By the word of the LORD a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. He cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD : “O altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.’ ” That same day the man of God gave a sign: “This is the sign the LORD has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out.”
Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways, but once more appointed priests for the high places from all sorts of people. Anyone who wanted to become a priest he consecrated for the high places. This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth. 1 Kings 13:1-3, 33-34
The prophet had prophesied exactly what Jeroboam was now doing. Jeroboam heard the prophesy because he was standing right there, but continued to appoint priests for the high places. Jeroboam’s hand shriveled up and he asked the prophet to intercede for him (which the Lord did), yet still it didn’t dissuade him from appointing high priest for the high places. What Jeroboam was doing was utterly detestable in God’s sight.
Often when people are in positions of power, it does something strange to them. Jeroboam knew what was right and had the power to change it. Throughout the first 19 verses of the next chapter, God reveals to Jeroboam’s wife how he will destroy Jeroboam’s line. It’s brutal.
Jeroboam and his family suffered greatly for his sin, that’s obvious. And yet God allowed him to rule for 22 years over the house of Israel.
We don’t need to go far in the world to see evil. Leaders who have no consciences and who think nothing of eliminating an entire race of people are evil. Selling young girls into prostitution is evil. Enslaving children into forced labor is evil. So why are the people who commit these evil acts allowed to exist? Why was Jeroboam allowed to reign over Israel for more time after the Lord had declared him to be evil? I don’t know. One day we’ll know (or we may never know fully). Until then, we can continue to pray against the evils of our society. Choose one of the three evils I’ve listed and ask God how you can help with that fight.