Useful to God
Lesson 13

Lesson Thirteen

Jereboam: Where Will I Find My Security?

Text: 1 Kings 11:26-40; 12

Among the bigger spiritual problems facing today's Christian is the problem of our source of security. The question: what makes us feel secure? Our education? Job? Financial worth? Health? Lifestyle? Opportunities? Connections? Status in the community, state, or nation? Relationship with God? In crunch situations, what makes us feel secure?

This is a real, immediate question most of us face. If we are transitioning from a lifestyle that indulged physical desires to a lifestyle that focuses on spiritual values, this transition often produces feelings of insecurity. Why? We leave the known and comfortable for the unknown and therefore uncomfortable. Consider these thoughts: after a few years it is the exception to find a male in a job that is the literal outgrowth of his training. Money disappears. Jobs vanish. Health evaporates. The migration from "somebody" to "has been" is frequent. Necessity changes lifestyles and status. Relationship with God seems hypothetical. Increasingly it feels as if we exist in a world of rapid transition. So what makes us feel lasting security? Do we find what we think is security only to feel insecure?

Solomon at first pleased God (1 Kings 3:3; 9:1-9; 2 Chronicles 7:11-18). Later Solomon deeply displeased God (1 Kings 11:9-13). As a result, God intended for Jereboam to become king over the nation of Israel (ten of the tribes) after Solomon died, and God told Solomon of His plans. God promised Jereboam He would make Jereboam's descendants Israel's continuing kings if Jereboam would obey God and keep God's statutes.

Soon, Jereboam faced a security problem. Time passed, Solomon died, and Israel (the ten tribes) made Jereboam their king. As king, would he trust God to manage the impending situation, or would he trust himself to manufacture solutions to what he regarded to be impending problems?

The dilemma Jereboam faced was real. In Deuteronomy 16:16, all Israelite men were required to appear en masse at the place God would chose three times a year to present God sacrifices (also see Deuteronomy 12:1-14 and note verses 5, 11, 13, 14). While Jerusalem had been the political capital of the nation since David captured and settled it, and the spiritual capital of the nation since Solomon built and dedicated the temple (see 2 Chronicles 7:12), Jerusalem was not in the territory ruled by King Jereboam. Thus if King Jereboam's people remained faithful to God, the men would travel out of his territory to his enemy's (Rehoboam, Solomon's son) territory to worship God.

If this occurred, King Jereboam feared his people (the ten tribes he ruled) would choose to return to the rule of Rehoboam. King Jereboam feared that the result of Israelites returning to Jerusalem to worship would be a national eruption of patriotism ending in two things: (1) a reuniting of Israel and (2) King Jereboam's violent death. Would he feel secure to trust his dilemma to God? Or, would he take matters into his own hands? Is that not our dilemma also? Do we trust God to care for the situation, or do we trust ourselves? The stress increases as we "know" what will happen, and what we "know" will happen is NOT acceptable.

What did Jereboam do? (1) He consulted with people. From his actions, I conclude he consulted with people who shared his anxiety. (When an anxious person consults anxious people, the result is increased anxiety, not insight and wisdom.) (2) As a result of his consultations and his anxiety, he built two golden calves, and he erected one in Bethel and one in Dan. (3) He told the people that the journey to Jerusalem was too hard for them to make. (4) He said these golden calves were responsible for delivering their ancestors from Egypt, and they should be honored as their gods. (5) He made priests from people in his kingdom. (6) He instituted worship forms familiar to the people.

In other words, he had more confidence in himself than in God. He liked his solutions. The results were astounding and filled with far-reaching consequences! He succeeded in replacing the God of Israel with idolatry. (1) Never was there a king over those ten tribes who returned to God. Once Jereboam set idolatry in motion among those ten tribes, the generations that followed did not forsake idolatry officially. (2) They not longer existed as a nation after they were conquered and displaced by Assyria. They deserted God to their own destruction

In matters of your personal sense of security, choose wisely! How do I choose wisely? You take all factors into consideration! You do not let the immediate distress make the decision--look for more than immediate relief! Make a serious effort to distinguish between a spiritually destructive short term solution and a problem-solving longer term solution even if it means there will be an immediate distress. Be certain to make God your #1 priority in your decision. Consider the impact of your decision on the generation to follow you.

Before you die, it is quite possible that lifestyles will change radically in America because the middle and poor classes cannot endure the economic pressures exerted by numerous factors. This is no attempt to sound a warning of doom and gloom! It is an attempt to distinguish between the temporary and the eternal. Physical things and situations may be stressful and uncomfortable, but they are temporary. Godly things and situations may be stressful and uncomfortable, but they are eternal. Never allow physical things or situations to blind you to godly things and situations. Be very careful not to neglect God as you determine your source of security!

For Thought and Discussion

  1. In this lesson, what is one of the bigger problems facing today's Christian?

  2. In this lesson, what is the question? Why is it a real question?

  3. What promise did God make to Jereboam?

  4. Illustrate the fact that Jereboam's dilemma was real.

  5. What two things did Jereboam fear would happen if the men of his kingdom returned to Jerusalem?

  6. Name six things Jereboam did in reaction to his problem.

  7. Give two results that were consequences of Jereboam's decision.

  8. Discuss how a Christian chooses wisely.

  9. What does this lesson attempt to distinguish between?

  10. What should never be neglected in determining one's source of security?

Link to Teacher's Guide Lesson 13

Copyright © 2008
David Chadwell & West-Ark Church of Christ

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