King Jeroboam I was one of the worst kings ever to rule over God’s people (1 Ki. 14:9). In the midst of a horrifyingly tragic account of his life, Scripture records some glorious revelation about God’s goodness in providing a light in the midst of the great darkness of this evil ruler’s life.
Tragic Sinfulness in spite of God’s Great Goodness
Because of the evil that Solomon and Judah had committed against the Lord (1 Ki. 11:1-9), God made known through the prophet Ahijah that He would “rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and [would] give ten tribes to” Jeroboam (1 Ki. 11:31). God then offered to Jeroboam a magnificent prospect if he would be righteous before the Lord:
1Ki 11:37 And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.
38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.
Through his wickedly originating false worship among Israel, Jeroboam tragically forfeited the great favor that God had offered to him (1 Ki. 12:26-33).
God sent a prophet to Jeroboam to make known the fierce judgment that would come upon him for his wickedness (1 Ki. 13:1-3). Instead of immediately repenting and pleading with God for mercy, Jeroboam sought to persecute the prophet that God had sent to him (1 Ki. 13:4a).
Jeroboam immediately experienced divine judgment upon him, resulting in his hand drying up so that he was unable to pull it back in again to him (1 Ki. 13:4b). In an amazing display of yet more favor to Jeroboam, God even restored the king’s hand when the prophet interceded for him (1 Ki. 13:6).
Instead of allowing God’s continuing goodness to him to lead him to repentance (cf. Rom. 2:4), Jeroboam tragically continued in his wicked ways (1 Ki. 13:33-34). As a result, he experienced further judgment from God (1 Ki. 14:1-18).
Amazing Favor in the Midst of Great Wickedness
Because of Jeroboam’s great wickedness, God judged him by touching the life of his son Abijah (1 Ki. 14:1). Jeroboam deceitfully sent his wife to the prophet Abijah to find out what would happen to his son (1 Ki. 14:2-16).
Through the revelation that Abijah gave to Jeroboam’s wife, God confronted Jeroboam with how he had failed wickedly to be righteous before God in spite of God’s favor to him (1 Ki. 14:7-9). In fact, God made known to Jeroboam that he had been more wicked than all who were before him (1 Ki. 14:9).
God declared His fierce judgment that would could come upon him and his household because of his great sinfulness (1 Ki. 14:10-16). God’s judgment on Jeroboam would include the death of his son Abijah (1 Ki. 14:12).
In the midst of the record of God’s great judgment that would come on this horrifically wicked king, we read that God had favored Jeroboam in an amazing way by giving him his son Abijah, in whom alone there was “found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam” (1 Ki. 14:13). This remarkable statement shows that even in the midst of the great darkness that permeated the life of this wicked king, God had given him light within his own home!
Jeroboam had the opportunity to see the truth of God through observing the life of his son. Jeroboam, however, failed tragically to behold the light that God had so graciously provided for him in his own household.
God had favored this wicked king in an amazing way even in the midst of how wicked he had been! Although Jeroboam did not profit from God’s provision of a light in the midst of great darkness of his life, we who have the privilege of reading this tragic account should allow the goodness of God that is abundantly seen in this passage to lead us to repent from all of our evil ways!