In my current preaching series through the Kings (1st and 2nd Kings) I have become arrested by the description of Jeroboam’s efforts to wean the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) from the practice of the worship of God.
Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. 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.”
(1 Kings 12:26-27 NASB)
The historian’s description of Jeroboam’s sincerity is best seen in the first part of verse 26 “Jeroboam said in his heart,” He is seen as sincere in his motivation. He would have been known as devoted to the best interest of the people.
But the real motivation is understood within the next sentence. He’s literally meaning “If I am to win this people to me I must wean this people from worshiping God.”
Listen, if Jeroboam said directly that he plans to wean the people from the worship of God they would have rejected him. So rather, he redefines a worship practice that appeals to the comfort and convenience of the people. We love comfort and convenience. This method of ‘weaning’ people from the worship of God is proven to be successful.
Here is my sermon on this text from 1 Kings 12:25-33 – 1 Kings 13:1-10