What If, If Only

 I think we finally slept in a little later than 5:00 a.m. this morning. I have been online today completing some forms requiring medical information. It is interesting to review doctor visits, hospitalizations, medications, surgeries and tests that have taken place since last July. When I was in the Long Term Acute Care unit of Northern Colorado Rehab Hospital it felt like I was getting daily visits from the x-ray technicians and lab people drawing blood.

The IV antibiotics that I am on will continue until next Sunday. After that the PIC line will be taken out and I will finally be back to having my arms and chest free of tubing. However, as I have mentioned before the adjustment to the twice a day dose has work out well and isn’t an inconvenience.

Reading through Old Testament history there are critical points in an individual’s life that has a significant impact on that individual and even the history of Israel. I have made some observations about King Saul.There were some significant points of disobedience that caused God to reject his leadership and look for a “man after his own heart” to lead Israel.

We see that King Solomon’s heart was drawn away by his foreign wives. As a result he did not follow the Lord whole-heartedly and began to erect altars to these foreign gods and followed is wives in offering sacrifices on those altars. As a result, God’s judgment came against the reign of Solomon and Israel became a divided kingdom.

Jeroboam became King of Israel (the northern kingdom).Ten tribes out of 12 were under his rule. The prophet spoke to Jeroboam and told him how Solomon had sinned by building altars to other gods and not following after the Lord. His promise to Jeroboam was clear:

“I will choose you so that you can rule everything you desire. You will be king of Israel. If you will do all I command you, follow my ways, and do what I consider right by obeying my laws and commands as my servant David did, then I will be with you. I will build a permanent dynasty for you as I did for David. And I will give you Israel.” (1 Kings 12:37,38)

The Lord kept Rehoboam from attacking Israel in an attempt to overthrow Jeroboam and reunite Israel. Jeroboam began securing his reign and kingdom, but as he did he began to become insecure and worried about the stability of his reign, forgetting the promise of God.

“He said to himself, “The kingdom will probably return to David’s dynasty now. King Rehoboam of Judah, the former master of these people, will regain popularity if they go to sacrifice in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem. Then they will kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.” After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said, “You’ve been worshiping in Jerusalem long enough. Israel, here are your gods who brought you out of Egypt.”  He put one in Bethel and the other in Dan.  Worshiping them became Israel’s sin.    (1 Kings 13:26-30)

So here we go with the golden calves again! Perhaps in a King Saul rationale Jeroboam thought, “I’m not like Solomon building altars to other foreign gods, I’m just making up my own gods.” We don’t know. We do know he “sought advice” and that the people of Israel seemed to be compliant in the new gods and forms of worship Jeroboam established.

King Jeroboam in attempting to secure his kingdom through human wisdom received God’s judgment on his reign and family. However, his actions not only impacted his life but the golden calves in the northern and southern part of the kingdom became the source of continued idolatry for several hundreds of years. “The sin of Jeroboam” became synonymous with idolatry and disobedience, instead of honoring God and a legacy of an enduring reign.

What if Jeroboam would have trust God? How different the future of Israel would have been. If only he would have remembered the Word of the Lord and clung to God’s promises consider the suffering and wars that could have been avoided. Obedience to God helps avoid the greatest regrets of life.

(Tomorrow I will share some concluding thoughts on these events)