Monday, June 23, 2008

A Kingdom Divided

June 23: 1 Kings 12-14

1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2 And as soon as Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from [1] Egypt. 3 And they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, 4 “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.” 5 He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away.
6 Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” 7 And they said to him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8 But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him. 9 And he said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” 10 And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus shall you speak to this people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us,’ thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father's thighs. 11 And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’”
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king said, “Come to me again the third day.” 13 And the king answered the people harshly, and forsaking the counsel that the old men had given him, 14 he spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by the Lord that he might fulfill his word, which the Lord spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
1 Kings 12:1-15

A Kingdom Divided

In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun." Did you think that rebellion of the youth was a thing reserved for our time alone? Solomon had built up the greatest kingdom on earth, which was now handed over, in all of its glory, to his son, Rehoboam. When the people, led by the traitor, Jeroboam, approached Rehoboam with a question, whose advice did Rehoboam follow?

The people of Israel complained about the harshness of Solomon's rule, and asked the king to lighten their load. The old men who had been advisers in the court of Solomon advised the king to deal with the people kindly, and speak good words to them.

"If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.”

Then Rehoboam asked the counsel of his friends, the young men in the court; their advice was quite different.

“Thus shall you speak to this people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us,’ thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father's thighs. 11 And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’”

Oh how youth is wasted on the young! It has always been a wonder to me that after we have learned so many lessons the hard way, we are not able to pass that wisdom on to our children. Oh, they do listen to some things, but for the most part, like us, they have to learn it all the hard way.

You know the rest of the story; displeased with Rehoboam's answer, all the tribes except Judah and Benjamin rebelled against Rehoboam and made Jeroboam their king.

I would be remiss if I did not make mention of this one sentence at the end of today's Bible passage.

So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by the Lord that he might fulfill his word, which the Lord spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

I am reminded of this verse in Proverbs.

The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
Proverbs 21:1, King James Version

Though we make our plans, we never thwart the will of God; as God had purposed to tear apart the kingdom, so he accomplished it through the foolishness of Jeroboam. Did God cause Jeroboam to be so foolish? No, He just did not prevent him from making a foolish decision.

God is God, and we are not!

God Bless You,
Linda

Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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