Altar at Tel Dan, Israel Tour, BJ Lawson,, Precept Ministries, Bible Studies

The above photo is of the site of the altar at Dan. The metal frame work is of course a reconstruction to illustrate what the altar might have looked like

Recommended Reading for today: 1 Kings 11-12

Facts about Dan

  • Was named after Jacob’s son Dan (Judges 18:29)
  • The priest Jonathan established a shrine here.( Judges 18:30)
  • When Israel split, Jeroboam ruled the Northern Kingdom (Israel), which included Dan.
  • When he feared his people would go to Jerusalem to worship and possibly return to following Rehoboam (King of the Southern Kingdom, Judah) he made golden calf idols and told the people these gods brought them from the Land of Egypt. (1 Kings 12)
  • Dan was the furthermost northern city of Israel, and Beersheba was the southern; hence the phrase “from Dan to Beersheba” meant to cover the whole country.

The Story of Dan

Solomon had started well but did not finish well. He had loved many foreign wives who turned his heart from the One true god to foreign gods. Solomon did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord. He did not follow God fully, as David his father had done. The Lord was angry because Solomon had not done what the Lord commanded. So the Lord told Solomon, “Because you have not kept my covenant and My commandments I will tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. I will not do it during your days for the sake of your father, David but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.” Sin always has its consequences.

Jeroboam was told that he would rule over all that his heart desired (1 Kings 11:37) in Israel, that is, he would have freedom to rule as he saw fit. God had promised him a dynasty as enduring as David’s if he would keep God’s commandments (1 Kgs 11:38). Unfortunately Jeroboam didn’t take God at His word – he thought God needed help. So, in order to prevent the people from worshiping in Jerusalem and possibly returning to Rehoboam, he built altars in Dan and Bethel which 1 Kings 12:20 said was sin. As if that wasn’t bad enough Jeroboam went on to dismiss the Levitical priests and replace them with new priests which he appointed. He also instituted a new feast. It was a man made religion, designed for the convenience of the people and therefore, it was not powered by God or blessed of God.

It is interesting, Jeroboam didn’t reject God’s plan nor deny it – he simply “modified” it. He adjusted it to meet his need and in doing so he led the people away from God and into idolatry.

Ask yourself:

  • Have you ever modified God’s plan to meet your need, especially when His plan didn’t seem logical? You didn’t deny it or reject it, you just “adjusted” it.
  • Have you worshipped a god of your own making?
  • Are you following God fully?
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