1 Chronicles 13.4-9 – Rebellion against the will of God.
Posted: 20 March 2013 in 1 Chronicles

And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which is in mount Ephraim, and said, Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel; Ought ye not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, is risen up, and hath rebelled against his lord. And there are gathered unto him vain men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them. And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with your golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods. Have ye not cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods.

After the northern tribes had split from the southern kingdom of Judah, they no longer had easy access to the temple in Jerusalem, and so Jeroboam created his own shrines, complete with idolatrous images, in Dan and Bethel. The author of 1 Kings clearly disapproved of this, and his reasons for doing so may have been partly political.

Nevertheless, viewed as divine revelation, the passage makes clear that men have no right to try and arrange things after their own heart (Psalm 81.11-13) and still less do they have the right to substitute idolatrous worship for the worship (free of images) which has been appointed for them by God. The universe revolves around the will of God, not the will of man, and under all circumstances, to place the latter above the former is sin. It may be no conincidence that, during the centuries which followed, the northern kingdom was almost uniquely unstable politically.

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