1 Kings 12:3-4 (MEV): …they called and sent for him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, “ Your father made our yoke unbearable. Now, therefore, make the grievous service to your father and the heavy yoke he put upon us lighter, and we will serve you.”
Rehoboam asked the people to return in three days so he would have time to consult others and then decide.
First, he asked the elders who used to work for his father, and in verse 7 they advised: “If you will be a servant to this people this day and will serve them and answer them and speak kind words to them, they will be your servants forever”.
Then he asked the young men who grew up with him (his peers) and they told him to answer: verses 10-11: “Thus shall you answer this people who said to you, “Your father made our yoke heavy, but make it lighter for us’; thus shall you say to them ‘My little finger will be thicker than my father’s loins! Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your burden. My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions!’”
With new leadership brings new ways. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam did not use Solomon’s wise elders. Instead, he decided to side with his peers. Though young people don’t always get it, sometimes the older generation, because of their age, their life experiences, things they saw along the way, and things they wish they never saw, makes them wiser than the younger generation.
The young men had a limited amount of life experiences. They sounded puffed up, thinking they knew what was best, but in fact it was the opposite. It may have made them feel good that the king listened to them, but their advice did not benefit the greater amount of people, i.e. Israel, and came with great consequences.
The decisions we make today affect our tomorrows.
As the elders suggested, a little kindness goes a long way. But Rehoboam didn’t see it their way and decided to be a harsher task master. This division cause a chain of events to occur:
v18- Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor was stoned to death by Israel.
v18- King Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem
v19- Israel rebelled
v20- Jeroboam became Israel’s king
v20- Only the tribe of Judah followed the House of David
But what was more shocking to me was that the events were of God!
11 Chronicles 10:15 (MEV): The king did not listen to the people, for the event occurred because of God, that the Lord might establish His word that He spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
1 Kings 12:24 (MEV): “Thus says the Lord: You shall not go up, nor fight against your brothers the children of Israel. Every man is to return to his house, for this thing is from Me.”
Rehoboam went home and fortified cities. Jeroboam went home and made golden calves to worship. He thought it would be too difficult to travel to Jerusalem to participate in the festivals of God. He wanted convenience, so he twisted the truth to the people and they followed his lead. This created still further division from the priests and the people of Israel who still wanted to follow after God and go to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts and festivals where the temple and God’s presence was located (11 Chronicles 14-17).
All the rebellion, the chaos, and the division was from the LORD! Is it possible that the division is from God? Is it possible that God’s plans are better than man’s comforts? Sometimes God shakes things up, but is it always for our harm? Maybe it is for our good! Was God trying to separate the true believers from those who believed out of convenience. Which group would I have fallen into if I lived in Israel at that time? Which group do I belong to now? Only God truly knows my heart! I am not sure that I know it fully.
Titus 1: 5b-9 (MEV): ..appoint elders in every city, as I commanded you: any man who is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children who are not accused of being wild or unruly. For an overseer must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not easily angered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain but hospitable, a lover of what is good, self-contolled, just, holy, temperate, holdng firmly the trstworthy word that is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to convince those wo oppose it.
Is there such a person alive? We all have stuff in our families. I can remember many years ago an elder in our church resigned because his son was unruly. When will people realize their stuff affects other people’s stuff?
But, like in Israel, the new Christians were struggling between the two groups: the pure and the defiled. People who profess that they know God, but in their deeds they deny Him(Titus 1: 15-16)
And likewise today, we are still struggling. What is it going to take for God to turn the heads of God’s people (both Jews and Gentiles)? If it were me I would have kicked the earth off its axis long ago . Thank goodness for the patience of God. His patience with mankind exceeds all I could ever think or imagine.
Dear God in heaven, they say history repeats itself and I can truly see that this is so! Thank you for your patience with us! Help me to seek your heart, your will, and your ways all the days of my life. Help me not to take shortcuts. And dear Lord I pray that there are many others who join me in keeping your ways. They may not be convenient, and they may not be easy, but your ways are wiser and you are far more trustworthy than anything here on this earth! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!