“I am charged with unbearable news for you. Go, tell Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over my people Israel and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, and yet you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my eyes, but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back, therefore behold, I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both bond and free in Israel, and will burn up the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone. Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat, for the Lord has spoken it.”’ Arise therefore, go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the child shall die. And all Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found something pleasing to the Lord, the God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam. Moreover, the Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam today. And henceforth, the Lord will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger. And he will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he sinned and made Israel to sin.”
Then Jeroboam’s wife arose and departed and came to Tirzah. And as she came to the threshold of the house, the child died. And all Israel buried him and mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by his servant Ahijah the prophet. I Kings 14:6b-18 ESV
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books,according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15 ESV
After World War II, there were some international court trials against men who had done some evil things that had caused death and horrible suffering to many people. These trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany, and in 1945 and 1946 twenty-two men were brought before the court for their war crimes. Three of them were found not guilty, but the rest were found guilty. The ones who were found guilty had to face the sentence the court gave them. Twelve of them were given the death sentence, and the rest were given a jail sentence, some for ten years or more, and some for the rest of their lives. They paid the penalty given them for the wrongs they had done.
God spoke through the prophet Ahijah to give a sentence to Jeroboam and his family. They had turned away from God to worship false gods and goddesses, and had ignored the stern warning of the man of God from the southern kingdom. Because they had rejected God, he would take their dynasty away from them and end their family line through violence and war. The family would not continue to rule over the kingdom of Israel. Jeroboam’s wife would have felt very sad to know that she would not see her sick son again, but that he would die as soon as she came back home. But there was a little comfort there, if she was willing to see it. God had mercy on this one son, and gave him a peaceful death and an honorable burial. His mother could have taken comfort in God’s favor to this son.
We all will face God’s judgment someday, and the sentence for sin and rebellion against God will be death and separation from God forever. On our own we have no hope of escaping this terrible judgment, but God has given us his mercy and favor. He loves us and sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus took our sentence of punishment and death on himself, and because of this, we don’t have to be afraid of God’s punishment. Through our Baptism and our faith in Jesus, our names are written in the book of life, and instead of a death sentence we will live forever with God in his heavenly kingdom.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your mercy and favor through your Son Jesus. In His Name, Amen.