Sin Repeats

Teaching lessons from the past is a big part of parenting.  We don’t want our children to make the same mistakes we made, and so we pass on the stories of our troubled younger days, in an attempt to keep our children safe, healthy, and Spirit-filled.  I know I have personally told my kids about some of the crazy (or stupid) things that I did as a teenager, in the hopes that they won’t have to learn of these errors first-hand.

Likewise, I would have thought that the story of Moses and Aaron during the time that God gave the Ten Commandments would have been a commonly-told story among the Israelite families.  And yet, we read these words:

Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David.  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.”

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, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”  One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan.  And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.

Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites.  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.  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 12:26-33

You’ve got to be kidding me – golden calves?  Again?  Wouldn’t you think that the history of the Israelites would include a reference to Aaron and Israel’s sin at the foot of Mt. Sinai in Exodus 32?  How amazing that Israel would fall into this sin yet again!  Jeroboam points to the idols and says “Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”  Do you realize that these are almost exactly the same words that the Israelite people used in Exodus 32:4 – where they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”  Wow!  This is no coincidence, but a prime example of sin repeating itself.


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