Recently I've begun to read through the stories of the Old Testament. A recurring theme keeps popping up - fear. I've now come to the story of Jeroboam. Here again we see the terrible results of fear, when it is allowed to take hold in someone's heart. Fear of future revolt (i.e. lack of faith in God to protect him) led Jeroboam to erect "high places" of false worship, with idols and common priests (non-Levites), and establish his own day of worship for the people. Really, Jeroboam? You saw nothing wrong with this??!? And in all this he supposed he was worshipping God. You'd think he would have taken a clue when the Levites refused to be priests over these "high places" he had built. But no. Fear had blinded him until he had no more discernment. How frightful! And not only that, but his continued journey on this path led him eventually to despise the messenger of the Lord sent to rebuke him. And not only did Jeroboam despise this messenger, he also intended probably to have him killed!!! ("Lay hold on him" was Jeroboam's command.) Perhaps he was thinking, "How dare you find fault with my way of worshiping God?!" So caught up in his own self-righteousness, he could not perceive or discern the voice of God or the signs of His displeasure. How terribly frightful indeed... Who would think that such a "little" thing as fear could lead to such appalling results and consequences? Who would conceive of its power to blind a person so thoroughly? O Lord, deliver me from my own fears!!!!