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“During the reign of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, the kingdom was divided. The 10 northern tribes (Israel) bound themselves to Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, while the two southern tribes (Judah) followed Rehoboam. Jerusalem and the temple belong to the territory of Judah. The division of the kingdom was occasioned by Rehoboam's wicked oppression of the people. God raised up Jeroboam and delivered the 10 northern tribes to him, but Jeroboam soon turned away from following the Lord and caused the people of Israel to sin. It thus became a measure of the wickedness of every succeeding king of Israel who departed from the ways of David that they ‘walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin.’

The sin of Jeroboam involved a series of innovations in worship. First, he changed the ordinances of worship, making two golden calves and presenting them to the people. Second, he changed the place of worship, from the temple in Jerusalem to two great high places in Dan and Bethel, at the northern and southern extremities of his Kingdom. Third, he changed the divinely appointed offices, appointing priests from every class of people, and not of the sons of Levi. Fourth, he changed the times of worship, ordaining a feast on a day and month which he ‘devised in his own heart.’

In all of this, Jeroboam usurped God's authority over His worship. The reason for these innovations was purely pragmatic. Jeroboam feared that if the people traveled to Jerusalem to worship, they would eventually reject him and return to Rehoboam, king of Judah. In order to protect his throne, he thought it necessary to undermine the uniformity of worship. Jeroboam’s sin teaches us that:

1) It is nothing but self-interest that motivates and seeks to maintain variety in worship

2) Men are not free to invent means of worship, ordain times of worship, or create officers in God's house apart from His command

3) Innovations in worship are always presented as good and necessary developments, rather than outright rebellion against the word of God” (Comin, 96-97)

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