face at present, we can be confident that Jehovah will protect us from spiritual harm. (Read Psalm 97:10.) Moreover, Psalm 116:15 assures us: “Precious in the eyes of Jehovah is the death of his loyal ones.” Jehovah’s servants are so precious to him that he will not allow them to perish as a group.
While Exposed to Apostate Influences
11. How did Jeroboam become disloyal?
11 King Jeroboam’s rule could have brought some relief to God’s people. Instead, his actions further tested their loyalty to God. Not content with the honor and privilege already given him, Jeroboam began to seek ways to strengthen his position. “If this people continues going up to render sacrifices in the house of Jehovah in Jerusalem,” he reasoned, “the heart of this people will also be bound to return to their lord, Rehoboam the king of Judah; and they will certainly kill me and return to Rehoboam the king of Judah.” So Jeroboam established a new religion centered on two golden calves. “Then he placed the one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. And this thing came to be a cause for sin, and the people began to go before the one as far as Dan. And he began to make a house of high places and to make priests from the people in general, who did not happen to be of the sons of Levi.” Jeroboam even invented his own day of “festival for the sons of Israel,” and he proceeded “to make offerings upon the altar to make sacrificial smoke.”—1 Ki. 12:26-33.
12. What did God’s loyal ones in the northern kingdom do when Jeroboam set up calf worship in Israel?
12 What would God’s loyal ones in the northern kingdom do now? Like their faithful forefathers, the Levites living in cities given to them in the territory of the northern kingdom lost no time in reacting. (Ex. 32:26-28; Num. 35:6-8; Deut. 33:8, 9) Leaving their inheritances behind, they moved their families south to Judah, where they could continue to worship Jehovah without interference. (2 Chron. 11:13, 14) Other Israelites who had been living temporarily in Judah chose to remain there permanently instead of moving back home. (2 Chron. 10:17) Jehovah saw to it that the way back to true worship was kept open so that in later generations others from the northern kingdom could abandon calf worship and return to Judah.—2 Chron. 15:9-15.