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Taking Down a Nation-Part A

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July 12, 2021 2:00 am

Taking Down a Nation-Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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July 12, 2021 2:00 am

It's bad enough when one person has their own crash and burn; it's worse when that person takes others down with them. In the message "Taking Down a Nation," Skip looks at the story of Jeroboam, who led the nation of Israel astray.

This teaching is from the series Crash & Burn.

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From beginning to the end of the scripture, we find that in the Old Testament the word idol, idols, idolatry, appears 111 times. But the one who won the contest, the idol contest, was a king by the name of Jeroboam. Jeroboam is the one we're going to read about today. Of Jeroboam, it is said 20 times that he made Israel sin. He brought the nation down. He caused the nation to sin. In fact, a couple chapters after this in 1 Kings 14, God says, You have done more evil than all those who were before you.

How would you like that on your tombstone? Oswald Chambers once said, Skip looks at how one man's rebellion brought down a nation, and you'll learn why relinquishing control and power to the Lord enhances your life. Before we begin, if you love Bible study, a trip to Israel is a life changer.

Your Bible study will never be the same. Skip has lived in Israel and led tours many, many times. Here he is to invite you on his next tour. You know, there's always something new to see and experience in Israel. And I'm so excited to let you know that I'm taking another tour group to Israel next spring in 2022. You're in for an incredible time as we travel throughout Israel and experience the culture that's so unique to that country. We'll start on the Mediterranean Sea and head north, seeing places like Caesarea and Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River. We'll spend several days in and around Jerusalem and see the Temple Mount, Calvary, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Mount of Olives, and much more. This remarkable itinerary is made richer with times of worship, Bible study, and lots of fellowship. Now, I've been to Israel a number of times over the years, and I can honestly say that visiting the places where the events of the Scriptures unfolded, where Jesus lived, taught, and healed, it just never gets old.

I can't wait to see you in Israel. Now, let's get into today's teaching. We're in 1 Kings chapter 12 as we begin our study with Skip Hitzig. A few years ago, I was doing a series on the Ten Commandments, and it was the second week where I was speaking on the Second Commandment.

And you know that commandment. It says you will not have any graven images. You will not fashion for yourself any graven images. And it was interesting because that was my birthday week, and a friend of mine sent me a present, and I opened it up, and it was essentially a graven image of myself.

It's a bobblehead skip, look, on a motorcycle even. So I just found it strange that the very week I'm speaking about idolatry and graven images, I get this in the mail. You don't have to worry, no one worships it, trust me. When it comes to the Bible, you know that God takes idolatry very seriously. In fact, God predicted, if you turn from me, I am the Lord your God, you will have no other gods besides me, if you turn from me to other gods, to idols, it will bring the nation down.

He predicted that would happen. A few years ago, for the last 15 years, up until this year, one of the most popular shows on television was called American Idol. And it's produced some heavy hitters, like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. But I read an article about American Idol that was called It Doesn't Always Pay to Win. And the article essentially was saying it's not always the first place, but it's often second, third, and fourth runners-up that go on to have successful careers.

In fact, some serious stars, like Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott, never even made it past the audition on American Idol, but went on to see some great fame. Well, it certainly doesn't pay to win the Idol contest in Israel, because Israel's God always had a problem with it. From beginning to the end of the Scripture, we find that in the Old Testament, the word idol, idols, idolatry appears 111 times. But the one who won the contest, the Idol contest, was a king by the name of Jeroboam. And Jeroboam is the one we're going to read about today. Of Jeroboam, it is said 20 times that he made Israel sin.

He brought the nation down. He caused the nation to sin. In fact, a couple chapters after this, in 1 Kings 14, God says, You have done more evil than all those who were before you.

How would you like that on your tombstone? You have done more evil than all those who were before you. That is said of Jeroboam. So let's begin in chapter 12 for our purpose today, verse 25. We read, Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim, and he dwelt there.

Also he went out from there and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now the kingdom may return to the house of David. If these people go to offer sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord Rehoboam, the king of Judah. And they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam, king of Judah.

Therefore the king asked advice. He made two calves of gold and said to the people, It is too much for you to go 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. He made shrines in the high places.

He 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 he offered sacrifices on the altar, so he did at Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And at Bethel he installed the priests of the high places which he had made. So he made offerings on the altar, which he had made at Bethel, on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart.

And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and offered sacrifices on the altar, and burned incense. Now who is this guy, Jeroboam? Jeroboam is the son of a man by the name of Naboth. That's why when you read of him, it's almost always Jeroboam, the son of Naboth.

He was from a little town in the central part of the land in the tribe of Manasseh. He worked for King Solomon, and King Solomon saw him as a young, capable, industrious man with a lot of energy, so Solomon gave him a raise and placed him in charge of his labor force, or at least part of his labor force. Later on, Jeroboam gets involved in politics.

And at first, it's that he wants social reform and economic reform, but the reform turns to a rebellion, as we have just read. Now it's going to be helpful for me to tell you how Israel has worked up until this point. There have been three kings so far. There has been King Saul, followed by King David, followed by his son, King Solomon. Those three kings, those first three kings, for 120 years established a united monarchy.

There was no division, there was no civil war, it was a united monarchy for 120 years until Solomon died. When Solomon died, his son, Rehoboam, now I know this gets confusing because you've got Jeroboam, you've got Rehoboam, and you think, are they related? Are they the Boam brothers? You've got Jerry, Boam, and you've got Rehoboam. But no, they're different families all together. Rehoboam is the son of Solomon, Jeroboam the son of Naboth, a whole different family. So when Solomon dies, Rehoboam, his son, is in charge of the kingdom. He's young, he's inexperienced, and the people come to him and they say, look, as the new king, we request that you would ease up on the tax burden a little bit.

Your dad has been very oppressive to us. We'll serve you if you do that. Well, at that point he decides to consult his ambassador. So he goes to an older group of men, people who knew the ropes, they were wiser. And the older group of men said, we agree with the people, we think you should ease up on the tax burden, not be so oppressive, the people will be loyal to you. After that, he goes to his contemporaries, young men, young bucks, a lot of energy, not so much wisdom. And they give him the opposite counsel.

They say, no, in fact, put your foot down, show them who's boss, and don't ease up the burden. So, it's inauguration day. The first state of the union message that the new king, King Rehoboam, gives, part of it is mentioned in 1 Kings 12, verse 14, this is what he said. My father made your yoke heavy, I'll make it even heavier.

My father scourged you with whips, I will scourge you with scorpions. Well, the minute he said that, there's a turning point. A turning point in Israel's history. A civil war, a split in the kingdom ensues, and 10 of the 12 tribes go north under Jeroboam, and two of the tribes, Judah and Benjamin, under Rehoboam.

It is a civil war, and they really don't recover from it. The northern kingdom under Jeroboam, as you have just read, gets involved in idolatry for the next, get this, 200 years, until they are taken captive in 722 BC by the Assyrians. That's Jeroboam.

The question is why. What causes Jeroboam, this Israelite, this one of the tribes of God's people, what causes him to get involved in idolatry, this great heinous sin? It's because he made four mistakes, and I want you to see them.

First mistake he made is he feared losing power. Look at verse 26. Jeroboam said in his heart, Now the kingdom may return to the house of David. If these people go to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord of Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their Lord, Rehoboam, the king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam, the king of Judah. This guy has a lust for power, and it's always seen as a weakness, never a strength, a lust for power. Walter Youngquist noted that of all the human attributes responsible for more misery, death, hopelessness, war, and starvation than anything else in the world, one is the lust for personal power. And Jeroboam is an insecure leader.

He goes into panic mode. Oh no, when they're down in Jerusalem worshiping at the temple, their hearts are going to be drawn back to Rehoboam in the southern kingdom, and I'm going to lose my kingdom. Whenever you're afraid of losing power, you have forgotten that it was God who gave it to you to begin with, and He has forgotten that. Power comes from the Lord. Your sphere of power, your sphere of impact and influence is all given to you by God.

Romans 13 verse 1, There is no authority except from God. Psalm 62, 11, Power belongs to God. Remember that dream that Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon had when Daniel came in to interpret it for him, that wild image that he saw? Daniel said when he interpreted that dream, he said, God changes the times and the seasons. He removes and raises up kings.

He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. And because that's true, you know what that means? It means you never really had any power to begin with.

None. The power you have is delegated power. The authority you have is assigned authority, and it's been delegated and assigned by God. But power intoxicates men and women. When somebody's drunk with alcohol, he can recover.

When somebody's drunk on power, they seldom recover. It grips a person until death. Fear of losing power. Now, associated with that fear of losing power is the fear of losing control, the power to control situations. According to Psychology Today, the fear of losing control is one of the most prevalent fears that people have. This is the fear that if you don't manage to control the outcome of future events, something terrible will happen. And the key, this article said, the key to overcoming this is to let go of the demand for certainty.

Easier said than done. The demand for certainty. Our culture even has a designation of controlling people.

What do we call them? Control freaks. Says, she's a control freak. He's a control freak. Have you seen that commercial, national car rental commercial, where a guy's walking through the airport with his cup of coffee, you know, very staid and very controlled, and he's walking through and he says to the camera, I've been called a control freak, but I like to think of myself more of a control enthusiast. Jeroboam was a control enthusiast.

He liked to control situations. Here's the problem. There's so many things that are out of your control. You might like to control them, but you cannot. They're out of your control. There's some things you can control. There are some things you can control. For example, you cannot control the length of your life, but you can control the depth of your life. You cannot control the weather, but you can control the moral and spiritual atmosphere that you allow yourself to have around you. You cannot control another person's faults.

You can control your reaction and response to those faults. So here's the deal. Here's the best deal. You control the outlook and let God control the outcome. How's that for a deal?

Isn't that a good one? You control your outlook. Lord, if this comes or doesn't come, if this happens or doesn't happen, I'm just going to control my outlook. You control the outcome. But this king, he feared losing power. That was his first mistake.

Here's the second mistake. He failed trusting God. Go back to verse 25. Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim and he lived there.

Also, he went out from there and he built Penuel. Now, most people read this verse, Skip over it. It looks insignificant.

I suggest it's very insightful, not insignificant. Jeroboam's first move as the new king of the north is to fortify the cities that control the caravan routes north and south. Why?

According to C.F. Kyle, Old Testament scholar, he said it's to defend his sovereignty over the north against hostile attacks. You say, what's wrong with that? That's what kings do. That's normal, kingly procedure, have strong defenses. I would agree with you except what this really means for this king, for Jeroboam, is that he has failed to trust God.

Why do I say that? Because God made this king a very specific promise which we haven't read yet. Before the event of him becoming the king of the north, the ten northern tribes, God personally gives a message to him with a promise in it.

And I want you to see it. Go back one chapter, chapter 11. Look at verse 35. This is God speaking to Jeroboam by some means. God says to him, but I will take the kingdom out of his son's hands.

That's Rehoboam, son of Solomon. And give it to you, ten tribes. So God says, I'm going to give it to you.

This is my gift to you. And to his son I will give one tribe. That's Judah later on becomes two tribes. That my servant David may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for myself to put my name there. And so I will take you, and you shall reign over all your heart desires. You shall be king over Israel.

Then it shall be, now watch this, if you heed all that I command you, if you listen and you do what I say, if you walk in my ways, do what is right in my sight, 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 I will give Israel to you. How's that for a promise? How's that for a blank check?

Hey, I'm God and I'm giving you a kingdom, free. Here's the check, go cash it. You know, it's funny, if you were to come up to me and ask me to write you a check for a million dollars, I'd do it. Your problem would be when you go to the bank. I'd be happy to write you a check. If you want one afterwards, I'll write you a check. But you go to the bank, they're going to laugh at that and go, there's nothing to back it up. Insufficient funds, that's what it'll read on the computer.

Now, I know people who could write you a check for a million dollars and they have the money and more in the bank. God gives to Jeroboam a promise of an enduring kingdom. What was his failure? He didn't take it to the bank.

He didn't cash the check. He didn't trust the promise that God gave him. You can always tell how mature or immature a Christian is by how they treat the promises of God. Ask a person, what do you do with God's promise in the Bible? And if their best answer is, I underline it in yellow, you know you've got a problem.

If their answer is, I take them to the bank, then you know you've got something. A fearful, nervous believer filled with anxiety speaks volumes. They don't believe the promises of God.

A person who is calm and confident, that person also speaks volumes. I'm taking God's promise to the bank. Psalm 20, David writes, some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God. Jeremiah 17, verse 5, Joseph is the man who trusts in man and makes the flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. Jeroboam's heart departed from the Lord and it is shown by his failure to trust God's promise, which begs the question, if he failed to trust God's promise, what did he trust in? That takes us to his third mistake. He feared losing power. He failed trusting God.

In his third mistake, he followed his own heart. Look at verse 26. Then Jeroboam said what? In his... You've got your Bible open, right? He said in his heart. Jeroboam said in his heart.

Stop right there. Here's a guy mulling it over in his own heart, in his own mind, thinking about what he wants to do. It's all inward. So he said in his heart. And then go down to verse 28. Therefore the king asked advice. Before he made the two calves, he's asking people. So he takes it out of his head, out of his little heart. He's kind of thinking what to do.

Now he takes it and he asks advice, not of the best people, because he makes two golden calves. So he takes it out to them. Go down to verse 33. So he made offerings on the altar, which he had made at Bethel, on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had, watch this, devised in his own heart. Listen. Jeroboam was doing whatever felt good to him instead of what God said was good for him.

You see the difference? How many times have you heard people say, well, you've got to follow your heart. You've just got to do whatever is in your heart to do. Can I just say that's bad advice. It's always bad advice.

Why is it bad advice? Jeremiah 17, 9 declares the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?

That's Skip Hyten with a message from the series Crash and Burn. Now, here's a resource that will give you the tools you need to live in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is mysterious.

In the Bible, Jesus even said he moves like the wind. Even so, Christians are instructed to know and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and his help, counsel, and comfort, as Skip Heitzig reminds us. You can't neglect the Holy Spirit since the scripture is full of the Holy Spirit from beginning to end, from Genesis to Revelation. Not only is the Bible full of the Holy Spirit, you can be too. The Holy Spirit is a divine person who helps us. How many of you think you need all the help you can get to live your Christian life?

Yeah, I'm with you. We need help. Discover who the Holy Spirit is with Pastor Skip's DVD study, Expound Holy Spirit. And for a limited time, you can also get a copy of Lenya Heitzig's booklet called Empower, Discover Your Spiritual Gifts. Both resources are our thanks for your gift of $25 or more to help expand this Bible teaching outreach.

To give online securely, visit connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Because of Jesus' work on the cross, we can experience His love, grace, and peace. Today, you can help connect people around the world to that good news and keep these teachings you love coming to you. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift now to help others experience a new life in Christ. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you. Come back tomorrow as Skip Heitzig explores the tragic ways Jeroboam turned from God's word and God's best for his people, encouraging you to cling to Biblical truth. The only worship God accepts is the worship God directs. Do you recall that Jesus Christ said God the Father is actually looking for a certain kind of worshiper?

Remember? He says the Father is seeking those who worship Him in spirit and in truth. So we want spirited worshippers who put truth or the intensity of their own spirit into it.

That's what it means. But also in truth. And the way we know truth is by the revealed word of God.

Jeroboam forsook the word of God and followed his own heart. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection. Connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-23 05:24:03 / 2023-09-23 05:34:16 / 10

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