Fear Politics by Christopher Harbin

Fear Politics
Christopher B. Harbin
1st Kings 12:26-13:3

Fear is a powerful motivator. It can protect us from harm. It can interfere with our daily lives. It can also bring us to make decisions that are not as well thought out as we might believe. Often, it is some fear that lies behind our political outlook, the policies we create and support, and even the manner in which we treat one another. It impacts our ability and willingness to be generous, to forgive, to love, to welcome, to live at peace with one another, to place our lives in submission to God. How can we even address our underlying fears, however, when we are not even sure what they are?

Jeroboam was fearful with regard to the security of his political position and ambitions. He had acted positively at one point, seeking what was best for Israel as a whole. He had sought an easing of the financial burdens upon the people at the close of Solomon's reign. He had sought release for their internal oppression. As the 10 northern tribes of Israel broke away from Solomon's son and heir, Jeroboam came to prominence, returning from exile in Egypt.

Yahweh had chosen Jeroboam to lead the northern tribes. God had initiated his rise to prominence among the northern tribes. Jeroboam was promised the same quality of blessing that Yahweh had given to David in his day. God required only that Jeroboam remain faithful to Yahweh, trusting in God's provision for his future and the blessing of Israel.

There was a problem, however. It had little to nothing to do with God. It had everything to do with Jeroboam. As Solomon before him, Jeroboam had not learned to trust Yahweh to be sufficient to meet his needs. Jeroboam was not confident that Yahweh could and would grant him the promised security in his new position of kingship. He was more troubled with the vagaries of political intrigue, the fickleness of the population, and what others might do to interfere with his reign. These fears led to ba ...


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