and used the leadership of Jeroboam to split the kingdom, but the hearts of the people were clearly hardened and dark. The people were not living for the things of God according to the righteousness of God. Though the northern kingdom was used as a tool of disciplinary action from God, they could have continued to follow God’s laws and demonstrate righteousness as a separate kingdom. They did not do so. Instead, they quickly revealed that their separation from the region of Judah and leadership of Rehoboam was on account of wicked and selfish motives that provoked some to commit murder against their own people – the people of God.
When Rehoboam heard of this situation, he quickly began to assemble an army to fight against the northern kingdom. Rehoboam recruited the tribe of Benjamin to side with him and together they amassed one hundred eighty thousand warriors to fight against the northern kingdom. However, before they had the chance to attack, the Lord spoke to one of his prophets, a man named Shemaiah, and told Rehoboam to stand down. Even though Rehoboam wanted to fight in order to try and reunite the kingdom, God told Rehoboam to accept his circumstances. Though the situation appeared to be wrong because the kingdom was divided, God explained that he was disciplining His people. Their conduct towards one another proved that His discipline was valid. Had God not intervened at that time, no one would have consulted with God concerning His will and purposes. Everyone was beginning to live according to the manner while Israel was led by judges – according to the way that seemed right to each person, not God. God commanded Rehoboam to embrace and endure the difficulty of His discipline because they were deserving of it. The conduct of both Rehoboam and the leadership of Jeroboam proved God to be right in His judgment, thus showing that both were deserving of hardships. Neither was right in the eyes of God so that the tool God used to discipline was also deserving of the same discipline being distributed. Such is true of all people.
One of the common misconceptions about pride in the Bible is that “pride” is simply when a person boasts of their own abilities or outwardly rejects God to do their own thing in a way that is obviously blasphemous. However, the scriptures show that pride is far subtler. Nevertheless, regardless of the extent of subtly in pride, it’s affect is always equally as dangerous. No matter “how much” pride a person may feel they may or may not be showing, God always resists the proud. There isn’t a qualifying statement to the proclamation of truth that teaches that “God resists the proud” as if He beings to resist when we reach a certain extent of pride. Where there is any form or extent of pride, there is distance from God. Therefore, as God’s people, we should be wise to seek God’s revelation to recognize the many faces of pride and repent from them all, understanding the dangers that are attached at all times.
The testimony of Rehoboam shows a clear demonstration of pride even though the word “pride” is never mentioned in the testimony. Consider the reality that many people get involved in situations where they have their minds made up about a certain situation or set of circumstances, so that the information or “advice” that may be sought is really the manipulation of data to validate a decision that has already been made in the mind. In other words, as human beings, we have the tendency to determine right from wrong in our own minds before we possess the required wisdom to make such a distinction, so that we pursue information and options that seem to line up with our determination rather than genuinely righteous wisdom. For example, many times when Christians hear the blunt declarations of God’s wisdom and righteousness according to the Word, when such wisdom contradicts a personal opinion based on personal preference or desire, it is common to hear the natural response, “Yeah, but…”
This is a clear indication that pride is in the midst. We are not willing to humbly seek the revelation to truth, wisdom, and righteousness according to God, but have already made up our minds as to what should be done so that we manipulate the circumstances to validate our decision, making it seem as if the outcome will be better than what we know deep down. Rehoboam had this same issue and revealed it very early in his kingship. In 1 Kings 12:6-15 the Bible shows that Rehoboam had to deal with a real dilemma early in his reign. His father Solomon was dead, but the kingdom of Israel had grown accustomed to the king leading according to the profoundly superior wisdom of God. No one had wisdom like Solomon, and Rehoboam was expected to follow that tradition. Though Solomon was wise, he became an idolater later in life, and led the children of Israel to do the same. Therefore, God prophesied that He would judge Israel by dividing the kingdom after Solomon’s death to show an illustration of the division of the people’s hearts: the hearts of the people divided from God by idolatry.
When Solomon died, the man God selected to instigate this division took his queue. Jeroboam was a man that was originally promoted by Solomon, but when Solomon heard about God’s judgment, sought to kill Jeroboam in hopes to rid of God’s judgment. Solomon was obviously unsuccessful so that Jeroboam fled to Egypt; but upon hearing of Solomon’s death, returned to Israel and began to stir up the people. Jeroboam became a tool that God used to expose the true hearts of the children of Israel. Though the children of Israel that lived during the reign of Solomon lived in TREMENDOUS prosperity, peace, and rest, Jeroboam provoked the people to complain. The people united with Jeroboam against Rehoboam, making demands to make life simpler. They accused Solomon of being a harsh taskmaster, which he wasn’t. They accused Solomon of making life too difficult, which it wasn’t. Though the people enjoyed the benefits of God’s increase, they were dissatisfied with it and wanted more for doing less. The people gave Rehoboam an ultimatum and demanded that their accountability and responsibility be lessened or else they would rebel against him. Rehoboam processed the information and asked for three days to make a decision.
In that time, the testimony of 1 Kings 12:6-15 shows that Rehoboam took three days to stall in order to find an audience that would comply with the desires he had all along. Rehoboam first approached the counselors and elders that helped his father Solomon. These were men with experience that served the king already. These were men that were privileged to assist and serve the man that had the greatest wisdom known to mankind. They were men that had an opportunity, not only to serve Solomon, but learn the wisdom of God through Solomon. They had an understanding of God’s declarations of right and wrong according to the Law, and were in a position to learn the patterns of God’s righteousness through His administration of the king in Israel. It was good that Rehoboam went to these men to try and gain wisdom to make a decision equal in wisdom that God would provide. However, Rehoboam was discontented and discouraged by the wisdom he actually received.
When Rehoboam went to the elders, they advised Rehoboam to serve the needs of the people. Here it is important to note that the elders did not say to give into the demands of the people, but instead, serve their needs. They did not advise Rehoboam to do whatever to please the people, but instead to exercise his position of authority to become a servant of all. Rehoboam wasn’t necessarily supposed to make life easier for the people, but was told to answer them according to need (not desire), serve those needs, and then encourage them in their work. In other words, Rehoboam was to display the characteristics of Christ. Though Jesus came as the King of kings, He took the form of a bondservant to serve the spiritual needs of all people. Jesus humbled Himself even to the point of death according to the will of the Father, so that those who believe upon Him, might be saved, and live according to the hope of His resurrection. Jesus didn’t serve His own needs. It would have been beneficial for the flesh of Jesus to exercise the judgment He had the authority to exercise, preserve His own health, and condemn those who rejected Him. He would have had the right to do so. However, Jesus instead became a servant, got into the trenches of the lives of others at the expense of His own comfort and luxury, and did what needed to be done to save the lost and encourage the redeemed. This meant that Jesus had to sacrifice since He came as the Creator yet did not have a place to lay His head. Nevertheless, He embraced His cross and the purpose that it would serve as a Servant to the will of the Father unto His glory.
The wisdom that Rehoboam received was parallel to this truth. Had Rehoboam done according to the words that the elders provided, he would have demonstrated the character and nature of Christ in a beautiful prophetic picture. However, Rehoboam was not interested in service. Rehoboam was not interested in dying to himself for the needs of others. Rehoboam was not interested in encouraging people in their work. Rehoboam was more interested in being treated like a lord, and exercising authority for his own personal and selfish gain. Therefore, even though he sought the wisdom of the elders, he reached out to his own peers for more advice. Here it is important to note how human tendency is to reject the “wisdom” of God in exchange for the “advice” of those who would agree with us. The scriptures declare that Rehoboam denied the words of the elders, likely seeing their wise words as outdated or too traditional. He instead sought the advice of people his age. The scriptures twice state that Rehoboam sought out men that he had grown up with – his peers. He didn’t care for wisdom. He wanted to hear words that matched his own thinking. Feeling his thinking was sufficiently good, Rehoboam wanted to hear opinions that validated that belief. This is pride.
The peers of Rehoboam gave poor advice, but it was in line with what Rehoboam desired to begin with. The peers of Rehoboam told him to be a harsh ruler and threaten the people with more intense labor as an actual taskmaster. Since Rehoboam wasn’t interested in being a servant, this advice sounded good to him and this is what he determined to do. After three days of time, Jeroboam returned with the people and Rehoboam communicated his desire to be harsh towards the people. Rehoboam was never interested in doing what was right according to the Word and will of God. Rehoboam felt that his initial instinct and desire was sufficiently good so that he not only found others to agree with him, but exercised the authority that God entrusted to him to promote his own selfish desire. This is what pride looks like. When people are unwilling to consider that the natural affections and thoughts of all people are wicked like scripture says, determine in our own minds and hearts that our instincts and desires are good and seek to find the wisdom of the world to validate that though, no matter how much it opposes the wisdom of God communicated by His Word, we are living in pride like Rehoboam.
Unfortunately, the pride of Rehoboam caused Jeroboam to respond according to his initial threat. Israel was divided. Jeroboam led a rebellion against Rehoboam because Rehoboam refused to humble himself to serve the spiritual needs of the people. He instead wanted to be harsh against the people, and the people, also responding in sin, felt entitled to a certain quality of life so that they rebelled against the hierarchy of God to get what they wanted too. These circumstances show that neither side was righteous. The testimony of 1 Kings 12:6-15 ends by reminding readers that all of these things happened according to the prophetic proclamation of God, according to His will and purpose to discipline the people. Since both sides were wrong, conducting themselves according to the selfish desires of their self-righteous and self-entitled flesh, ignoring the wonderful provision of God, the idolatry that the Bible mentions is revealed as selfishness. The people had built their own desires as gods and fashioned idols that merely represented the selfish and prideful desires of their own hearts. God’s discipline was sufficient to reveal this truth, and the extent of His discipline to divide the whole nation was sufficient to show that the hearts of the people were already divided as each one did what seemed right in their own hearts – not God’s. Hence, His judgment was right and true.
The work of God’s judgment is always perfect to accomplish two things. First, God’s judgments are always perfect to exact proper and fair discipline against those who reject God’s grace. Secondly, God’s judgments are always perfect to reveal the true hearts of those being disciplined so that the things God sees of the heart that cause Him to discipline are put on clear display for all to see, thereby proving Him blameless in His judgments and the extent of them. This is an amazing characteristic that God shows He uniquely has all throughout the scriptures! Who else but God is able to discipline entire nations according to the unrighteousness and unbelief that He is able to see in the hearts of men and women, do so with perfect restraint so that His judgment is never excessive, and at the same time, the spiritual nature of what He sees is somehow put on display in public fashion? This is why God is glorified, not only in the offer of His mercy and grace in salvation, but also in the declaration and administration of His judgments. Both God’s salvation and judgments are good because both reveal the unique qualities, attributes and characteristics of the One True Living God!
This truth is made clear in the testimony of Israel after the death of King Solomon. In 1 Kings 12:1-5 the Bible shows that God made quick efforts to fulfill His words of judgment against Solomon. Since Solomon had become idolatrous in his final years of life, God pronounced judgment against Israel to divide the kingdom. God selected Jeroboam as the one He would use to lead a rebellion, and then offered Jeroboam an opportunity to rule as king so long as he would do so righteously according to God’s commands. Many feel that God’s judgments against all of Israel were unfair since it is Solomon’s idolatry that was revealed in the Bible. Solomon was the one that engaged with women he was supposed to separate from according to the Law and God’s personal warnings. Solomon was the one that bought into their pagan lifestyles. Solomon was the one that brought the worship of false gods into his own home. Solomon was the one that misused God’s resources to build up altars and other high places for these false gods. Why would all of Israel be divided for Solomon’s sin?
The testimony of 1 Kings 12:1-5 explains that God’s judgment to bring division in the land revealed the hearts of Israel, thus showing that Solomon was not the only one with a wicked heart. Though it is true that Solomon worshiped false gods and built altars to idols, it is also true that the rest of Israel followed his lead. The work that God did to begin His judgments was sufficient to show that the people were dissatisfied with God, His provision, and their circumstances. The people were willing to embrace Solomon’s sin and follow his example because the people were not satisfied with God’s promises and the manner in which He was fulfilling them. The people were not satisfied with their position. The people were not satisfied with the manner in which God was showing His glory. The people were not satisfied with God.
When Solomon died, the Bible explains that his son Rehoboam became king. Rehoboam went to the city of Shechem in order to be anointed as king before the people. When he left Jerusalem to be anointed as king, word got around to Jeroboam, who had fled to Egypt while Solomon was king since Solomon was seeking to kill him. Solomon knew God’s judgment, and understood that Jeroboam would be the man to cause revolt in Israel, threatening Solomon’s kingship. Therefore, Solomon sought to circumvent God’s judgment and kill Jeroboam, but God protected him to protect His declaration of judgment, and Jeroboam fled to Egypt. Upon hearing of Solomon’s death and Rehoboam’s ascension to power, Jeroboam saw an opportunity to assume the position God had promised him. Jeroboam went back to Israel and stirred up the hearts of the people to complain. The scriptures state that while Rehoboam was in Shechem, Jeroboam and “the whole assembly of Israel” went to the new king to demand changes. They accused Solomon of being too hard of a taskmaster. The people accused Solomon of placing too many burdens and yokes upon the people so that they were too hard to bear. The people accused Solomon of being a slave-driver of sorts, and demanded from Rehoboam to lighten the load. The people, under the leadership of Jeroboam, gave Rehoboam an ultimatum: Rehoboam was to lighten the “burdens” placed upon the people by Solomon, at which point they would serve him as king, or else they would not serve him, implying rebellion.
Here, the scriptures need to be examined carefully. Were the accusations of the people true? Did Solomon really manage the people into unnecessary burden? Did Solomon really place overly heavy yokes upon the necks of his own people? Did the people really have a legitimate gripe, or were they simply opportunistic? Here is what the Bible says. Recall that in 1 Kings 9:20-23 the scriptures testified that Solomon exercised wisdom to employ foreigners to do the hard labor of his building projects. The scriptures are specific to state that he did not appoint a single person from the congregation of Israel to this labor, but instead appointed them to be captains and administrators of Israel. Those who served in a more laborious sense were Solomon’s own servants. Additionally, recall that in 1 Kings 10:6-8 the Queen of Sheba marveled at the glory of God on account of the attitudes of Solomon’s servants and the joy of the people. The Queen of Sheba was able to confirm the glory of God that she had heard about, not only by the riches she saw, or the wisdom she heard from Solomon, but also by specifically referencing her witness of the joy of the people and the quality of service they offered.
The testimony of scripture doesn’t seem to match the accusations of the people in 1 Kings 12:1-5. The Bible is clear to unveil Solomon’s folly with idolatry, but never references his mistreatment of the children of Israel with unnecessary burdens. Thus, one must conclude that the accusations against Solomon were false. The people were not overly burdened. Recall that God’s purpose during the reign of Solomon was to illustrate the glory of His own kingdom when His eternally unconditional promises to Israel would be fulfilled. This was the reason why God didn’t further discipline Solomon for his sin to begin with. God restrained the timing of His judgment against Solomon so as to not pervert the illustration that He provided during Solomon’s reign. Understanding this truth, are we to assume that God was unable to provide a clear illustration because of the burdens of the people? Was God’s hand so weak that His illustration was ineffective because the people were overworked?
The beginning of Rehoboam’s testimony is troubling, but demonstrates a powerful truth. Notice how quickly the attitudes of the people changed. A single man was able to stir up the whole congregation of Israel even though the reign of Solomon brought so much prosperity. Suddenly that prosperity was not good enough for the people. Suddenly the authority that the people were given was a burden. Suddenly the service of the people was a heavy yoke. Suddenly the people were entitled to even more rest, with less responsibility, and more rewards. Suddenly the people were not humbled by the glory of God, but making demands to serve His king in His kingdom. This attitude did not spring up overnight. This is the heart condition that God saw all along, and why He declared to judge all of Israel and not just Solomon. The people were acting like spoiled and self-entitled brats because they were. God’s judgment was sufficient to reveal this truth.
It is true that Jeroboam was being used according to God’s will. God exercised His sovereign control to move Jeroboam to stir up the people in rebellion. The result that God wanted to accomplish was a divided kingdom. The reason that God wanted to manipulate the circumstances to conclude in division was to reveal the truth of the spiritual matters that He witnessed in the hearts of His people. The hearts of His people were divided so He would divide the people. The people did not worship God exclusively and fully. The hearts of the people were focused on self-gratification so that the goodness God delivered through the reign of Solomon was quickly ignored and rejected by the people. Jeroboam was the tool that God used to expose this truth. The division of the kingdom was not for righteous reasons. Jeroboam was not a man that sought to magnify and exalt the name of God in opposition to the idolatry Solomon brought to the forefront of Israel. God selected Jeroboam to show that, when given the platform and opportunity, people will naturally display wickedness that is contrary to God’s will. God used Jeroboam as a sort of light to expose the disgruntled dissatisfaction that Israel had with the Lord and His manner of work. Thus, the work that God did to divide the people was just as the beginning stages of the divisive work God did show that the people were divided from God long before they were divided from each other.