4/1/19 “Listening to Evil Thoughts” (Daily Bible Reading: 1 Kings 12-14)

“And Jeroboam said in his heart, ‘Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.’ Therefore, the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!’” (1Kings 12:26-28)

Following the death of King Solomon, Solomon’s son Rehoboam ascends to the throne of Israel. However, he foolishly rejects the advice of the elders, who encouraged him to lighten the burdens on the people, and as a result 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel rebel against him and refuse to have him as their king (1 Kings 12:1-15). These tribes follow Jereboam and set him up as their king (1 Kings 12:20). God had given Jereboam a wonderful opportunity to lead these 10 tribes of Israel (1 Kings 11:29-38). Earlier through the prophet Ahijah, God told Jereboam, “Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you” (1 Kings 11:38).

Everything appears to be falling into place for Jereboam to begin a dynasty of kings to reign in Israel with God’s blessing. But then, Jereboam takes his eye off following God and begins to have evil thoughts that the people he is leading will return back to king Rehoboam of Judah (1 Kings 11:27). Instead of fearing God and remembering God’s promises to him, he listens to evil thoughts of doubt and fears man. His fear of man leads him to institute all sorts of wickedness in Israel contrary to God’s laws: (1) committing idolatry by setting up calves to worship in Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 12:28-29), (2) changing the priesthood from the Levites to just anybody (1 Kings 12:31), and (3) changing God’s appointed feast days (1 Kings 12:32). Jereboam’s legacy will become known by those wicked kings who followed in his ways of whom it will be said: “He did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin” (1 Kings 15:34; cf. 1 Kings 15:26; 16:19, 26).

Jereboam’s legacy was a terrible one. Forever he would become known by the evil he had done and as the one who had made Israel to sin. This became his legacy because he CHOSE to listen to evil thoughts of doubt and fear man instead of remembering God’s promise to him and trusting in God.

As I think about Jereboam, I ask myself, “Do I listen to evil thoughts of doubt instead of trusting in God’s promises?” Satan will constantly try to plant evil thoughts in my head as he tempts me, but I don’t have to act on those evil thoughts. I can CHOOSE to put away these evil thoughts by replacing these evil thoughts with promises made to me by God. I do not want my legacy to be about how I gave into evil thoughts, walked in an evil way, and led others to do evil because of my own fears and insecurities. I want my legacy to be of one who clung to God’s promises in faith, glorified Him by the way I lived, and help lead others to know Him! Today, I rejoice that I can trust in the promises of God and through Christ have the power to put away evil thoughts of doubt!

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).