November 5, 2023 - Pseudo Worship

1 & 2 Kings  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:33
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In his autobiography, William Allen White related the story of a boyhood playmate, Temple Friend, who was kidnapped by the Indians when he was quite young. Ironically, Temple’s grandfather was a missionary to the Indians. The Lord’s servant persisted in believing his grandson was alive. He continued to love and serve the church. He never allowed Indian conduct to sour his spirit. When visiting an Indian village, the old man would line up the boys who would be about the age of his missing grandson, and whisper, “Temple, Temple,” quietly in the ear of each boy, so as not to excite them or the community. He followed this procedure day in and day out. Finally, he found about twelve boys the age of his grandson in one district—all eight to ten years old—and he started the same procedure. At the middle of the line a little boy’s face lighted up, and he responded, “Me Temple!”

Trust can be a powerful thing.
It can lead us to do great things ...
And 100% of the TIME - those great things - will inspire others...
OR it can lead us to shy away from doing great things...
When we think back to how things have played out so far in this book of 1 Kings...
We remember that...
Solomon - in choosing to marry - MANY - foreign women...
Decided against listening to God and His command to NOT do that...
And we remember Rehoboam - from last week - choose to ignore the opportunity to LEAD the people of Israel by becoming a Servant to the people!
In both cases, with Solomon and Rehoboam...
We see a LACK of Trust - In God.
How so with Rehoboam?
Rehoboam was Solomon’s son.
And BEING Solomon’s son - He would have experienced the WISDOM of Solomon - AND - he would have experienced the blessings that came to the people AND to Solomon - FROM that wisdom.
When Rehoboam went and asked the Old Men for counsel…Let’s look at what happened...
1 Kings 12:6 ESV
6 Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?”
When Rehoboam asked these men for their advice...
HE KNEW that they had stood before his dad - Solomon...
HE KNEW that they would give him counsel SIMILAR to that which his Father would give...
But what happens?
1 Kings 12:7–8 ESV
7 And they said to him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8 But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him.
Notice what v8 says here...
Rehoboam HEARS their advice...
AND BEFORE he even HEARS the other counsel from the young men - it says here that he...
ABANDONED the old men’s counsel..
He REJECTED their counsel!
What does that tell you?
It points to him having ALREADY made up his mind that he wasn’t going to LISTEN to them!
It points to him...
Not actually seeking COUNSEL...
But someone to AGREE with his preconceived ideas!
And so - we know what that leads to...
A Divided Kingdom!
What happened from there?
1 Kings 12:20 ESV
20 And when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. There was none that followed the house of David but the tribe of Judah only.
The people - in hearing Rehoboam’s response to their plea for help...
They sought ANOTHER king...
And they appointed one...
Jeroboam was made the new king…over all the tribes…except Judah.
So - at THIS POINT - we see a divided Kingdom.
2 Kings in place...
Rehoboam - over Judah...
And Jeroboam over the rest of Israel.
From THERE - we pick up for today...
1 Kings 12:25–33 ESV
25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. 27 If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 28 So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29 And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30 Then this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one. 31 He also made temples on high places and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not of the Levites. 32 And Jeroboam appointed a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month like the feast that was in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he had made. 33 He went up to the altar that he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he had devised from his own heart. And he instituted a feast for the people of Israel and went up to the altar to make offerings.
Here we see the account of Jeroboam…becoming King in Israel due to Rehoboam’s poor decisions...
What we’re going to see today - is something that I think - we all deal with...
And SOMETIMES - PROBABLY - not knowingly
Sometimes I wonder - when all of this is over - and I’m standing before God - How much of my WORSHIP…was - ACTUALLY worship - of God.
And HOW MUCH of it - was something else...
…based on TRUST in something other than God.
What I first want us to see - from our text today - is this...
SLIDE: Pseudo Worship: Pseudo gods

Pseudo Worship

1 Kings 12:27–28 ESV
27 If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 28 So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”
Jeroboam had an AGENDA here...
And HE KNEW - that in order for him to control the PEOPLE how he WANTED to control the people...
…he would need to - Change the Object of their worship!
And this is what he does!
He fashions 2 CALVES of Gold -
And then declares that THESE 2 CALVES - BROUGHT the people up out of Egypt!!...
And THEREFORE - are WORTHY to be praised!
WOW - right?
The problem with this - of course - is REALITY!
Exodus 13:14 ESV
14 And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery.
Judges 6:8 ESV
8 the Lord sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery.
1 Samuel 8:8 ESV
8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you.
The people of God had been told throughout their history of the mighty work of God - the TRUE God - who brought the people out of Egypt...
YET - here we see - Jeroboam changes the object of their WORSHIP!
Jeroboam actually lives out what we’ve seen before and have talked about RECENTLY...
Remember THIS about the heart?
The Truth of the Heart:
Attributes the Works of God to Man
Jeroboam needed to REROUTE the people’s worship…and so he did.
NOW - the people here are just as to blame...
they are just as accountable…to KNOW that what he was saying was false...
YET - they followed him!
- But even THIS shouldn’t have been a surprise...
It wasn’t the first time that MANKIND had gone after FALSE gods…and SETTLED for false gods.
Exodus 32:1–6 ESV
1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” 6 And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
WOW - how eerily familiar…right?
Moses had apparently been up on the mountain TOO long for the people of Israel...
And so THEY DECIDE - it made sense to just fashion a FALSE idol...
AND declare that it was THIS GOLDEN CALF that had brought them up out of EGYPT!
Now - on one hand - it boggles my mind that people would all just - GO ALONG with something they - “know” is not true...
BUT - Then I think...
Ok wait - how often do [I] - live my life as though THIS THING...
…this accomplishment
…this circumstance
…this success
is DUE to MY OWN strength...
My OWN ingenuity...
MY OWN working???
And I actually BELIEVE that it was - ALL ME!???
I do the same thing - they did.
MY HEART - is no different than the first century Jewish heart!
AND WHAT DO WE KNOW?
We know the human heart - attributes the works of God - to MAN!
Jeroboam took advantage of this - and changed the OBJECT of the people’s worship!
Jeroboam was afraid of LOSING the kingdom…and being killed!
And this FEAR - was in direct CONFLICT with what God had told Jeroboam about how all of this would play out!
Before Solomon lost the Kingdom…God spoke to Jeroboam...
1 Kings 11:29–38 ESV
29 And at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had dressed himself in a new garment, and the two of them were alone in the open country. 30 Then Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes 32 (but he shall have one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), 33 because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and they have not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my rules, as David his father did. 34 Nevertheless, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, but I will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of David my servant whom I chose, who kept my commandments and my statutes. 35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and will give it to you, ten tribes. 36 Yet to his son I will give one tribe, that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name. 37 And I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires, and you shall be king over Israel. 38 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, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.
God here - PROMISES Jeroboam - that if he follows God in this...
Keeps God’s statues…and commands..
That his house would be SURE...
And so we see - it was a LACK of TRUST on Jeroboam’s part...
Jeroboam TRUSTED in something OTHER than God.
And THIS LACK of TRUST in GOD - and Trust placed in SOMETHING ELSE -
Led Jeroboam to not only change the OBJECT of the people’s worship...
He also changed something else!
1 Kings 12:28–29 ESV
28 So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29 And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.
1 Kings 12:30 ESV
30 Then this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one.
What do we see here?
SLIDE: Pseudo Worship: Pseudo Obedience

Pseudo Worship

If we look back at v29...
1 Kings 12:29 ESV
29 And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.
1 Kings 12:30 ESV
30 Then this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one.
1 Kings 12:31 (ESV)
31 He also made temples on high places...
Jeroboam wanted to DIVERT the people AWAY from the PROPER place of worship...
The Temple in Jerusalem...
And have them go ELSEWHERE…!
NOW - was this a big deal?
BEFORE the Temple was built - High Places would be used as locations of worship...
1 Kings 3:2 ESV
2 The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of the Lord.
Solomon himself used High Places before the Temple was built
BUT - Once the temple WAS built ...
The continued USE of High Places was viewed as a DIRECT AFFRONT to Yahweh...
AND the rejection of...
Deuteronomy 12:5 ESV
5 But you shall seek the place that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go,
Let’s look at a timeline....regarding the use of High Places - IN RELATION to the building of the Temple...
The Lexham Bible Dictionary Rejection of High Places

1. Solomon worshiped at high places, since there was no temple (1 Kgs 3:2–4)

2. Solomon gains wisdom from God (1 Kgs 3:5–14)

3. Solomon abandoned high places to worship at the ark of the covenant (1 Kgs 3:15)

4. Solomon built the temple and placed the Ark within it (1 Kgs 5–8)

5. Solomon turns away from wisdom (1 Kgs 11:1–4)

6. Solomon returns to the high places, in defiance of the temple (1 Kgs 11:5–8)

AND NOW - what do we see with Jeroboam?
He NOT ONLY changes the OBJECT of worship...
He also had changed the LOCATION of worship...
And in OT times - this was a big deal!
This was about Obedience!
Jeroboam decided to MAKE temples ON High Places...
It was his own FORM of - Worship!
This was HIM deciding how he was going to Worship God...
And in his mind - God was going to ACCEPT this!
This was PSEUDO OBEDIENCE!
To the world - it had a LOOK of Righteousness...
(these people were going to a temple…)
It may have LOOKED like obedience...
(these people were making sacrifices…)
But it - WASN’T
It wasn’t PLEASING to God...
The Ark of the Covenant - was in the Temple in Jerusalem!
THAT’s where man was to DEAL with God!
All that Jeroboam set up - was a facade
Man’s attempt - to get to God - his OWN way!
But again - isn’t THAT what the heart of man does?
SLIDE:
The Truth of the Heart:
Elevates the Physical World Over Spiritual Realities
Justifies That Which Brings the Judgment of God
“Oh HEY - look - there’s a church building…GOD MUST LOVE THAT!”
“Oh HEY - Look - people going door to door sharing a message…GOD MUST LOVE THAT!”
“Oh HEY - LOOK - ALL those people giving up foods and hobbies for God - GOD MUST LOVE THAT!”
The heart of man elevates the PHYSICAL WORLD - over spiritual realities!
We’re not satisfied with the SOUL PULLED out of the grave by the POWER of a PREACHED GOSPEL!!
Instead - We want to see a lame man WALK!
A deaf EAR - HEAR
a BLIND EYE - see!
Jeroboam believed THE PHYSICAL (the bowing of the people (albeit to an idol)...
the GOING to A temple (albeit a new one)...
WOULD SUFFICE with God!
God was not pleased!
Because of the disobedience of Jeroboam.
But he wasn’t done!
Back to our text...
1 Kings 12:31 ESV
31 He also made temples on high places and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not of the Levites.
What do we see here?
SLIDE: Pseudo Worship: Pseudo Authority

Pseudo Worship

So Jeroboam decides - that if he’s going to change the object of worship...
And therefore CHANGE the place of worship...
He’s ALSO going to need to change the PRIESTHOOD...
In a sense - change the Authority of the people...
SO - couple questions:
Is this a BIG deal? Choosing his own priests…?
Why didn’t he just tell the Levite Priests to go to the NEW temple?
Well - these answers are tied together - so let’s look at some history!
You may have heard the term - Levitical Priesthood - before.
IF SO - that term - Levitical - comes from the Tribe of Levi.
The Levites
The Levites were assigned by God - to carry out Spiritual Leadership of the people of Israel...
BUT - let’s look at HOW that came to be.
Originally, it was the firstborn SONS of Israel who were to have been the priests of the Jewish nation, who would serve in the Tabernacle and in the Temple and be the spiritual leaders.
When God spared the Jewish firstborn during the Plague of the Firstborn in Egypt, He “acquired” them and designated them for this special role.
Exodus 13:1–2 ESV
1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.”
BUT - something happened...
After the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, the Jewish people made and worshipped a golden calf.
Well - a particular detail of that event - that many people may not KNOW - is...
The only tribe that did not participate in this shameful act -
...was the tribe of Levi.
Moses had just come down the mountain - SAW that the people were worshipping the Golden Calf - broke the tablets - and we read this...
Exodus 32:25–27 ESV
25 And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to the derision of their enemies), 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. 27 And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.’ ”
And so - at that time, the firstborn of Israel LOST their special role, and it was transferred to the Levites.
Numbers 8:15–16 ESV
15 And after that the Levites shall go in to serve at the tent of meeting, when you have cleansed them and offered them as a wave offering. 16 For they are wholly given to me from among the people of Israel. Instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the people of Israel, I have taken them for myself.
So here we see the transfer - TO the LEVITES...
Numbers 1:50 ESV
50 But appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furnishings, and over all that belongs to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it and shall camp around the tabernacle.
SOO - with this now in mind - let’s filter what Jeroboam did - THROUGH THIS!
he took the PLAN of God...
And turned it on it’s head!
And KNOWING that the Levites DIDN’T GO ALONG with the Golden Calf worship during the Exodus...
We can conclude that the Levites PROBABLY wouldn’t have gone along with Jeroboam’s crazy idea to JUST BEGIN worshipping in Bethel and Dan!
REMEDY? - - Pseudo Authority!
FIND people that agree with YOUR OWN ideas - and LET THEM govern you!
That’s basically YOU wanting to GOVERN yourself!
BUT AGAIN - isn’t that what we saw with the HEART of man?
SLIDE:
The Way of the Heart
Desires to Rule Itself
And this isn’t - obviously - just an OT thing...
2 Timothy 4:3 ESV
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
We ALL have an issue with this.
We ALL have presuppositions that we bring to the bible and our study of it...
The challenge is to get RID of those - and seek the meaning of original author.
And so as we look back at what we’ve seen today...
We’ve really seen - Pseudo Worship.
SUMMARY
SLIDE:
PSEUDO WORSHIP:
Pseudo gods
Pseudo Obedience
Pseudo Authority
We need to know - as fallen creatures...
We WORSHIP what we DELIGHT in...
And so - If i want to test myself in this…DO I WORSHIP OTHER gods?
The answer is in WHAT I DELIGHT IN.
If I want to worship the 1 true God - then I should think through whether I have SURRENDERED...
…my heart
…my hands
…and my feet - to the Lord.
UNDER HIS Authority...
Once I’ve done that - I will be able to avoid...
Pseudo gods
Pseudo obedience
Pseudo authority...
It’s a battle of the heart...
May God strengthen us in this battle!
Let’s Pray
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