Like us on Facebook | Contact Us
Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

“Return to Slavery”

I Kings 12:25-33

This is a picture not only of corruption but of an implicit desire of Israel to return to the slavery of Egypt. Israel, following the death of Solomon, has basically divided into two kingdoms.  The tribes of Judah and of Benjamin are in the south where Jerusalem and the temple are located. However, the northern tribes have followed Jeroboam who led a revolt against King Solomon. Solomon, it will be recalled, ended his life worshiping idols.  God then judged him by taking his kingdom away (although not in Solomon’s lifetime).  Jeroboam’s revolt is the consequence of this.

Yet Jeroboam is hardly an answer to the problem. He’s concerned that the people of Israel will continue to go south to Jerusalem to worship in the temple.  Jerusalem at this point is being led by Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. Jeroboam comes up with a ready answer. He will make not one but two golden calves for the people of Israel to worship. Jeroboam essentially quotes from Aaron in the wilderness when he says, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough.  Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” (I Kings 12:28; Ex. 32:4).

The golden calves were in all probability off-shoots of the Egyptian fertility cow-goddess, Hathor, referred to by Hosea (Hosea 13:2). The division of the two kingdoms leads to a long line of idolatry and unfaithfulness on the part of both the north (Israel) and the south (Judah).  How could this happen?  As we have seen Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. How could he fall into such deception?

This is the reality that Matthew is confronting us with in this genealogy. The path from Abraham to Christ is not a straight line of faithfulness to God. More often than not it is a downward spiral. The depravity doesn’t happen overnight. David doesn’t go back into the battle and ends up eyeing Bathsheba. Solomon added one wife after another until he was seduced by the fertility cults.

The writer of the Hebrews warns about the dangers of drifting away (Heb. 10:23-25).  It doesn’t happen overnight. It begins one step at a time. We can easily rationalize not reading scripture, praying or attending church for a week or so. However, these things start to become habits. If David and Solomon could fall away how much more can we (I Cor. 10:6)?

Eternal and gracious God keep me from drifting. May I remain vigilant in my faith seeking to know and follow you better. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.