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advice of “the old men that stood before Solomon, his father;" but when they told him it would be best to shew mercy and kindness, he paid no attention to their words, but was guided by the young men, who were his own companions, and who had grown up with him; thus he turned the hearts of the people away from him, and the consequence was, that ten of the tribes of Israel rebelled against him, only the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin remaining faithful to the grandson of David.
Thus it often happens, when we nego lect the advice of those older and wiser than ourselves, and follow our own fancies, that we have cause to repent our obstinacy, and wish that we had listened to the words of those who would have proved themselves better able to guide us, than we were to guide ourselves.
Jeroboam was chosen king over the ten tribes of Israel, which you will find spoken of in the Bible as the kingdom of Israel, while the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin are called the kingdom of Judah. Jeroboam, king of Israel, was afraid when the time came round for the people to go up to Jerusalem and worship in the temple, that the sight of their
holy places, and the remembrance of Solomon, and David his father, would cause them to forsake him, and return again to Rehoboam; to prevent this, he acted very wickedly, in setting up two images, and telling the people they were the gods whom they should worship, and who brought them up out of the land of Egypt. This greatly displeased the Almighty, who sent one of His prophets out of Judah to reprove his idolatry: the man of God reached the altar while Jeroboam was standing there burning incense; “And he cried against the altar in the words of the Lord, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord, Behold a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name, and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the Lord hath spoken; behold the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out." When the king, Jeroboam, heard the saying of the man of God, he commanded him to be seized, and he put out his hand from him, saying, “Lay hold on him:" and God caused his hand to wither, so
that he could not draw it back again; “the altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.”
Then the king said unto the prophet, “Intreat now the face of the Lord thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again; and the man of God besought the Lord, and the king's hand was restored to him again, and became as it was before.” This was a full proof that what the prophet said was indeed true. In the course of a few years, a young king, named Josiah, came to the throne, and he feared the Lord, walked in His ways, and did all that the man of God had said concerning him.
The book of Kings contains a dark picture of this people, for whom the Lord had done such great and wonderful works: it affords many striking instances of the mercy, and also of the just anger of a God of truth,—and it would lead us to wonder how a people who had been so mercifully taken care of from their very earliest history, could ever forget the one true God to whom they owed every thing they possessed, and give themselves up to worship idols; forsaking Him who
had kept their ancestor, Jacob, alive in famine;(29) who had protected Joseph when in Egypt; who had brought them up from the land of their captivity; and who had daily kept them alive since. We might wonder how they could shew such ingratitude, did we not remember that man is of himself much inclined to do wrong, and apt to be led into temptation: and let us, before we condemn this people, ask ourselves whether we are, in reality, much less to blame than they were; whether we do not possess the same obstinate spirit of disobedience, causing us to disobey our parents or teachers, which prompted them to rebel against the Lord; and although we call Him our God, and pray to him daily as our Heavenly Father, do we not often forget Him, and prove, by our actions, that the Lord is not in all our thoughts? Let us never be willing to blame others, or confident in our own strength, for it is only as we trust in God, and pray to Him to enable us to do what is right, that we can hope to conquer our evil tempers, and walk in the ways of the Lord. Humility is very pleasing in the Divine sight; the proud heart God will bring low, but the humble He will teach of His ways.
The Almighty does not appear to have forsaken His people, even when they had wandered so far from the right path as to call the idol Baal their god; for we read of His sending His prophets among them; and one of these, whose name was Elijah, was sent by his God to king Ahab, to prophesy that there should not be any dew or rain upon the earth for several years, as a punishment for the sins of the people and their leaders. At this Ahab was very angry, and sought after Elijah to take away his life; but the “word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.” The prophet did as he was commanded, and sought for shelter by the little brook, which gave him drink when he stood in need of it; and God did not let him want for food, for he was fed by the ravens, who brought him bread and meat morning and evening. Thus, although he had