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“Toleration is all the encouragement sin needs to sink its foul roots deeper and deeper into the heart of an individual or a nation. The series of kings whose reigns are recorded in 1 Kings 16 show us the downward spiral of a nation waxing worse and worse with each successive leader. The prevailing theme of this chapter is the momentum of idolatry…

From Jeroboam to Ahab, Israel had ‘progressed’ from the misrepresentation of the True and Living God for ‘pragmatic’ reasons, to the full-blown worship of demons masquerading as false gods. A little leaven works its way through the whole lump of dough. Sin spreads like cancer which, left unchecked, soon works its way into the vital organs and spreads throughout the body. With the ascendance of Ahab to the throne of Israel, we find an escalation of wickedness with regard to worship.

One particular phrase captures and vitally important idea. Ahab is said to have acted ‘as though it had been a trivial thing to walk in the ways of Jeroboam.’ It is important to note that this comment not only points out the greater wickedness of Ahab, but also shows us that the worship innovations of Jeroboam were, in God’s eyes, certainly not a trivial matter. Many today will assert that so much concern about the details of worship is unwarranted, and that each fellowship should merely determine to do what they think is best. Such reasoning makes man’s approach to the Holy God a trivial thing, and thus falls into the error of Jeroboam…

Solomon’s words ring as true in connection with worship as they do in connection with salvation itself: ‘There is a way that seems right to a
man, but the end thereof is death.’ Certainly, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat is proof of this. And the sad record of decline in Israel, from Jeroboam to Ahab, should provide ample warning to us of the danger of pursuing a pragmatic approach to worship.” (Comin, 103-105)

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