1 Kings 12:26-30
Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”
After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.
When the kingdom of Israel splits, Jeroboam has a dilemma on his hands. The people had split politically but religiously they were still Jews. He knows that worship is to be done at the temple in Jerusalem which was not a part of his kingdom. Rather than possibly lose the people he decides to trick them into staying.
Jeroboam’s solution is to create a worship that is convenient for his people. He sums up his plan by saying, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem.”
The church has to walk a fine line today. We want to remove as many barriers as possible in order for people to accept the gospel. But we need to be careful not to make church a consumer product. Many things that are done in the name of evangelism today are really thinly veiled attempts to steal people from other churches. “Come to our church because it is more convenient for you.”
God cannot be put in a box and packaged. The idea behind creating an idol is that we can make God in our own image. We don’t literally make idols today but we still do things because they make us comfortable. We like certain pastors because they speak “fire and brimstone” and really let those sinners have it. Or we like ones who remain positive and give us a good a feeling when we leave church. We need to seek to worship God the way He has prescribed and not just in ways that are comfortable or convenient for us.