Writing just decades before the Northern Kingdom was taken into captivity, Amos attributed its decline to the sins of Jeroboam two centuries before (Amos 7:8-11). This is how any nation ends that doesn’t put God first. From a study Bible section on the historical situation of Amos, I’ve substituted the U.S. for Israel:
“The U.S. was enjoying great prosperity and had reached new political and military heights. It was also a time of idolatry, extravagant indulgence in luxurious living, immorality, and corruption of judicial procedures and oppression of the poor. … The U.S. at the time was politically and spiritually smug. … The nation felt sure, therefore, that she was in God’s good graces. But prosperity increased the U.S.’s religious and moral corruption.”
I. 1 Kings 11:9-40. Because Solomon had not lived up to the “if” God gave him in following His commands (1 Kings 3:14), God raised up enemies for Solomon. Among them was an ambitious man named Jeroboam, who once he heard that God was going to give him ten tribes of Israel to rule, turned against Solomon and escaped to Egypt until the crowning of Solomon’s son as king. Even though God knew the choice that Jeroboam would make, in His greatness, God still gives Jeroboam his own “if” that if followed would result in his own covenant like God had made with David. Jeroboam was faced with a choice after the prophecy came true if he would trust in God’s promise or in his own power to rule his new nation.
II. 1 Kings 12:13-32. Because he rejected God for the might of his own strength, Jeroboam needed to rewrite history, lest the people of the ten tribes of Israel he now ruled remembered that they were God’s people. So, erecting golden calves in the northern and southern reaches of his new nation, he told them that these were the gods who had really rescued them from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 32:7-10). He then assigned priests from any tribe he wanted to (based on bribes perhaps?) and even offered sacrifices himself. Jeroboam’s sins became so ingrained in the culture that the works of every evil king was compared to him, e.g. 1 Kings 22:52. There would be no dynasty for Jeroboam as he turned from God’s offer (1 Kings 15:29-30).
III. John 4:19-30. Once the prophesied split was made, Jeroboam divided his country not just from Reheboam but from David [and so ultimately Christ] (2 Samuel 7:16) and from Moses [and so the covenant with God] (Exodus 19:5-6). The Assyrians sent the Northern Kingdom off into captivity after Amos wrote. The area was resettled by a mixture of peoples, but did that mean that God was done with them? The heir of David’s covenant revealed Himself as the Christ to a Samaritan woman at a well and spoke of true worship that was soon open to all. With joy, she went away proclaiming Jesus as the Christ to any who would listen. John 15:1-17 gives us our own “if” to obey His commands and abide in Jesus.
Will we trust in God’s promise or our own power?