Pastor Lorenzo Neal

 In the previous post, we discussed the story of a young king who chose to listen to bad advice rather than that of sound wisdom. We learned of how that turned out in a negative way for him. In this same story in I Kings 12-13, we see the antithesis of Rehoboam’s story. Rehoboam received the word of God from the prophet Shemaiah and repented and fared well in the sight of the Lord. There on the flip side was Jeroboam. An exiled advisor made king did something horrible in the sight of the Lord because of pride. He led the people of Israel into idolatry. He was afraid that if the people kept going to Jerusalem to worship at the temple there, they would actually decide to make Rehoboam king again and turn against him and kill him. He decided to build two “alternative” worship sites at Bethel (the House of God) and Dan (a judge).  He also made priests of people who were not of the Levitical line to make sacrifices. It was a sin and the people traveled as far as Dan to participate in his sin. He built temple centers in the high mountains where he thought God would approve and let the people fall into sin on a regular basis by imitating a festival held in Judah during a different month that was more convenient for him and his people.

There is a clear distinction between the actions of the two rulers mentioned in this biblical story. Both were driven by pride to actions that both displeased God and brought some kind of harm to themselves or the ones they loved. Pride is as simple as not being willing to let God be God in your life. Learning from the sin of pride is this: Looking in the mirror and not forgetting what you look like (James 1:22-23). No one likes being embarrassed or shuffled aside because of being disgraced by pride. Proverbs records that pride always comes before a fall but humility is rewarded. Both men had opportunities to learn from their pride and repent and start over, but only one fully redeemed that opportunity.

Even as I’m writing this, I’ve had to repent of pride. I like most professional speakers have an official bio. While sending my bio for an upcoming engagement, I was inquiring about the other speakers with whom I would be sharing the roster. The more I learned about them, the more I began comparing myself to them. It was an exercise in pride that I encourage no one to engage in. Today, we must examine ourselves and see where we’ve allowed pride to overtake us and how we may have done like Jeroboam and led others astray because of our pride. It is never too late to remember how gracious God is towards us and how many opportunities He affords us to turn away from that which gets us entangled in the yoke of pride. We must be willing to sacrifice ourselves, our souls, and our bodies so that we will not be guilty of acting in pride.

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