“So the king took council and made two calves of gold and he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Beholds your gods, oh Israel, who brought you up out of the land of the Egypt.” And he set one in Bethel and the other he put in Dan. Then this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one. He also made temples on high places and appointed priests from among all the people who were not of the Levites. And Jeroboam appointed a feast on the 15th day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah. And he offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he had made.”
-1 Kings 12:28–32
The reason I read these few verses, this passage, is because they are a sober reminder that their first responsibility of a leader among God’s people is to lead the people to worship God alone. That is the first responsibility. It’s the first commandment, to worship God alone. And when it comes to this commandment and this responsibility, Jeroboam here and Rehoboam for that matter, utterly fails. The king sets up calves of gold and leads the people of God to worship these calves instead of God, to worship in ways that God has not prescribed, in places that God has not prescribed. And so I want you to think about your life and specifically think about any leadership or influence you have in others’ lives, in any different role or position, that the first responsibility of a leader in a church is to lead people to love God and to worship God alone.
But this is also the first responsibility of a dad in a home or a husband in a marriage and obviously that includes a wife or a mom in a home. When it comes to leadership in children’s lives, your first responsibility, more important than putting food on the table or providing for their safety or security in this world, more important than anything else in this world is leading them to worship God alone. When we think about other positions of responsibility or influence that God may put us in, maybe even just in an informal way in relationships with others, to what extent do you have influence and leadership in others’ lives? And your responsibility more than anything else in that position of influence and leadership in their lives is to exalt God alone and to the extent that you are able to lead those around you to worship God alone.
So God, we pray for each other in this. God, I pray for every single person listening right now with any level of influence or leadership in others lives, which we all, for the most part, have some kind of level, even if it’s just in the context of friendships. But God and families, in your church, may the fruit of our lives be pointing people around us to worship you alone. God, we pray that you would help us to lead our homes in such a way that you are worshiped above all, that false gods and idols in this world, whether it’s money, sports, sex, success, fame, whatever it might be. God, we pray that you would help us to lead our homes in such a way that you are being exalted by those in our homes above all. God, we pray for that in your church. We pray for leaders in your church.
Even as I pray for my own leadership in the church, God help us to lead in such a way that you are worshiped alone, that you would remove all idolatry from our churches. God, that you would use our lives to point other people to your supremacy above all. Please, please, please oh, God. Use us to lead others to worship you. Use us to share the gospel with others today, this week, that they might worship you. God, we pray that you would hear our prayers right now and that the Nuristani people of Afghanistan would come to worship you. God, help us to live every moment to spread the worship of your name through our lives, through our positions of leadership, right around us and far from us in the world that your name might be hollowed in all the earth through us. In Jesus name we pray. According to first King’s chapter 12. Amen.