THE APPEAL OF IDOLS
The Golden Age for Israel was during the reigns of King David and King Solomon. David defeated the nations around Israel and provided military security. Solomon continued this process through his wisdom and through diplomatic efforts. When Solomon died, his son Reheboam caused the division of Israel into the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. The Southern Kingdom was led by the Tribe of Judah (from which we get the term “Jews”) and included the Holy City of Jerusalem. The Northern Kingdom became known as Israel and was led by the Tribe of Ephraim.
Jereboam became king of the Northern Kingdom. In order to prevent the people from going back to Jerusalem where the Temple was located to worship, and possibly defect from him, Jereboam set up two golden calves in Bethel and Dan for the people to worship.
Was he not familiar with the story of the Golden Calf in Exodus ?!?!?
As a result of the efforts of Jereboam, the people of the Northern Kingdom, Israel, became idolaters. The Life Application Study Bible (Tynedale House Publishers) has commentary on the idolatry of those times. Here are some of their comments as to why God’s people gave in to idol worship:
The people wanted freedom from the authority of both God and the priests. They wanted their religion to fit their life-style, not their life-style to fit their religion.
Idol worship exalted sensuality without responsibility or guilt. People acted out the vicious and sensuous personalities of the gods they worshiped, thus gaining approval for their degraded lives.
Humanity was reduced to little more than animals. The people did not have to be viewed as unique individuals but could be exploited sexually, politically, and economically.
Praise and Popularity
The high and holy nature of God was replaced by gods who were more a reflection of human nature, thus more culturally suitable to the people. These gods no longer required sacrifice, just a token of appeasement.
As societies change, they often throw out norms and values no longer considered necessary or acceptable. Believers must be careful not to follow society’s example if it discards God’s Word. When society does that, only godlessness and evil remain.
Sadly, it is not difficult to see our current society in the descriptions above. I am so thankful that the Lord is patient. We, as a nation, have turned our backs on God for many years. I wonder how long He will remain patient with us? Praise His wonderful name, always.