Through the Bible Day by Day
At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.
THE BLIND PROPHET SEES JEROBOAM’S DOOM
How blind we become when we sin against our conscience! Each act of willful sin puts another shade on the window of the soul. “Their foolish heart was darkened,” Rom_1:21. Surely if the prophet were able to predict the issue of this sickness, he would be able to penetrate the mother’s disguise, although she brought only the gifts of a poor peasant woman. Jeroboam had devised this ruse, partly, because he did not wish the nation to know that he was consulting a prophet of Jehovah-an act which might invalidate his new temple and the calves, and also because he wanted to get a more favorable answer than that which he anticipated in case the prophet recognized the inquirer. We may disguise ourselves as we will, but we cannot cheat God, and no dissembling can ever turn away the arrow that speeds straight to the guilty heart.
Jewish historians say that the exception was made in Abijah’s case, 1Ki_14:13, because he interceded with his father that all Israelites who wished might be allowed to go to the feasts at Jerusalem, without being penalized. There is always discrimination in the divine judgments. How often God has brought beautiful lives out of foul surroundings, as the pure lily-cup out of a muddy pond!
And Jeroboam's wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died;
SOUTH RIVALS WORTH IN SINNING
Rehoboam’s mother’s name signifies beauty, and she may have been attractive in her person; but we are twice told that she was an Ammonitess, as if to emphasize the disastrous influence which she exercised over her son, 1Ki_14:21; 1Ki_14:31. In the earlier part of the chapter, there are tender reminiscences of David-that he kept God’s commandments, followed Him with all his heart, did what was right in His eyes. How dear is such a life to God! How He keeps it in remembrance! How He holds it up to veneration, notwithstanding a serious lapse! But this only serves by contrast to make the corruption of later times the more terrible.
The national sins compelled God to withdraw His environing protection. He no longer went out with their armies. The deterioration in the metal from gold to brass is an apt illustration of how the fine gold of character had become dimmed, Lam_4:1. To what may we not come if the grace of God is withdrawn! Well may the Apostle beseech us not to receive it in vain! When corruption sets in, the best and ripest becomes the worst. Traditional goodness-that of our parents-cannot save the soul from the inevitable drift. We must have our personal anchorage in God!