The Jeroboam Church

By Stephen M. Newman
Founder, & Author of Experiencing Worship
May 02, 2022

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If you've ever read the story of Jeroboam, you know he proceeded Solomon and became king of ten of the twelve tribes. The Bible states in 1 Kings 11:37-38, "However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you."

What a promise from the Lord! What made it even more amazing was Jeroboam had no claim to royalty. By anyone’s standard he was an average Joe. What made him special was he was chosen by God. It's amazing to me how a man like this is given everything, and yet, blows it. He began to think in his own flesh and leave the leading of the Spirit of God. Subsequently, it wasn't long until Jeroboam forgot about God. He began to take matters in his own hands and make decisions based on his fears and lack of faith.

We move ahead to chapter 14 where we see Jeroboam in a family crisis. His son has fallen ill and they fear for his life. Moving along we see Jeroboam’s son dying and his kingship being taken. He loses everything. Why? Because he sought the advice of man instead of God.

Look back to chapter 12. When Jeroboam became king, he was faced with a dilemma. God's temple was located in an area where his adversaries lived. Remember, two of the twelve tribes refused to recognize him as king. God's temple was located in Jerusalem, his rival’s turf. What makes this story all the more interesting is God himself made it very clear they could not worship anywhere they had to be in Jerusalem.

1 Kings 12:26 Jeroboam thought to himself, "The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their Lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam." After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.

It's interesting to me that God made Jeroboam king, He promised he would be as great as David, and all Jeroboam had to do was just do whatever the Lord commanded. He was to “walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands” and God would be with him. God said He would, "…build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.” WOW! Seemed easy enough to a casual observer.

What was his downfall? What caused Jeroboam to fall from God's plan for his life? He took matters into his own hands. Even though God said His people were to worship in Jerusalem, Jeroboam thought he had a better plan. The truth was that he didn't have enough faith to believe that God would protect him and keep the people loyal to the king. His second downfall was to seek counsel from men instead of God. The outcome was everything was taken from him.

How do we apply this to our lives? Churches today have left the promises of God. They have sought the advice of marketing firms and model churches. What they fail to do is rely on the power and promises of God to grow their churches. They trade the spirit of God for the spirit of performance. They trade the Bible and it's promises for books on "How To Do It."

I like what Jim Cymbala says, "No attendance numbers can hide the fact that our new kind of Christianity is foreign to the Bible and grievous to the Holy Spirit. All over America, church-goers chafe at a Sunday morning service that runs an hour and ten minutes, but have no problem with three-hour football games on television. He goes on to state that there are many Jeroboam religions and churches out there that have no clue as to what true, Spirit-filled churches look like."

Are you a Jeroboam?

Stephen M. Newman
Founder, & Author of Experiencing Worship
Read more from Stephen M. Newman

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