Convenient Religion

May 19, 2014
I Kings 12:26-30

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

Convenient Religion – that which suits the occasion, whatever the occasion is!  The kingdom of Israel had split when Rehoboam, the son of Solomon had ascended to the throne – recorded in the first part of I Kings 12.  The nation had prospered under the rule of Solomon, but taxes were high, and coerced service to the king was rampant.  The people wanted Rehoboam to lighten their burdens.  But the new king followed the advice of his peers and told his subjects in I Kings 12:11, “…whereas my father laid a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke:  my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges.”  The people’s reaction?  “What portion have we in David?  We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse [Solomon’s father].  To your tents, O Israel!  Now see to your own house, O David.!”

Jeroboam, son of Nebat was commissioned king of the northern kingdom, which kept the original name of Israel.  Rehoboam retained only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and the southern kingdom was called Judah.

Now to our scripture from I Kings 12:26 through 30:

    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, Reho-
    boam king of Judah, and they will kill me.”…Therefore the king took counsel
    and 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!  And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 
    Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as
    far as Dan.

Fearing that adherence to their God-revealed Jewish faith would undermine his authority, Jeroboam made Religion more Convenient!  Not only did he foster blatant idolatry with the two golden calves, it says in I Kings 12:31 and 32:

    He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of
    people, who were not of the sons of Levi.  Jeroboam ordained a feast on the
    fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, and of-
    fered sacrifices on the altar.  So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves
    that he had made: And at Bethel he installed the priests of the high places
    which he had made.

Convenient Religion is man-made religion!  For Jesus said in Mark 8:34 and 35:

    Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,
    and follow Me.  For  whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever
    loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

I wrote about this on April 13, 2013 – Gladly, The Cross-Eyed Bear!  The cross is an instrument of death!  And the only way to live the Christian life as Jesus would have us live it is to do as Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20:

    I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who lives, yet Christ lives in
    me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,
    who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

Also, in the blog from May 20, 2014, I said, “Satan is the false lion, a cheap imitation of the One who is ‘…the way, the truth, and the life.’  And what he pushes is a cheap imitation of the real thing!  He is an imitator, not an originator!  In this new northern kingdom he is imitating – via Jeroboam’s decrees – what God had long been doing already in the nation!

But here is the main point, and it has a more egregious result in the long run – this setting up of Convenient Religion produced false religion that took people away from the true God for hundreds, even thousands, of years!   It lasted all through the time that Israel was the northern kingdom.  It influenced the Samaritan religion that was in Jesus’ day.  And there are still Samaritans today!  How many people have been led to hell because Jeroboam initiated Convenient Religion?

Be careful to know and practice the truth – even if it is difficult!  It likewise will affect generations to come!

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