Ecclesiastical Policy of Jeroboam
1 Kings 12:26-33
And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:…

I. JEROBOAM'S DIFFICULTY. The difficulty was a religious one. In the northern kingdom which he had founded there was no temple — no place consecrated for offerings and sacrifices. The temple was the crowning glory of Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom, "Whither the tribes went up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel." The only place of sacrifice, the only place in which the highest religious duties could be discharged, was in the rival kingdom over which Rehoboam reigned. The hour had not yet come when "neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem should men worship the Father." It was the hour in which every devout Jew felt compelled to offer the appointed sacrifices in the appointed place. No provision could be found in Jeroboam's kingdom for the religious wants of the people. He had to rule a nation (which was nothing if it was not religious — a nation which, in former times, had been ruled by Jehovah without the aid of kings) without any of the signs of His presenced no ark, no shekinah glory, no tables of stone, no altar, no priest, no temple. Jeroboam knew full well that these were essential to the nation — that unless these religious needs were met within his own borders the people would go up to Jerusalem, they would be found within the temple of Solomon. He feared that they would be fascinated by the glory both of the city and temple; that their hearts would be drawn thither; that the rival kingdom of Judah would acquire new glory in their eyes; and that, sooner or later, they would forsake their allegiance to him and his throne, and return to the dynasty which they had so recently forsaken.

II. JEROBOAM'S REMEDY. The difficulty was very evident. The remedy was not easily to be found. It probably gave the king much anxious thought, and, when it was found, was of the kind to be expected both from his character and antecedents. Altars were reared, objects of worship were devised after the model afforded by the sacred calf of Heliopolis. The cry heard long before beneath the granite crags of Sinai was repeated: "These are thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." The feast times were altered to suit the later harvest of the more northern climate. To borrow the felicitous historical illustrations of Dean Stanley, just as Abder-rahman, Caliph of Spain, arrested the movements of his subjects to Mecca by the erection of the holy place of the Zeca at Cordova, or as Abdelmalik, because of his quarrel with the authorities at Mecca, built the dome of the rock at Jerusalem, so Jeroboam sought to rear rival seats of sacrifice in his kingdom to keep the heart, of the people from Jerusalem, and bind them more closely to his person and his throne.


1. The inconvenience of the State busying itself with religious matters. The true policy of Jeroboam would have been to have left religion alone. He had been called to the throne for political purposes. After all, the root of the whole mischief is to be found in want of faith. Assuredly it was thus with Jeroboam. On two distinct occasions, by symbolic but most expressive methods, he had received the assurance that over the ten tribes he would be called to be king. He knew that "the thing was from the Lord." This religious difficulty met him, it is true, at the very opening of his reign. Why could he not leave it in Jehovah's hands? Why could he not fill the throne assured that God would provide for the Church? Why could he not believe that called to the throne he would be preserved therein, although the people did go year by year to sacrifice in the rival kingdom? It is thus in our day. Men are filled with all manner of fear if this union be not preserved. Why cannot we believe that God will provide for His Church, and that the more she trusts in Him and the less in men, the stronger she will be for her work?

2. The evil of preferring policy to principle. Policy lay at the root of Jeroboam's mischief Although he hid lived in Egypt, he belonged to the chosen race, and was ignorant neither of its history nor laws. Policy is a word too often on men's lips. The very commonness of its use is significant of the prevalence of the thought. To many minds it is quite sufficient to dissuade from a course of action to say it is not good policy. If right go with policy, all is well; if right part company with policy, right pleads in vain. The men who range themselves fearlessly under the banner of truth, who adopt the motto of our great English orator and statesman, "Be just, and fear not," are regarded as dangerous men. The cry needs to be heard, "Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait on Thee." The conviction needs to take strong hold of our spirit, "Thou desirest truth in the inward parts." We need to .listen to the words of our great Poet, words which sound like an echo of the voice of prophet and apostle, words filled with the spirit of Him who came to bear witness to the Truth —

To thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

(W. G. Horder.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:

WEB: Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now the kingdom will return to the house of David.

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