1 Kings 12:25-33

Talks for Growing Christians

The Ungodly Deeds of Jeroboam I

1 Kings 12:25-33

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Lesson Number 17

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Leaders of the people of God must be measured by scripture.
  2. Changes in the worship of God must be monitored by scripture.

Practical Application

  1. Watch out for incremental departure from the Lord.


  1. Name the two kingdoms of Israel when the monarchy came to an end. Who were the first kings of this divided kingdom? Throughout their history, how many kings ruled in each of these kingdoms? How many were good kings and how many were bad kings?
  2. What other name did the northern kingdom go by in the Old Testament? Why was it sometimes known by this name?
  3. Why did some of the Jews continue to worship at the temple in Jerusalem when there were altars in the north?
  4. Define “worship.”


  1. Jeroboam I was the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, was the first king of the southern kingdom of Judah. Nineteen kings would come to the throne in the northern kingdom. They were all bad kings. Twenty kings would reign over the southern kingdom. Most of these were bad kings, but eight were good.
  2. The northern kingdom of Israel was sometimes known in the Old Testament as Ephraim. It was known as Ephraim because Ephraim was the largest tribe in the north.
  3. Because they set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel at the true temple of the Lord in Jerusalem.
  4. Worship is defined as praising and thanking God for who He is and what He has done and is doing and what He will do.


  1. The secular press of the day and secular historians would have considered Jeroboam a pretty good king. He successfully rallied ten tribes in Israel and started the northern kingdom, reigning for twenty-one years and founding a kingdom that would last for 200 years. But the secular media is not the last word – then or today. God has the last word and good leaders are determined by how they measure up to scripture. Jeroboam was a terrible king when measured by scripture. He sponsored and condoned idolatry; he persuaded people to go up to the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem; he made the golden calf idols. Israel was God’s people, but Jeroboam led them into sin. What a terrible testimony! How about the leaders of God’s people today? Many are considered good leaders because of their large following, but how do they measure up to scripture? Do they preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ or do they water it down to please the people? Do they discipline sin in their churches or ministries? Are they above reproach when it comes to sexual conduct? Are they free from the love of money and the sin of materialism? Measure the leaders of the people of God by scripture.
  2. If the changes in worship initiated by Jeroboam had been monitored by scripture, they would never have continued. The shrines would have been closed down; sacrifices would have ceased; the new feast would not be celebrated; the priests would be thrown out of office. All of these changes in worship were contrary to the scriptures. Unfortunately, Jeroboam’s changes in worship were not monitored by scripture, and the northern kingdom continued on their downward departure from the Lord. How about today? Are changes monitored by scripture? Worship can be defined as praising and thanking God for who He is and what He has done and is doing and what He will do. Think of the many areas and forms of worship – praying, singing, meditations of scripture. Some are structured and some are not. Some are traditional and some are spontaneous. Be sure that changes in worship are monitored by scripture – that they give God the glory. Remember, idolatry is not only the worship of false gods, but the unscriptural worship of the true God. And remember that God gives latitude in those worshiping with a true heart.


  1. When King Jeroboam I set up golden calf shrines at Dan and Bethel, he probably did not issue a command that all worship of the Lord should cease. But this was a step of departure away from the Lord. He continued to lead the people away from the Lord with his idolatrous “worship.” Little by little the northern kingdom continued their downward slide. Departure from the Lord is usually not in one big step, but little by little. Reality check in your personal life: Do you continue to start each day with a Quiet Time? Do you love meeting with other believers? Are you moving from a robust service to the Lord to token service, or even perhaps no service? Where are you now in your worship of the Lord? Watch out for incremental departure from the Lord.

Key Verses

  • “Jeroboam said in his heart, ‘If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house f the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. 1 Kings 12:26-27
  • “…the king made two calves of gold, and said to the people, ‘Here are your gods, O Israel’, and he set one in Bethel and the other in Dan.” 1 Kings 12:28-29
  • “Jeroboam made shrines on the high places…and made priests who were not of the sons of Levi,…and he ordained a feast like the feast that was in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altars to the calves he had made…so he devised in his own heart.” 1 Kings 12:31-33

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