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. 1 Kings 12:28-33 E.S.V.
The first thing Jeroboam did in his reign over the break-away tribes was to set up a rival worship system.
Rather than maintaining the status quo and trusting God to keep His promise, the king resorted to the worldly wise method of imitation and substitution.
Instead of the temple at Jerusalem, he set up shrines at Dan and Beersheba, either end of the kingdom, this made them easier to reach and convenient.
All the faithful priests and Levites deserted the Northern kingdom, so he set up a priesthood of “all and sundry” in other words the riff raff and dregs.
He kept the traditional feasts at the same times during the year so that the people would be less likely to go to Jerusalem as they had always done.
The king’s major departure from the Law of God was to set up golden calves and personally offered sacrifices to them. No doubt he resorted to the usual artifice of idolatry and said that they were mere visual representatives of the true religion of Israel and the true God.
Under the guise of making the peoples religion more convenient and easier, King Jeroboam undermined all the reality and truth of God’s worship in his kingdom.
No doubt many in the kingdom felt that they were still worshipping the same true God as they had always done. Yet the truth was that God Himself, commanded the people where, when and how He was to be worshipped.
No king or priest had any authority to change or modify the fundamentals of God’s worship.
The setting up of idolatrous golden calves was a return to the pagan worship which cost Israel so dearly in the past and would do so again.
Sadly I think this kind of activity is rampant in many of the churches today.
It appears that a great deal of what is done in the life and worship of the church is done in the name of convenience and expedience with the end of accommodating the ease and comfort of believer and unbeliever alike.
Anything which may touch a nerve or offend someone’s prejudices is avoided like the plague. Our lifelong combat with remaining sin is forgotten and taking up the Cross of self denial and unworldliness is set aside for promises of your best life now.
Many scriptural truths which our protestant and evangelical forebears fought and died for are now either paid only “lip service “or ignored altogether.
The preaching and teaching of the word of God is now being diluted or removed from worship services and relegated to some other time or means, if they happens at all.
What is worse the average person in the “pew” is either oblivious or turns a blind eye to these innovations and “By –paths” which lead away from God’s revealed will.
It is “too hard” to stand up for the truth now, the personal cost is too high and it is better to get the people “in” at least “professing” Christianity, no matter how deficient in reality and genuineness.
We hear today “that as long as we are seen by God as being in Christ and clothed in his righteousness, it matters little that we remain self centered and worldly and little better than the people who make no profession of Christianity at all. God will deal with our remaining sinfulness so the church need say little about it”.
We see in the seven churches of Revelation what happens when sin in the Church is unaddressed and left to run riot. We also see the fate of those who fail to stand up for God’s truth as revealed in Scripture.
How much real Christianity and the authentic gospel of Christ will be left after the revisionists and re-decorators have finished their work?
Precious little it seems.
There are very few in the churches today that seem to have any concern about the state of Christianity or where the “evangelical” church is heading today.
Were you to judge from many of the happy, clappy church services and concerts prevalent in popular christian worship today, you would think that the only end is having a good time, ostensibly to worship God and that all in the garden is lovely.
While many of the attendees may have a social conscience and also deplore the slide of morality and decency, you seldom hear comment on these sorts of things from the pulpit.
Indeed many of the things taught and warned against by the Word of God are seldom addressed in our modern pulpits and churches.
The reasons for this are varied but mainly it is due to the fear of man supplanting the fear of God among modern professors of ?Christianity.
The overriding desire of the Church today is for relevance and numerical growth. While charitable and social work is done by the church and individual Christians is it be because these things make us more acceptable in the eyes of society.
How important it is for us to do the right things for the right end, that is the glory of God and Him alone
If Christians do stand against the evils in society and immorality they ignored as “old fashioned” or are howled down and abused.
For the churches this may mean decrease in attendance and unpopularity, the fears of which are driving much of the accommodation to the Worlds prejudices , glitz , hype and gimic attending Christian meetings.
No one likes seeing a poorly attended church service and a dying congregation. Unfortunately many of the current cures being put forth by the “prophets of our time” are worse than the disease.
The true gospel of Jesus Christ has always been unpopular.
In times past it was the “done” thing to profess Christianity and it was sociably acceptable to attend church. Very often however, Christianity could be reduced to mere good morals and respectability, devoid of any true spiritual power and reality.
Today the pendulum has swung the other way and Christianity is, at least in its Biblical form, out of favour and countenancewith the world. So the Church is under increasing pressure to “populate or perish”, regardless of the means used or concessions to the sinful “World” made.
The standouts who seek to stand for Scriptural truth and preaching and pure and unadulterated Christian worship are now the pariahs of “the Church” as well as the ungodly World.
Rather be an Athanasius standing alone, “ contra mundum” (against the world) for God’s Truth than yield to compromise in departing from it.