First Kings 14 Commentary
Jeroboam returns to the LORD, not in repentance but to find healing for his sick son. The LORD announces Jeroboam’s downfall and that of his entire household. Unlike David, Jeroboam has sold himself to evil and remains unrepentant.
But why is the LORD speaking of David in such a glorious way that we start wondering if we are hearing it correctly? David, spotless? This is interesting! Here is the point: David repented and his record was wiped clean. This is what Jeroboam has failed to do. This is what many have failed to do. Genuine repentance alters one’s record in heaven. And the LORD remembers one’s sins no more.
Then the LORD speaks about Israel’s future. Because of Jeroboam’s sin, Israel would be scattered beyond the Euphrates. Between this time and the actual scattering, many kings and consequently many more sins would be committed by Israel but this decision here is final. The LORD would also send more prophets to try and restore the nation.
After twenty-two years on Israel’s throne, Jeroboam dies and Nadab his son succeeded him as king.
Meanwhile, Rehoboam’s rule over Judah wasn’t exactly as expected. Pharoah Shishak’s attack on Jerusalem and the Temple itself confirmed the sorry state of the nation under Rehoboam. The LORD had long left the Temple. It was just an empty structure. Asherah poles, sacred stones, high places, and shrine prostitutes were idol worship systems that Rehoboam supported. He had nothing to do with the God of the Temple.
Rehoboam continued his trips to the Temple but you can tell it was a matter of one attending to state functions rather than a close relationship with the God of the Temple. Rehoboam died and Abijah his son succeeded him as king.
Judah’s religion at this time is not very different from ours today. In addition to the Temple, we have all sorts of high places, Asherah poles, shrine prostitutes, and sacred stones under all sorts of fancy names. For some reason, we feel the Temple can exist in the midst of all the wrongs. Yes, the physical structure would be there, just like church meetings, charity works, or even religious rituals. But the presence of the LORD is long gone.
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