SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
1 Kings 12:1-13:34
12:1 Rehoboam traveled to Shechem, for all Israel had gathered in Shechem to make Rehoboam king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard the news, he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon and had been living ever since. 3 They sent for him, and Jeroboam and the whole Israelite assembly came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, 4 “Your father made us work too hard. Now if you lighten the demands he made and don’t make us work as hard, we will serve you.” 5 He said to them, “Go away for three days, then return to me.” So the people went away.
6 King Rehoboam consulted with the older advisers who had served his father Solomon when he had been alive. He asked them, “How do you advise me to answer these people?” 7 They said to him, “Today if you will be a servant to these people and grant their request, speaking kind words to them, they will be your servants from this time forward.” 8 But Rehoboam rejected their advice and consulted the young advisers who served him, with whom he had grown up. 9 He asked them, “How do you advise me to respond to these people who said to me, ‘Lessen the demands your father placed on us’?” 10 The young advisers with whom Rehoboam had grown up said to him, “Say this to these people who have said to you, ‘Your father made us work hard, but now lighten our burden.’ Say this to them: ‘I am a lot harsher than my father! 11 My father imposed heavy demands on you; I will make them even heavier. My father punished you with ordinary whips; I will punish you with whips that really sting your flesh.’”
12 Jeroboam and all the people reported to Rehoboam on the third day, just as the king had ordered when he said, “Return to me on the third day.” 13 The king responded to the people harshly. He rejected the advice of the older men 14 and followed the advice of the younger ones. He said, “My father imposed heavy demands on you; I will make them even heavier. My father punished you with ordinary whips; I will punish you with whips that really sting your flesh.” 15 The king refused to listen to the people, because the Lord was instigating this turn of events so that he might bring to pass the prophetic announcement he had made through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat.
16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, the people answered the king, “We have no portion in David, no share in the son of Jesse! Return to your homes, O Israel! Now, look after your own dynasty, O David!” So Israel returned to their homes. 17 (Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah.) 18 King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, the supervisor of the work crews, out after them, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam managed to jump into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the Davidic dynasty to this very day. 20 When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they summoned him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. No one except the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the Davidic dynasty.
21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he summoned 180,000 skilled warriors from all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin to attack Israel and restore the kingdom to Rehoboam son of Solomon. 22 But God told Shemaiah the prophet, 23 “Say this to King Rehoboam son of Solomon of Judah, and to all Judah and Benjamin, as well as the rest of the people, 24 ‘This is what the Lord has said: “Do not attack and make war with your brothers, the Israelites. Each of you go home. Indeed this thing has happened because of me.”’” So they obeyed the Lord’s message. They went home in keeping with the Lord’s message.
25 Jeroboam built up Shechem in the Ephraimite hill country and lived there. From there he went out and built up Penuel. 26 Jeroboam then thought to himself: “Now the Davidic dynasty could regain the kingdom. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem, their loyalty could shift to their former master, King Rehoboam of Judah. They might kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.” 28 After the king had consulted with his advisers, he made two golden calves. Then he said to the people, “It is too much trouble for you to go up to Jerusalem. Look, Israel, here are your gods who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 29 He put one in Bethel and the other in Dan. 30 This caused Israel to sin; the people went to Bethel and Dan to worship the calves.
31 He built temples on the high places and appointed as priests common people who were not Levites. 32 Jeroboam inaugurated a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival celebrated in Judah. On the altar in Bethel he offered sacrifices to the calves he had made. In Bethel he also appointed priests for the high places he had made.
33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month (a date he had arbitrarily chosen) Jeroboam offered sacrifices on the altar he had made in Bethel. He inaugurated a festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to offer sacrifices. 13:1 Just then a prophet arrived from Judah with the Lord’s message for Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing near the altar ready to offer a sacrifice. 2 He cried out against the altar with the Lord’s message, “O altar, altar! This is what the Lord has said, ‘Look, a son named Josiah will be born to the Davidic dynasty. He will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who offer sacrifices on you. Human bones will be burned on you.’” 3 That day he had also given a sign, saying, “This is the sign that the Lord has declared: The altar will split open and the ashes on it will pour out.” 4 When the king heard the prophet’s message that he had cried out against the altar in Bethel, Jeroboam took his hand from the altar and pointed it saying, “Seize him!” Then the hand that he had pointed at him stiffened up, and he could not pull it back. 5 Meanwhile the altar split open, and the ashes poured from the altar in fulfillment of the sign the prophet had given with the Lord’s message. 6 The king responded to the prophet, “Seek the favor of the Lord your God and pray for me, so that my hand may be restored.” So the prophet sought the Lord’s favor and the king’s hand was restored as it was at first. 7 The king then said to the prophet, “Come home with me and have something to eat, so that I may give you a gift.” 8 But the prophet said to the king, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you. I am not allowed to eat food or drink water in this place. 9 For this is how I was commanded in the Lord’s message, ‘Eat no food. Drink no water. And do not return by the way you came.’” 10 So he started back on another road; he did not travel back on the same road he had taken to Bethel.
11 Now there was an old prophet living in Bethel. When his sons came home, they told him everything the prophet had done in Bethel that day. And they told their father all the words that he had spoken to the king. 12 Their father asked them, “Which road did he take?” His sons showed him the road the prophet from Judah had taken. 13 He then told his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” When they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it 14 and took off after the prophet, whom he found sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, “Are you the prophet from Judah?” He answered, “Yes, I am.” 15 He then said to him, “Come home with me and eat something.” 16 But he replied, “I can’t go back with you. I am not allowed to eat food or to drink water with you in this place. 17 For an order came to me in the Lord’s message, ‘Eat no food. Drink no water there. And do not return by the way you came.’” 18 Then the old prophet said, “I too am a prophet like you. And an angel has told me in a message from the Lord, ‘Bring him back with you to your house so he can eat food and drink water.’” But he had lied to him. 19 So the prophet went back with him. He ate food in his house and he drank water.
20 While they were sitting at the table, the Lord’s message came to the old prophet who had brought him back. 21 So he cried out to the prophet who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘You have rebelled against the Lord’s instruction and have not obeyed the command the Lord your God gave you. 22 You went back. You ate food. And you drank water in the place of which he had said to you, “Eat no food. Drink no water.” Therefore your corpse will not be buried in your ancestral tomb.’”
23 So this is what happened after he had eaten food and drunk water. The old prophet saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back. 24 So the prophet from Judah travelled on. Then a lion attacked him on the road and killed him.
There was his body lying on the road, with the donkey standing next to it, and the lion just standing there by the body. 25 Then some men came passing by and saw the body lying in the road with the lion standing next to the body. They went and reported what they had seen in the city where the old prophet lived. 26 When the old prophet who had invited him to his house heard the news, he said, “It is the prophet who rebelled against the Lord. The Lord delivered him over to the lion and it tore him up and killed him, in keeping with the Lord’s message that he had spoken to him.” 27 He told his sons, “Saddle my donkey.” So they saddled it. 28 He went and found the body lying in the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside it; the lion had neither eaten the body nor attacked the donkey. 29 The old prophet picked up the prophet’s body, put it on the donkey, and brought it back. The old prophet then entered the city to mourn him and to bury him. 30 He put the body into his own tomb, and they mourned over him, saying, “Ah, my brother!” 31 After he buried him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the tomb where the prophet is buried; put my bones right beside his bones, 32 because the message that he announced as the Lord’s message against the altar in Bethel and against all the temples on the high places in the cities of the north will certainly be fulfilled.”
33 After this happened, Jeroboam still did not change his evil ways; he continued to appoint common people as priests at the high places. Anyone who wanted the job he consecrated as a priest. 34 This sin caused Jeroboam’s dynasty to come to an end and to be destroyed from the face of the earth.