"It is too much for you..."
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" (1 Kgs. 12:28).
“It is too much for you…”
Who was Jeroboam to decide this? He was God’s choice to be king, he certainly had authority, but such did not give him the right to flout God’s instructions.
Since he had no love and respect for God’s Truth, what drove his decision-making process?
He was afraid. “Jeroboam said in his heart, ‘Now the kingdom might revert to the house of David’” (1 Kgs. 12:26). If the people continued to worship in Jerusalem, Jeroboam might lose his kingdom (so he believed). God had promised just the opposite.
Rather than trust God’s Word that he would have “an enduring house” like David–provided he remained faithful (1 Kgs. 11:38)–Jeroboam became more concerned with the people’s loyalty to him than his own loyalty to God.
His greater reverence for the praise of men rather than God led him to act deceitfully, luring the people to his way–the easy way.
It did not matter to him that he induced them to idolatry, gave them an unauthorized priesthood and worship, or that his own people would be victims of his ungodly leadership for generations (1 Kgs. 15:29-30).
The important thing was abating his fear by providing his people with easy religion–all for a “good cause,” of course.
Human nature hasn’t changed since Jeroboam's day. People still spring for the “easy way.” Having to “go up to Jerusalem” is still too much for too many.
So they readily welcome the counsel of men who tell them it’s okay to take “denying self” out of following Christ (Lk. 9:23), there’s no need to apply “diligence” in seeking God (Heb. 11:6), and one certainly shouldn’t “strive” to enter the narrow gate (Lk. 3:24).
Such offers are tempting, like all commercials that promise “instant results,” or every “effortless weight-loss” solution that’s ever been pitched.
I fear we may fall for the same. Jesus shows us there’s no way to coast through discipleship. “His yoke is easy and His burden is light”, but He didn’t mean there are shortcuts to rolling up our sleeves and serving God as He deserves and has commanded.
As soon as preachers and teachers find it’s "too much" to make adequate preparation for our lessons and when Bible class students find it’s "too much" to study and prepare, we’ve fallen for the easy way.
As soon as we think it’s "too much" to leave our comfortable homes to check on the sick or unfaithful, we’ve fallen for the easy way.
When a local church believes it’s "too much" to discipline the erring, we’ve fallen for the easy way.
If we’re just hoping things will work out, without making any real efforts to change or grow and serve, then we’re already on the road to apostasy.
The narrow way has never been the easy way, if it were then “many” would be following it. But the many are not, they are on a different path.
Not only is the path itself different, but it leads to a miserable, painful, and hopeless destination in eternity (Matt. 7:14).
"Going up to Jerusalem" requires self-denial, sacrifice, and hard work, but it's the way of the cross, and it’s the only way that leads home.