Jeroboam had an opportunity to change his ways and turn to The Lord, but he refused to do that. 1 Kings 13:33-34 reads,
“After this thing Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but made priests for the high places again from among all the people. Any who would, he ordained to be priests of the high places. And this thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, so as to cut it off and to destroy it from the face of the earth.”
In Jeroboam’s false religion, any one Jeroboam chose could be a priest. There was nothing special about them. They didn’t have to be Levite as The Lord required. They didn’t have to be anything, except willing to please the king. And this was a grave sin. It affected not only Jeroboam but Israel and Jeroboam’s family and his descendants.
Jeroboam’s son Abijah became sick. His father was worried for him. He needed help. Did he turn to his priests? Did he turn to The Lord? Nope. He turned to Ahijah, the prophet who God had used to tell him the Lord was giving him Israel. Jeroboam told his wife get a disguise and go to go to the prophet to find out what would happen to their son. And so she did. Verses 4-6 read,
“Jeroboam's wife did so. She arose and went to Shiloh and came to the house of Ahijah. Now Ahijah could not see, for his eyes were dim because of his age.5 And the Lord said to Ahijah, “Behold, the wife of Jeroboam is coming to inquire of you concerning her son, for he is sick. Thus and thus shall you say to her.”
When she came, she pretended to be another woman. 6 But when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why do you pretend to be another? For I am charged with unbearable news for you.”
Why did Jeroboam and his wife decide they had to lie at all to inquire of a prophet? They obviously didn’t have much respect for the Lord. They treated Him like a Magic 8 Ball.
The Lord had some words for Jeroboam. First He told him his sins. Verses 7-9 read,
“Go, tell Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over my people Israel 8 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, doing only that which was right in my eyes, 9 but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back,”
God gave Jeroboam an amazing gift, and he didn’t acknowledge Him in it. He took that gift and instead of leading Israel to pursue The Lord, he led them away from Him. And like the Lord promised David that he would always have a descendent on the throne, he promised Jeroboam that his descendants would be cut off.
“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. 11 Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat, for the Lord has spoken it.”’ 12 Arise therefore, go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the child shall die. 13 And all Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found something pleasing to the Lord, the God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam. 14 Moreover, the Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam today. And henceforth, 15 the Lord will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger. 16 And he will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he sinned and made Israel to sin.”
That is a ton of bad news to hear at one time. Right in the middle of everything was the news that when she walked into her house, her son would die. Her son who was the only one in Jeroboam’s family or household that pleased The Lord. He was dying, but his death would save him from the horrors his relatives would suffer. That news was surrounded by more bad news. I can’t guess how this wife and mother dealt with it. Jeroboam had brought death to his household and so would his wife. Jeroboam had brought a terrible curse to his house and a dreadful curse to Israel.
Jeroboam’s wife returned home, knowing that her arrival would mean the death of her child and that she would have to pass this terrible prophecy on to her husband. Jeroboam reigned for a total of 22 years and when he died his son Nadad reigned.
The Lord is not a crazy 8 ball, a vending machine, or Santa Claus. We can’t pick and choose when we will call Him Lord and when we will ignore Him or turn to our idols. So many of us turn to Him in bad times, but ignore Him in the good times. Ecclesiastes 7:14 reads,
“In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.”