Fear Always Leads Us Astray
Updated: Feb 16
1 Kings 11-14
Kings 11 -14 is the story of King Solomon, his son Rehoboam, and his enemy Jeroboam. Solomon strayed from God during his reign. He married many woman who chased after false gods. He was warned not to do this because these wives could lead him to follow after other gods. He did not listen and he did it anyway. He followed the lust in his heart rather than the words of God, his protector and promise keeper. Solomon's lust for more lead him astray and brought judgement and demise unto his heir.
"So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done"
1 Kings 11:6
God was angry with Solomon and took away a large part of his kingdom and gave it to his enemy, Jeroboam. But because of the faithfulness of Solomon's father, David, God kept a remnant to give to Solomon's son, Rehoboam.
"Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen."
1 Kings 11: 12-13
Jeroboam was an enemy of Solomon. God choose him to take over the allotted tribes. He used a prophet named Ahijah to tell Jeroboam about it. Ahijah explained that it was King Solomon's sin, disobedience, and the choice to follow other gods that brought about the removal of these tribes. God promised to bless Jeroboam and give him favor as long as he followed God's commands.
"And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house (made firm, sure, lasting), as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you." 1 Kings 11:38
Jeroboam must have forgotten this incredible promise. The words of God that Ahijah spoke to him grew weak in his mind over time. He let the voice of doubt and fear grow loud. He feared that if his people went to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple that God commanded, he would lose them to the influence of Solomon's son, Rehoboam and the people in that region. He did not trust God enough. He did not believe that his God, the God who called him and choose him, was big enough to keep their hearts.
His fear was greater than his faith and it lead him astray.
Jeroboam devised his own plan. He re-created what God had already created and established because he was afraid. He built altars and places of worship of his own, away from Jerusalem. He chose priests who were not Levites. (the tribe that God had commanded to be the priests to lead his people) He created a special festival, offered sacrifices and offerings to mimic what took place at God's temple in Jerusalem. He feared losing the people if he followed God's plan. He did not believe God's plan would work, so he devised his own.
Has your fear ever led you astray?
Does this pierce your heart like it does mine? How many times has my fear been greater than my faith? How many times have I resorted to figuring out my own way, rather than rest in Gods? Oh how I have wrestled with fear, time and again!
What does faith filled, authentic obedience look like, anyway?
The Bible tells us it looks like David. He did not let his fear triumph over his faith. He stood before a giant as a young boy with a mighty faith and a few rocks. A life of trusting God to save him from lions, enemies, and anything else that got in the way of God's plan followed. He wasn't perfect. He battled sin. But, because his heart was tender before God, he repented when he did. There were many, many times that he felt alone and afraid. The Psalms are filled with his heart's cry out to God for help. In wisdom, he feared God more than man. Because of this, He walked the path of righteousness and God honored his name even after his death. God kept a remnant of the tribes intact for David's heir because of David's faithful life.
The difference between David, Solomon, and Jeroboam is clear. David confessed and turned from his sin. God blessed him for it. Solomon thought he could dabble in sin without consequence so he continually walked toward it and it lead to his demise. Jeroboam let his fear triumph over faith and it lead him astray.
David's last words in 2 Samuel 23: 2-5
The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me:
When one rules over (leads) people in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth.
If my house were not right with God, surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part; surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me every desire.
Oh Great God of mercy and power, give me a heart like David. Let my life be a life of faith over fear, with trust and radical obedience to You and You alone. Silence the voice of the enemy and open up my ears to hear you whisper to my fearful heart. Lead me on paths of righteousness for your name's sake. Help me to obey even when I feel afraid; even when lions are chasing me; even when I don't know what to do; even when what you ask me to do is hard; even when I want to go my own way because the voice of fear is roaring loud in my head. Let my fear of You be greater still and my life echo truth and obedience like David's. In Jesus Name, Amen