‘Such conduct made the House of Jeroboam a sinful house and caused its ruin and extinction from the face of the earth.’ – 1Kg 13:34
If You Know BetterMost people have that one friend who believes that if they had the good fortune of others they would do better. “If you know better, you will do better”. Sometimes this is the way we think. But we are all tainted by the tendency to sin. Everyone who knew the rise and fall of David and Solomon would believe that a nobody, like Jeroboam, whom God made somebody would have done better with the benefit of experience. But did he? What was the sin of Jeroboam?
AmnesiaJeroboam forgot who he was and where he was coming from. Here was a commoner who had risen overnight to the seat of power over all Israel. He could not take credit for this because he did practically nothing to earn the throne. You would think that he would be grateful and worship God who had made him king. But no. Instead he was more concerned about his people turning back to follow the house of David who held sway in Judah. What is one compared to ten? Those who focus too hard on the fear of making mistakes end up making the mistakes they fear. Jeroboam allowed his fear of losing the throne get the best of him. Never let fear make you forget that God is always in control.
IdolatryJeroboam’s fear made him resort to drastic measures. He literally went back to the sins of his forefathers. He erected, not one, but two golden calves for the people to worship. He appointed priests from families outside the tribe of Levi to propagate idolatry, turning them away from the worship of the true God. God’s covenant with His people rests on the foundation of faithfulness. A faithless generation is headed for destruction. Today famous and powerful people who should know better, take glory for their achievements and mislead others by drawing attention to themselves instead of the One who is the source of life and every good thing. Some go so far as using religion as a tool to cause division between people. Wherever the faith of a people is exploited for power or pleasure, evil holds sway and the centre no longer holds. To put oneself or anyone else in the place of God is to begin a procession to a woeful end.
Trust and be HappyIn his quest for power, Jeroboam sacrificed faith and trust in God. The result? The Northern kingdom of Israel was carried away into exile in Assyria and completely wiped out. The lesson we must learn here is that power, in whatever way or capacity it is received, is a gift. It is not an occasion for pride or self-assertion. Every good and perfect gift, including your body, is from God. And every gift is for service. There are adverse consequences for misusing them. Never allow yourself be overcome by feelings of fear or pride. A wise person once said, “Do not be troubled by anything. You are a child of God”. If God has given you a gift, then serve Him with it. If he withholds anything from you, then trust that He knows what is best for you. He is the same God who used seven loaves to feed four thousand people. Here in lies true freedom: trust God and be happy. When God allows you to go through trials, He is teaching you something. When He answers your prayers, never forget the lesson. In sickness and in health, in hunger or plenty, in good and bad times, your life is always in the hands of God.
PrayerLord, teach me humility when pride seeks to get the better of me. Teach me trust when worries cloud my mind. Strengthen my faith when I am afraid.
Today’s Readings1Kg 12:26-32,13:33-34; Ps 106:6-7,19-22; Mk 8:1-10