Then Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam the son of Nebat, … rebelled against the king.
The man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; …
…the Prophet Ahijah … took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you (but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth …, Chemosh …, and Milcom …, and have not walked in My ways … as did his father David.
And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: … to … Rehoboam king of Judah, …
Therefore [Jeroboam] … made two calves of gold, … one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. … He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi.
Jeroboam …offered sacrifices on the altar… and burned incense.
… a man of God went from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD, and … cried out … “O altar, altar! Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you.'” And he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign which the LORD has spoken: Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out.”
The altar also was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. (1 Kings 11:26-33, 12:26-33, 13:1-3,5, NKJV)
Because of Solomon’s idolatry, the Lord pronounced judgment on him and the nation of Israel: the division of Israel, with ten tribes being given to Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and the other two being retained by the descendants of Solomon for the sake of David, his faithful father. However, even though the Lord had sent the Prophet Ahijah to him, Jeroboam failed to continue to act in faith, and resorted to establishing idolatry in the new nation, in an effort to prevent the nation of Israel returning to submission to Rehoboam, the son of Solomon.
Jeroboam set up idols, built altars for worshiping them, and established priests, to minister before those idols, from every tribe in Israel except Levi (the only tribe the Lord had ordained to be ministers and priests before Him). In fact, Jeroboam was far worse than Solomon, in his pursuit of idolatry, even though it was because of Solomon’s idolatry that Jeroboam had been established as king over the ten northern tribes.
Since Jeroboam had acted unfaithfully in spite of the Lord’s instruction, the Lord sent an unnamed prophet to him to pronounce judgment on him, his descendants, the altars he had built, the idols he had set up, and the priests he had installed. Most of these judgments were to come from Josiah, a king of Judah, who wouldn’t even be born for another 325 years.
As confirmation of the unnamed Prophet’s words, the altar split and Jeroboam’s hand withered as he angrily pointed at the prophet. His hand was subsequently restored after he begged the prophet to intercede for him.
So what do Jeroboam and the unnamed Prophet, teach us about faith? First, the Lord expects us to respond in faith to every prophetic word given. Second, the Lord condemns faithlessness. Third, the Lord provides confirmation of many prophetic words in an effort to increase our faith. Fourth, prophetic words uttered in faith will be upheld by the Lord, in His time. Fifth, the future is never a mystery to the Lord, so we should respond in faith in all situations, knowing that He is faithful.