Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rebellion Against God Is Costly

The ruins of King Jeroboam's altar at Tel Dan
Photo by nightwing350b
We Three Kings

I was recently reminded of the Bible story of the division of the Nation of Israel into the Northern Kingdom (10 tribes of Israel) and Judah (containing the tribes of Judah and Benjamin). The story begins with the united kingdom of King Solomon, who near the end of his reign, followed his many foreign wives into idol worship. The very king of Israel who oversaw the construction of the first temple succumbs to the wiles of his foreign wives and sins greatly against Almighty God. As a result of Solomon's sin, God made the decision to split up the Kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 11:9-13).

For the sake of King David, God waited until King Solomon's passing, then He split the kingdom up through a civil war, not long after Solomon's son Rehoboam assumed the royal throne. Before this all took place, though, God sent the prophet Ahijah to one of Solomon's officials, Jeroboam. God through Ahijah explained to Jeroboam that he was going to split up the Kingdom of Israel and give Jeroboam ten tribes to rule over. This royal official was going to be crowned king of the northern kingdom! God not only promised him the kingship but also told Jeroboam that if he would be obedient to His commands and follow Him wholeheartedly, then Jeroboam could expect to have a dynasty as great as King David (see 1 Kings 11:29-40).

Unfortunately, Jeroboam does not heed God's advice once he assumes the throne. He rebelled against God. He set up two places of golden calf idol worship for the northern tribes - one in Bethel and one in Dan (1 Kings 12:25-33). Jeroboam also set up additional areas of idol worship in the high places of northern Israel. As a result of his sin and rebellion, God eventually takes the Northern Kingdom away from his dynasty and gives it to another.
Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways, but once more appointed priests for the high places from all sorts of people. Anyone who wanted to become a priest he consecrated for the high places. This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth (1 Kings 13:33-34).
Why Do People Rebel?

The question that begs to be asked is why the heck do people rebel? Why do people turn and go 180 degrees in the opposite direction of what God tells them? Jeroboam could have looked back at the history of the first three kings of Israel and seen a pattern of God's blessing for loving Him as King David did, or judgment as a result of the gross, outright sins of King Saul and King Solomon. Instead of following the righteous path of David, Jeroboam decides to follow the path of Solomon, which led to the splitting up of the Nation of Israel in the first place. I mean, c'mon! How dumb is that?

I don't claim to be an expert on the human condition, but I just don't understand the mindset of some people. Jeroboam could have had a lasting family dynasty and untold wealth if he had just followed God's path for his life. Unfortunately, even in today's world, we see a lot of people doing the same dumb stuff, even so-called Christians. They have a head knowledge of God, His Word, and how He expects us to live while here on this earth. But then, they do a 180, and do exactly what God has asked them not to do. I fear a rebellious mindset has crept into the hearts of many church goers. In the last few years, I've seen it manifested in some of my friends and family. They think they are rich in this world as they go headlong into a life of rebellious sin, but as an outsider looking at their lives, I see people who are "wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked" (Revelation 3:15-18).

Do You Battle A Rebellious Spirit?

So, how about you? Do you battle that same rebellious heart and spirit as a King Solomon or King Jeroboam? For whatever reason, I think some people battle this more than others due to our different types of personalities, plus the obvious fact that we have also been born with a sin nature. If so, you may need to constantly remind yourself that in the end, rebelling against God and His Word has severe, costly consequences. There is no positive payoff to your rebellion in this life and the life to come. Enlist the aid of your Godly friends and family in order for you to be accountable to them for your rebellious spirit. True wealth can be found in living a life of obedience to God Almighty.

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