By Evan Wiggs
There are many sad stories in the Bible of failed leaders and failed lives, but few match the story of Jeroboam son of Nebat. His is one of the saddest because of what the Lord said by the Prophet Ahijah.
But first lets look at the history and see what preceded
Jeroboam’s failure. We see just one
generation after David the rot starts to set in. David had his failure with Bathsheba and his
failure with Absalom, but is seemed that with Solomon the gold standard had
been struck and there would be as God promised always a man of David’s
descendents on the throne of
See the power that God places in leaders hands, His faithfulness to the nation rested much in the righteousness of the leader. That is a truth demonstrated all through history and even in our times. But what happened to Solomon to bring about the man Jeroboam?
1 Kings 11:1-13 ( NASB ) 1Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love. 3He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. 4For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not £wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. 6Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done. 7Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of
9Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded. 11So the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. 12“Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13“However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”
For all the wisdom of Solomon the sin of the flesh is what
drew him away from God. His foreign
wives lead him away to the detestable gods of the people around
We meet Jeroboam son of Nebat during the final days of apostasy of Solomon.
Now Jeroboam looks very promising here. He is a valiant warrior and he was very hard working and industrious. He could get things done and people listened to him. He caught Solomon’s eye and he was placed over the forced labor of the tribe of Joseph. This was an important position of power and authority in Solomon’s kingdom. Jeroboam was the man of the hour. But God is now stepping in against the failure of Solomon and Ahijah the prophet has something to say.
1 Kings 11:29-40 ( NASB ) 29It came about at that time, when Jeroboam went out of
Well here we go. God
comes in and suddenly Jeroboams promising life in Solomon’s kingdom takes a
rapid turn. God reveals that He is
willing to tear the
Here was God speaking through the prophet and He gave Jeroboam a magnificent promise, that He would bless him with an enduring kingdom like David. But as in every promise of God there is an “If” statement, a demand from the Living God for righteousness in the follower. It has not changed brothers and sisters He still promises and demands, are you listening?
Jeroboam must follow God’s ways to receive the full promise of God, there is not other way, there is no shortcut, obedience is what God wants and He will get.
Solomon hears about the meeting and in paranoid fear tries
to kill Jeroboam and he has to run to
Well Solomon died and left behind an son Rehoboam who lost the 10 tribes in a fit of stupidity. In I Kings 12: 1-24 the story is told of a foolish young man who like many youth imagine they are wise when they are actually fools with no experience. Rehoboam failed to listen to his advisors that would have saved him the kingdom and listened to his peers who were spoiled snots. But is was intended to be this way so God could tear the 10 northern tribes away from Rehoboam.
Now Jeroboam’s chance to make good comes. He becomes king of
It appears the Jeroboam forgot
what God had said to him not so long ago.
He grew fearful instead of asking what God thought about this. I believe that if Jeroboam had listened and
followed God the tribes of
1 Kings 13:1-10 ( NASB ) 1Now behold, there came a man of God from
Oh God wanted Jeroboam to listen and the prophet was a wild man of the Lord who spoke with fierce courage and truth. He spoke of a time when the altar Jeroboam was just burning a strange fire upon would be desecrated by human bones being burnt on it. And as a sign that the Word of the Lord was true the altar was split in half. Jeroboam, the take charge guy pointed at the prophet and tried to have him arrested, but God again tried to correct and his hand withered. How sad he had to ask the prophet “Please entreat the Lord your God” God was no longer his God, but now He was the prophet’s God. God showed His faithfulness and healed the hand, but Jeroboam wasn’t listening.
Now the judgment of God starts to
fall like a hammer upon the house of Jeroboam.
His son Abijah gets sick and Jeroboam asks his wife to disguise herself
to go to the prophet Ahijah to see if he would survive. Isn’t it interesting that he didn’t go to any
of the priests he has put in all the high places and at Dan and
6When Ahijah heard the sound of her feet coming in the doorway, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam, why do you pretend to be another woman? For I am sent to you with a harsh message. 7“Go, say to Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel, “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over My people Israel, 8and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you—yet you have not been like My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only that which was right in My sight; 9you also have done more evil than all who were before you, and have gone and made for yourself other gods and molten images to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back— 10therefore behold, I am bringing calamity on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male person, both bond and free in Israel, and I will make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam, as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone. 11“Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs will eat. And he who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat; for the LORD has spoken it.”’ 12“Now you, arise, go to your house. When your feet enter the city the child will die. 13“All Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, for he alone of Jeroboam’s family will come to the grave, because in him something good was found toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam. 14“Moreover, the LORD will raise up for Himself a king over Israel who will cut off the house of Jeroboam this day and from now on.
15“For the LORD will
strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water; and He will uproot Israel from
this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond
the Euphrates River, because they have made their £Asherim,
provoking the LORD to anger. 16“He will give up
wife arose and departed and came to Tirzah. As she was entering the threshold
of the house, the child died. 18All
Jeroboam’s disaster starts to unfold and the sin becomes full bloom. His son is to die and he will be the only one to actually reach his grave and this is because God actually saw something good in this son Abijah. What did God see? A heart that was willing to turn to Him, but his father Jeroboam caused this one to die as he would not listen. I believe Abijah would have been a good king after Jeroboam if Jeroboam had done what God wanted, but because Jeroboam failed his son died. Don’t you know that our failure to listen and obey God will kill our promises? What would have been can be killed today by disobedience.
Look what the Living One says about Jeroboam. Jeroboam had cast the Living God behind his back like so much worthless trash. Can a man do anything so foolish? And now the foolishness of Jeroboam was coming home to roost. No one else in Jeroboam’s family would even make their graves, but they would be cast upon the ground like dung, or just as Jeroboam had treated God as worthless trash to be cast behind his back so would Jeroboam and all his descendents be cast aside as worthless trash.
Later King Baasha fulfills the prophecy of Ahijah and all of Jeroboams relatives are cast out on the ground just as God said. His name is used in a curse when a king is pronounced as a great sinner it is said that he followed in the example of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
Will you listen dear one? God is speaking to you and desires truth in your inward parts, obedience complete and full. If you follow him all the promises of God will come true and you will live a life of joy full and free. But remember the story of Jeroboam the son of Nebat and look at his failure and do not make it your own.