After Jeroboam had established himself as king of the northern 10 tribes, he reasoned, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.” (1 Kings 12:26-27). So he made two calves of gold and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” He set up one of the idols in Bethel and the other in Dan. They accepted his offer of a convenient substitute for true worship, to their own ruin. “Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan.”
What is this all about? It’s about convenience. It’s about giving his people a convenient substitute. It’s about appealing to his people that the (unlawful) substitute is ok because the lawful way is “too much”.
The excuse or lie that “it is too much” originates with Satan himself and is heralded daily by his helpers. God’s people can be tempted to use this excuse.
For some, it is too much to open their Bibles to study at home. Some will reason that after all, the demands of work, family, and the desires for other things leave little time for Bible study at home. But what are the truly important things? The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11), and Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (Jn. 6:35). Partaking of it daily is needful. It is not “too much.”
For some, it is too much to make it a priority to be a part of every meeting of the church. Take, for example, multi-day meetings with a visiting preacher. Some will reason that it is just too much to participate in every meeting. I can remember a time being advised to “not overdo yourself” by trying to be present every night of a gospel meeting – i.e. “it is too much.” David said, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1). Besides the fact that this is about worship to the Lord, the spiritual benefit of the meetings are not just about me; they are about my brethren: “consider one another to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:24-25). It is not “too much.”
For others, it is too much to teach the Bible to their children at home. There is a substitute some choose to employ – just let the children learn in Bible classes on Sunday morning and/or Wednesday nights. However, God has ordained that fathers bring their children up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Again, some will reason that the demands of life are just too great to find the time at home. But it is not “too much.”
Can any command of God be “too much” for a servant of the Lord? “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Let us not be found using this excuse nor using it to discourage any brother or sister from growth and greater service.