Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 14-15
Today’s Reflection: 1 Kings 14:5-6
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 was Jeroboam sending his wife to the prophet Ahijah pretending to be someone else? The story is a sad one. Jeroboam had been a servant of Solomon when he was king of Israel. Solomon recognized that Jeroboam was a capable leader and had promoted him to oversee all of Israel’s forced labour. During this time the prophet Ahijah had prophesied that Jeroboam would become greater still. He had met Jeroboam just outside of Jerusalem, taken his brand new garment and torn it into 12 pieces, telling Jeroboam to choose 10 of them. Ahijah told Jeroboam that the Lord had chosen him to become king of 10 tribes of Israel (1 Kings 11:26-31). After Solomon’s son Rehoboam became king and quickly lost control of the nation by treating the people harshly and disrespectfully, this is exactly what happened. The nation of Israel was torn in two, with Rehoboam remaining king of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, but the other ten tribes coming under the rule of Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:16-24).
After God had elevated him from obscurity to such a high position, you would think Jeroboam would be grateful and completely faithful to God. But there was something that concerned Jeroboam more than obeying God, and it was holding onto the power he now had. The temple where the people went to sacrifice to the Lord still remained in Rehoboam’s territory. Jeroboam feared the people constantly journeying to Jerusalem would eventually turn their hearts back to Rehoboam’s rule. So did Jeroboam pray to God for an answer to this problem? No. He just created his own religion. He made two golden calves for people to sacrifice and bow down to, calling them the gods who had rescued their ancestors from slavery in Egypt (recall this same sin that cost more than 3,000 Israelites their lives previously—Exodus 32). He built worship shrines in the high places, like the pagans. He even ignored the words of the prophet sent to warn him of God’s judgment against him (1 Kings 13:1-10). But the one thing he couldn’t ignore was when his beloved son, Abijah, became deathly ill.
After spending so much time worshiping useless idols, when this tragedy struck Jeroboam knew exactly where to go—back to Ahijah, the very prophet of God who had told him he would become king in the first place. But because of their sins of idolatry he couldn’t go himself, so Jeroboam sent his wife in disguise. God told Ahijah who was coming to see him, showing Jeroboam and his wife that no one can hide from God’s sight. But the more important point here is how after using idols to secure his power, when something truly precious was at stake Jeroboam knew there was no where to go but to the one true God. And I suspect this is something many more people know than we would suspect.
Years ago, I had a good friend who was also an atheist. She had all kinds of sophisticated answers for why she didn’t believe in God, thought evolution could explain life on earth, didn’t believe there was such a thing as sin or a need for Christian morality, and didn’t see the need for life after death. I disagreed with her, but never tried to berate her with my own beliefs. I just quietly lived my faith to the best of my ability. One day over dinner, she shared that her new baby niece had been born with a heart defect and needed surgery. As she finished her story, she looked down at the table and paused, then asked if when I prayed if I could remember her niece and her family. Of course I said yes. But I was also amazed. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been.
When it comes to lifestyle and personal choice, it’s easy to dismiss God so we can live life the way we want to. But in matters of life and death crisis, suddenly the philosophies of atheism and the science of evolution hold no comfort and offer no solace. There is no hope to be found in theories that say our existence is essentially a cosmic accident, that our lives and ultimately our deaths are meaningless. But there is in each of us the knowing that there is something more, something beyond what we can see. God has put the ability to recognize Him into every human heart, so there is no point trying to deny Him. Eventually everyone comes to the point where they must admit that God is real.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Romans 14:11 – For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”