1 Kings 12:30-33
It didn’t start as a sin, at least not for the people of Israel. They were searching for a leader and wanted to be loyal subjects. Their new king Jeroboam made some statues, then placed them at Bethel and Dan. The people watched this happen, and then they fell in line and worshiped. The problem was that the people never contemplated, meditated, or evaluated, but simply followed.
This thing became a sin (v. 30). What starts as a thoughtless action becomes an act of idolatry. What begins as a political strategy becomes religious mockery. King Jeroboam bears an awful burden for misleading the masses, but the people cannot claim innocence either. The Bible gives no indication that this idol worship was enforced, only encouraged.
If you and I were there at Bethel so long ago, we would not be wearing the crown. We would be standing in the crowds. A question haunts me: would I speak up and speak out, or would I just go along to get along?
English philosopher Edmund Burke’s quote, often associated with the Holocaust, reminds us, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing.”
Silence in the face of evil or injustice is a sin. We have a perfect villain in this story. King Jeroboam plays that part. What is missing is a hero who will emerge to stand for what is right in the face of all that is wrong.
Their world needed heroes. Our world does too.
What is broken or wrong in your country and your community? How can you work to make this right?
God, grant me the vision to see sin, the courage to confront it, and the boldness to seek justice. Amen.