Rehoboam Worship Services Versus Jeroboam Worship Services
25 Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel.[c]
26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”
28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.[d]
31 Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made.
33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings. (1 Kings 12: 25-33 - New International Version)
Although Rehoboam was responsible in pushing the people away from himself, the people should not have left the prescribed worship and worship location that was given to them under the direction and guidance of the Lord under Solomon. Jeroboam definitely was not guided by the Lord in setting up the worship he instituted for the people.
Looking at the motivations and results of the Jeroboam worship beguilement we can see some of the same motivations in modern day pastors and their worship services. Let us examine some of these from the Scripture verses above and draw parallels to modern day worship services and the Jeroboam like motivations and results we observe in them.
In verse twenty seven we see that Jeroboam was worried about losing control and losing his "congregation" to Rehoboam. In the same way, one of the strongest fears that motivates many pastors is the fear of losing control and losing church members. It is this fear that greatly influences key things having to do with the worship service.
In verse twenty eight the results of this fear of losing control and losing members results in false worship provision. The golden calves represent man made worship. They represent false worship services that are designed with man in mind and not designed for the Lord himself. The king also appeals to convenience and encourages laziness by telling the people that it is too much for them to go up to Jerusalem. So he gives them easy worship.
How similar is this to the McDonalds worship services of today. The pastor fears losing members so they make the worship services short and sweet and designed for the consumer who desires a "get and go grocery church" that does not cost them too much time. Perhaps in doing so the pastor reasons that the people will not leave and go to another church. Do you see the Jeroboam motivations in what I just described?
Look at verse thirty one. It says that Jeroboam appointed priests from all sorts of people even though they were not Levites. The parallels we can draw from this may amaze you. When pastors withdraw worship from God's appointed way of having the priesthood of all believers involved and singing, they will instead hire a worship band from outside of the congregation of true priests, and by doing so add to the man made performance of their church to satisfy those who desire a golden calf worship that looks good from the outside.