Today the Lord has two prophets tell Jeroboam of his coming demise and the future destruction of his kingdom because Jeroboam sinned and made all of Israel sin against the Lord.
1) The first man of God says to Jeroboam – “Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you.” About three hundred years later, we will meet a king of Judah, a descendant of David, named Josiah who will come and destroy Jeroboam’s altars just as the Lord said (2 Chronicles 34).
2) Jeroboam sends his wife to the prophet Ahijah to inquire about his sick son, Abijah. Ahijah gives a message from the Lord to Jeroboam’s wife for Jeroboam – “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over my people Israel and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, and yet you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart… but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods… therefore behold, I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both bond and free in Israel, and will burn up the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone.” However, God has “found something good toward the Lord” in the sick child. Therefore, the Lord says that Jeroboam’s child will mercifully die and be spared the judgment coming upon the wicked. As Isaiah will later say—“Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come” (Isaiah 57:1).
When Jeroboam dies, his son Nadab becomes king of Israel, “And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin.” Then a man named Baasha conspires against Nadab, kills him and becomes the next king of Israel. Baasha kills all in the house of Jeroboam, just as Ahijah prophesied. Baasha too does evil and walks in the ways of Jeroboam, as will all the following kings of Israel which will lead to Northern Israel’s downfall.
Over in Judah, the people are also doing evil in the sight of the Lord under the leadership of Rehoboam —“For they also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. And there were also perverted persons in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.” So the Lord allows the king of Egypt to come against Rehoboam and take away the treasures of the house of the Lord. When Rehoboam humbles himself before the Lord, the Lord relents from destroying him at that time.
After Rehoboam dies, his son Abijam becomes king of Judah and “he walked in all the sins of his father… his heart was not loyal to the Lord… Nevertheless for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, by setting up his son after him and by establishing Jerusalem.”
Abijam’s son, Asa, is the next king of Judah, and he does what is good and right in the sight of the Lord. Asa leads a revival, turning the hearts of the people back to the Lord and clearing the land of idolatry. When Zeruah the Ethiopian comes against Asa and Judah, Asa responds by crying out to the Lord—“Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude.”
When we as Christians go through times of trouble, we are to call upon the name of the Lord, wait on God to act on our behalf, and trust that He will lead and guide us through the storm. No problem is too big for the Lord, as we see here with the battle against Egypt. The Lord hears the cry of Asa, He strikes the enemy and saves the oppressed, He leads Judah into victory, and He provides them with rest because God gives rest to those who rest in Him:
- “And He said, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest’” (Exodus 33:14)
- “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses” (1 Kings 8:56).
- “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm” (Psalm 37:5-8).
- “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
- “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it” (Hebrews 4:1-2).
Those who enter the rest are those who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Unfortunately there are so many who do not enter into the rest that only Christ can provide because they put their trust in themselves, in a system, in a movement, in an organization, in a religion, in a government, or in anything else apart from the Lord. The only way to enter this rest is through Christ – “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Tomorrow we meet more kings and the prophet Elijah arrives on the scene, so keep reading. (1 Kings 13:1-14:24, 2 Chronicles 12:13-14, 2 Chronicles 11:18-23, 2 Chronicles 12:1-12, 1 Kings 14:25-28, 2 Chronicles 12:15-16, 1 Kings 14:29-15:5, 2 Chronicles 13:1-22, 1 Kings 15:6-8, 2 Chronicles 14:1-8, 1 Kings 15:9-15, 1 Kings 14:19-20, 1 Kings 15:25-34, 2 Chronicles 14:9-15:19)