Some people it seems are born to do something notable. In 1 Kings 11 we read that a guy called Jeroboam was set apart for the rather tragic job of splitting Israel in two. God specifically chose him for this task, and also promised him that: “If you listen to what I tell you and follow my ways and do whatever I consider to be right, and if you obey my decrees and commands, as my servant David did, then I will always be with you. I will establish an enduring dynasty for you as I did for David, and I will give Israel to you.” (1 Kings 11:38 NLT)
Jeroboam would end up getting the majority of the kingdom - 10 of the 12 tribes! He wasn’t a descendent of king David, but due to the sin and waywardness of David’s son and heir king Solomon, God was going to punish their descendants and take away a lot of their land and power.
Jeroboam seemed to be faithful at first, doing exactly what he was asked. He risked his life by opposing Solomon, fled to Egypt to avoid being executed, and then returned to Israel, appearing in the power vacuum before the crowning of Solomon’s son Rehoboam. Jeroboam gave Rehoboam the chance to rule wisely and justly but, after listening to some bad advice, Rehoboam decided he wanted to show the people of Israel who was boss. The people rebelled and Rehoboam barely held onto just 2 of the 12 tribes.
The rest followed Jeroboam, and at that point he was at the height of his powers. At that point he should have considered why he was called by God in the first place. He was the appointed instrument by which God punished the sins of Solomon and Rehoboam. Therefore he should have been quick to humble himself before the God who had given him his exalted position as king of most of Israel. However, instead he declared independence in more ways than one, setting up idols (golden calves no less according to 1 Kings 12:28!) for the people to worship. The reason for this was that he was scared of losing people and influence by the continuation of worship and sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem (still in the hands and territory of Rehoboam in the now rival southern kingdom). The addictive aroma of power had clearly got to Jeroboam’s head, and he fell victim of it.
Now he had to face the consequences. Personal tragedy befell him, and his dynasty only lasted 3 generations before it was brutally destroyed. Jeroboam stands as an example of someone who promised much but failed due to not walking with God. We need to pay heed to this and beware the corruptive influence success and power can have on us.