1 Kings 12:26-33

Jeroboam’s Idolatry

25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived [j]there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. 26 Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. 27 If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 28 So the king [k]consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 29 He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. 31 And he made houses on high places, and made priests from among [l]all the people who were not of the sons of Levi. 32 Jeroboam [m]instituted a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast which is in Judah, and he [n]went up to the altar; thus he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves which he had made. And he stationed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 33 Then he [o]went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had [p]devised [q]in his own heart; and he [r]instituted a feast for the sons of Israel and [s]went up to the altar to burn [t]incense.

In the end, Jeroboam shows that he is as much a fool as Rehoboam, and not much of a leader. If he would only be a good and honest king, he’d not have to fear the people killing him. After all, God appointed him as king of Israel, and that should have been enough to calm his fears.

Instead, he forsakes God’s commands, and makes idols for the people and flat out lies to them, a lie that most (if not all) of the people would have seen right through. If anything, Jeroboam was setting himself up for failure.

The lesson? When you’re in leadership, be honest, and don’t try to pull the wool over people’s eyes. You’ll fool some of the people some of the time, but in the end, you’ll just look like a fool yourself. Especially if you’ve been blessed with a position of authority by God Himself, trust Him, and follow His ways instead of trying to trick people into doing the right thing.

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