Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Shaken Country

June 24: 2 Chronicles 10-12

13 And the priests and the Levites who were in all Israel presented themselves to him from all places where they lived. 14 For the Levites left their common lands and their holdings and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons cast them out from serving as priests of the Lord, 15 and he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat idols and for the calves that he had made. 16 And those who had set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their fathers. 17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam the son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.
2 Chronicles 11:13-17

1 When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him. 2 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem 3 with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen.

5 Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.’” 6 Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is righteous.” 7 When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. 8 Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”
2 Chronicles 12:1-3a & 5-8

A Shaken Country

We know that Rehoboam made some very foolish decisions early in his reign that led to the division of the Israelites into Israel, with 10 tribes, and Judah, with 2 tribes. But, what kind of king was Rehoboam?

Jeroboam, king of Israel, in his zeal to remove himself as far from God as possible, expelled all of the Levitical priests from his land. These priests, along with the people from the 10 tribes who purposed to be faithful to the Lord, came to Jerusalem to live. We are told,

They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam the son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.

This should have been solid evidence to Rehoboam that God would bless him if he was faithful to the Lord. However, once his kingdom was established and they were obviously being blessed by God, Rehoboam turned his heart away from the Lord. It was not very long until God sent this message to the king by the hand of Shemaiah, the prophet.

"You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak."

Wisely, the king and the people humbled themselves before the Lord. How did God respond? Did he cause the king of Egypt to change his mind and not attack Judah? God said,

“They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. 8 Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”

Has God changed? Was this just the way He was during Old Testament times? Does He still judge the nations through wars and natural disasters?

A Shaken Nation

Our God is unchangeable in all of His ways; do not think He has abandoned this world and overlooks the sins of the nations. When nations which formerly served the Lord faithfully abandon Him, they should not be surprised by an increase in tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, flooding, and terrorist attacks!

A Shaken People

What about individual people? God is long suffering, and often we do not see an immediate reaction from the Lord for our unfaithfulness, but His justice always prevails. Just as David and Rehoboam, even though they repented of their sins, suffered God's judgment upon their kingdoms and their personal lives, so too, we should not be surprised when God's heavy hand of justice comes upon us.

The Christian life is serious business; God is not mocked by our apathy or indifference to His Word. Pray today that God would grant to you that sweet, blessed, communion with Him and grant to you the joy of your salvation.

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

No comments: