In order to set the stage for our topic of discussion in this article, we wish to briefly discuss an event that took place at the beginning of the divided kingdom of the Old Testament. After the death of Solomon, Rehoboam, his son, succeeded him on the throne of Israel (I Kings 11:43). However, because of a poor decision on Rehoboam’s part, ten of the twelve tribes rebelled against him, refusing to submit themselves to his rule and selected Jeroboam as their king (I Kings 12:16-17). Jeroboam began to reason that if those under his rule were to return to Jerusalem to worship in the temple as the Jews were charged to do by God, that they would gradually turn back and serve Rehoboam (I Kings 12:27). His solution is found in I Kings 12:28-30. “Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan”. Thus, the tool Jeroboam used was “convenience”. He made it easy for the people by providing a substitute to what God had commanded. The problem with this is that he had no authority from God to change God’s requirements. The choice they really had was that of conviction or convenience. Conviction required them to do as God commanded. Convenience called for that which God was opposed to.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves” (II Corinthians 13:5). It would do each and every accountable person today well to do that very thing, examine themselves to see if they truly are in the faith. In fact, many have fallen prey to Rehoboam’s plan and have accepted convenience over conviction. Let us consider a few example of this in action.
The word of God clearly teaches that the Lord build His church (Matt. 16:18), that He is the head of it (Col. 1:18), that the Lord adds the saved to it (Acts 2:47; I Corinthians 12:18) and that there is only one such church (Eph. 4:4; I Corinthians 12:20). For many this is too difficult, too restraining, and too narrow-minded for their taste. It may be too much trouble to search and study the scriptures to determine just where that church exists and may even require a bit more time and distance to be a part of it, yet God’s commands have not been changed and no man or group that have started a church had the authority from God to do so. Those who find the convenience too appealing to resist, are no different than those who ignored conviction and succumbed to the convenience of worshipping two golden calves, one in Dan and the other in Bethel.
Another example is seen in the life one must live as a child of God. Conviction, based upon the word of God, requires a number of things. It requires purity of life, it requires diligence in service and it requires conviction of the truth. Yet, one can easily find a preacher somewhere nearby that will tell them that they don’t have to go to all that trouble in order to please God. A little drinking, a little gambling and a little infidelity are to be expected. After all, we all sin don’t we? That is the route taken by Jeroboam and his followers. That is the route of convenience rather than conviction. A preacher can be found that will condone one worshipping God only once in a while, maybe on special holidays and such. And, go ahead and make it entertaining rather than “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). After all, if it’s from the heart, it must be pleasing to God. Never mind that God said that the only authorized reason for one to divorce and remarry is fornication (Matt. 19:9), many are the preachers that will say, go ahead and divorce and remarry for most any cause. Surely, God wants you to be happy.
Friends, it’s about time that we all wake up and realize that God says what He means and means what He says. If one cannot trust God when He says, “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (I Corinthians 6:9-10), then one cannot trust God when He says that the righteous shall enter into eternal life (Matt. 25:46). Let us not fall prey to Jeroboam’s plan to keep us separated from God by following that which is convenient, easy and leads to eternal damnation. Remember, “Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). It’s really easy to go to hell, but if you want to go to heaven, you will have to walk the way the Lord has instructed (I John 1:7). (Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.