1 Kings 13:33-34
After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places…
Jeroboam had decidedly a fine start with a flattering prospect of success, a rare opportunity for excelling both temporally and spiritually. There was the promotion of the king, and by God the conditional promise of kingship, together with His guiding, protecting, and counselling presence. Permanent regnancy for himself and his children after him. Hence, having God to begin with, and God's unfailing promise to rest on, provided he fulfilled the conditions, what could he have better, what more? A grand Start! A splendid chance to march to the coveted goal of success on the very threshold of an untried life enterprise. But every fair morning does not end in a cloudless eventide; neither does every such beginning as Jeroboam had culminate in continuance in well-doing. The start may be the best part in a man's life. It was so with Jeroboam.
1. There was manifest distrust of God. Evidently he had forgotten God's promise to be with him and to establish his house and kingdom.
2. This distrust of God led to departure from God. Leaning to his own understanding, he resolved to build two altars and to make two golden calves, and place one of them at Bethel, and the other at Dan, the extreme points in his kingdom.
3. Another point which strikes us in this man's history is his despising Jehovah's warning and servant. These histories of the Bible repeat themselves in the lives around us to-day. There are many men to whom God has given a good start in life. They have been blessed with an auspicious entrance into the world, with social and religious environment most favourable and helpful, God-fearing parents, a religious training, a comfortable home, good education, business tact, common-sense views of life, and men, and things, and, above all, with Heaven's call to fellowship and godliness. Each has started right, with high aims and noble purposes. Public favour has greeted them, success has blossomed in their path of enterprise and effort, until, by sweat of brain and brawn of muscle, and the smile of Providence, they have taken a steady and straight course to wealth and position. But, as in the case of Jeroboam, temporal prosperity has been followed by spiritual degeneracy. A going up in the world has resulted in a going down in grace. Such persons, however, are not left without warning. God's ministers are commanded to prophesy against them. This is done, though it provokes anger and brings disfavour. Faithfulness ofttimes forfeits popularity and position, but it ensures the "Well done" of God. To rebuke sin in high places, to tear the mask from the face of the hypocrite, to denounce a man's pet idol — indifference, intemperance, or impurity — is like touching gunpowder with a lucifer. You must expect an explosion if not an expulsion. Persecution in some form will hound you; but fear not, for He who has said, "Touch not My anointed and do My prophets no harm," covers you with His wings, and smites your persecutors with the rod of judgment.He wastes their strength and withers their health.
1. Learn from this study of character the influence of one life.
2. Learn, too, the danger of attempting to injure God's true servants. "Whoso toucheth you, toucheth the apple of My eye."
3. Lastly, beware of the developing power of evil. The seedlings of sin finding congenial soil grow into a harvest of woe. The rill of evil first, the river of corruption at last. Jeroboam went from bad to worse. Slighting God grew into abandonment of God. Worship through the medium of symbols became rank idolatry. No man intends to become a drunkard when he lifts the first glass to his lips, but he takes the beginning step towards it. The possibilities of sin — the resources of wrong-doing pent up in every man's nature — no mind can gauge, no tongue can tell Safety alone lies in salvation from sin, salvation through the cross — full, free, eternal
(J. O. Keen, D. D.).
Parallel VersesKJV: After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.
WEB: After this thing Jeroboam didn't return from his evil way, but again made priests of the high places from among all the people. Whoever wanted to, he consecrated him, that there might be priests of the high places.