In the first reading today from 1 Kings 12 and 13, we read about Jeroboam. Jeroboam was one of the kings of Israel. He was not a good guy. More on him in a moment. In our Gospel reading from Mark 8, we read of Jesus feeding four thousand with seven loaves and a few fish. After all had eaten, there were seven baskets left over.
Like many who come into positions of power, Jeroboam was corrupt. He wanted nothing more than to maintain his power over the people. He knew that if the people went to offer sacrifices in the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, their hearts “will return to their master, Rehoboam, king of Judah, and they will kill me.” So wicked Jeroboam comes up with a plan. He manufactures two golden calves and tells the people, “Here is your God, O Israel.” Because he was their leader, the people bit.
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Jeroboam was a prime example of this. He pulls a fast one on his people, trying to divert their attention in order to keep control over them. I suppose in some measure this is natural. We have seen it play out throughout history. This always reminds me of the need to pray for our leaders, that they will be guided by God and not their own desire for power.
Father, bless those in positions of authority. Help them to remember that it is you who must be served, and not them. Amen.
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