Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
"[Jehovah] will not leave his loyal ones." (Psalm 37:28)
It is the tenth century B.C.E. and a time of decision. Civil war has narrowly been avoided by granting Israel’s restless northern tribes a measure of independence. Their newly appointed king, Jeroboam, quickly moves to consolidate his power by establishing a new State religion. He demands complete allegiance from his subjects. What will faithful servants of Jehovah do? Will they remain loyal to the God they worship? Thousands do, and Jehovah watches over them as they maintain their integrity. (1 Kings 12:1-33; 2 Chronicles 11:13, 14) The loyalty of God’s servants is being tested in our day too. “Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone,” warns the Bible. Can we successfully “take [our] stand against him, solid in the faith”? (1 Peter 5:8, 9) Jehovah did not leave his loyal ones then, and he will not do so today.
(Watchtower issue: 08/15/08, 1:1, 2)
*ok why was Jeroboam so dumb? lol. Actually this account is really interesting because it demonstrates one of the most deeply rooted flaws in human thinking which can be so ingrained in us, that we really have to work hard to overcome it ...Having complete trust and reliance in Jehovah.
Because after Jehovah had given Jeroboam the kingship over the other 10 tribes of Israel, Jeroboam stopped trusting in God's support, and decided to take matters into his own hands ...by doing one of the *all-time stupidest things* in Israelite history (thinking he was being politically savvy). Let's read about it shall we?....
"And Jer·o·bo′am began to say in his heart: “Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. If this people continues going up to render sacrifices in the house of Jehovah in Jerusalem, the heart of this people will also be bound to return to their lord, Re·ho·bo′am the king of Judah; and they will certainly kill me and return to Re·ho·bo′am the king of Judah.” Consequently the king took counsel and made two golden calves and said to the people: “It is too much for YOU to go up to Jerusalem. Here is your God, O Israel, that brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” Then he placed the one in Beth′el, and the other he put in Dan. And this thing came to be a cause for sin, and the people began to go before the one as far as Dan."
(1 Kings 12:26-30)
Ok, so after an ongoing history of idol worship in Israel, (which we are reading about now in the book of Judges) and Jeroboam being fully aware of what happened at Mt Sinai when the people made a golden calf to worship, and Moses had to destroy it, and have the sons of Levi put those worshipping it to death, Jeroboam goes and makes (not one...but 2 golden calves) and actually says to the people: "This is your God that brought you out of Egypt"!
Jeroboam...Hello??? Have you entirely forgotton your nation's history???
And if that wasn't bad enough, he decides to really *go all out* with the imitation/false idol worship, by actually replacing the REAL Levitical priests (who were the only ones allowed to act as priests according to the law) and sets up regular men as priests who he picks out himself. He then proceeds to makes up imitation festival dates for the people to worship, which he also came up with on his own!...as shown in the following verses:
"And he began to make a house of high places and to make priests from the people in general, who did not happen to be of the sons of Le′vi. And Jer·o·bo′am went on to make a festival in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the festival that was in Judah, that he might make offerings upon the altar that he had made in Beth′el, to sacrifice to the calves that he had made; and he put in attendance at Beth′el the priests of the high places that he had made. And he began to make offerings upon the altar that he had made in Beth′el on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he had invented by himself; and he proceeded to make a festival for the sons of Israel and to make offerings upon the altar to make sacrificial smoke."
(1 Kings 12:31-33)
Did he think Jehovah (who was responsible for making him king in the first place) wasn't going to notice all this? Or do anything about it? Especially since another rule set out in the law (which applies to us today as well) is that Jehovah specifically made a point to inform the people that they weren't allowed to worship him in just 'any old place' that they felt like. They were told that Jehovah would only accept worship at the place where he chooses to have his name reside.
"And it must occur that the place that Jehovah YOUR God will choose to have his name reside there is where YOU will bring all about which I am commanding YOU, YOUR burnt offerings and YOUR sacrifices, YOUR tenth parts and the contribution of YOUR hand and every choice of YOUR vow offerings that YOU will vow to Jehovah ...Watch out for yourself for fear you may offer up your burnt offerings in any other place you may see. But in the place that Jehovah will choose in one of your tribes is where you should offer up your burnt offerings, and there you should do all that I am commanding you."
PS -I also did some extra research on calf and idol worship, because I could never understand how, of all the sins a person could commit, why it was always idol worship to false gods that got the Israelites in trouble all the time. So later I'll post some more indepth info in regards to that and how it relates to us today.