The Scriptures offer two powerful epitaphs for Rehoboam, and they are closely related to one another.A I have chosen the first, from 1 Kings 12:8, as my rubric today, viz. , “ He rejected the advice the Elders gave. “ But the 2nd, from 2 Histories 12:14, is merely as of import: A “ He did evil because he had non set his bosom on seeking the Lord. “ A The first is outward while the 2nd is inward.A The first trades with symptoms while the 2nd describes the disease that brought him down.A Symptoms are of import to understand and handle, but unless we get at the root cause, we may ne’er make anything more than put patch on malignant neoplastic disease.
Jeroboam Rebels against Solomon.A In 1 Kings 11:26 we meet for the first clip a really cardinal figure in the OT, a adult male named Jeroboam.A He is mentioned 95 times in seven Old Testament books, and he himself bears one of the saddest epitaphs in the Bible: A “ He made Israel to transgress. “ A He is introduced here this manner: A “ Jeroboam boy of Nebat rebelled against the king.A He was one of Solomon ‘s functionaries. “ A The transition goes on to state us that Jeroboam was one of the directors of Solomon ‘s labour force, and he got Solomon ‘s attending through the outstanding work he did.
One twenty-four hours Jeroboam was on his manner out of the metropolis of Jerusalem when he was confronted by a prophesier of God from Shiloh named Ahijah.A As they stood entirely out in the state, Ahijah took off the new coat he was have oning, rupture it into 12 pieces, and told Jeroboam to take 10 of the pieces for himself.A Ahijah so told him the intent of this small object lesson: A God was traveling to rupture the land of Solomon apart and give 10 of the 12 folk to Jeroboam.A
The ground for this drastic action was that Israel had forsaken God and worshiped idols.A Ahijah besides made it clear that this division of the land would non go on every bit long as Solomon was populating, but it would take topographic point shortly after his decease.
The really following thing we read is that “ Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the male monarch, and stayed there until Solomon ‘s decease. “ A
Now how did Jeroboam travel from being a trusted functionary of Solomon to holding a contract put out on his life? A Apparently Jeroboam told person about the message of the prophesier Ahijah, the word got back to Solomon, and instantly he became suspicious.A He did his best to interfere with God ‘s program by seeking to kill Jeroboam, but to no avail.A Alternatively Solomon himself dies, after reigning over all Israel 40 old ages, and Rehoboam his boy succeeds him as male monarch.
Rehoboam is crowned as Solomon ‘s successor.A At the beginning of 1 Kings 12 Rehoboam goes to Shechem to be crowned.A The Israelites all come together at that place for the enthronement, but they besides make a petition of their new king.A Sadly, in this his first major determination as male monarch he demonstrates serious symptoms of religious failure.
Rehoboam rejected the advice the seniors gave him in stead of the advice of the immature work forces.
He is approached with a sensible petition and a conditional promise. Look at 1 Kings 12:3, 4:
So they sent for Jeroboam ( who had returned from Egypt upon hearing of Solomon ‘s decease ) , and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: A “ Your male parent put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the rough labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will function you. ” Rehoboam answered, “ Travel off for three yearss and so come back to me. ” So the people went off. ”
Solomon, you will remember, was one of the wealthiest sovereign in human history.A Unfortunately, all of that wealth was non truly gained.A Much of it came from inordinate revenue enhancements and forced labour.A I suspect Solomon found so much fulfillment in the awards he received for constructing the Temple, that when he finished that undertaking he kept right on building.A He built his ain castle, so castles and temples for many of his foreign married womans, plus public works undertakings all over Israel.A This needed enormous outgos from the public exchequer, and the lone manner to refill the exchequer was through higher and higher revenue enhancements.
So the people ask Rehoboam to alter his male parent ‘s policies and to cut down the rough labor and heavy taxation.A They do n’t inquire for the surcease of revenue enhancements or do any other unreasonable demands.A They merely ask him to buoy up the load.A And furthermore, they promise to function him if he will submit to their wants.
At first we are encouraged when we see that Rehoboam seeks advice before reacting. He consults with both the seniors and the immature menA but receives starkly conflicting advice. A
Let ‘s pick up the history in verse 6:
“ Then King Rehoboam consulted the seniors who had served his male parent Solomon during his life-time. “ How would you rede me to reply these people? ” he asked. They replied, “ If today you will be a servant to these people and function them and give them a favorable reply, they will ever be your retainers. ”
But Rehoboam rejected the advice the seniors gave him and consulted the immature work forces who had grown up with him and were functioning him.A He asked them, “ What is your advice? How should we reply these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your male parent put on us ‘ ? ”
The immature work forces who had grown up with him replied, “ State these people who have said to you, ‘Your male parent put a heavy yoke on us, but do our yoke lighter’aˆ‘aˆ‘tell them, ‘My small finger is thicker than my male parent ‘s waist.A My male parent laid on you a heavy yoke ; I will do it even heavier. My male parent scourged you with whips ; I will scourge you with Scorpios. ‘ ”
Make you detect something here? A He rejects the advice of the seniors even before he consults with the younger men.A It ‘s as though the minute he hears the words “ servant ” and “ service, ” he instantly decides against their advice.A After all, he is the male monarch and they are the subjects.A Kings regulation and topics serve.A
Sadly, that ‘s the manner a batch of people think when they get into a place of authority.A But it ‘s non how Jesus viewed authority.A Do you retrieve what He said when confronted with the petition from James and John to sit at His right and left manus in the land? “ Whoever wants to go great among you must be your retainer, A and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-just as the Son of Man did non come to be served, but to function, and to give his life as a ransom for many. ”
Jesus says that the manner up is down.A How make you take the people God has put under you? A Maybe it ‘s merely your children.A Maybe it ‘s a little group.A On the other manus, possibly you are the leader of 100s or thousands.A It does n’t matter.A All reverent leading is servant leadership.A But Rehoboam has ne’er seen that modelled and he is n’t approximately to interrupt the mold.
So he turns to the immature men.A Please understand that the immature work forces mentioned here are non teenagers.A They are Rehoboam ‘s peers-guys he grew up with-and he is 41 old ages old when he becomes king! A Some of you are delighted to hear that at 40 the Bible still considers you immature! A These forty-some-things are doubtless tired of the fact that Solomon and his peers-probably cats my age-have been naming the shootings for a long time.A The younger work forces view Solomon ‘s equals as geezers who do n’t understand how times have changed.A Now it ‘s their turn.A They have tonss of thoughts they wish to see fulfilled that can merely be fulfilled through power and influence and money.A Centralise the power! A Raise the revenue enhancements! A The authorities knows best.A I will defy the enticement to pull any modern analogues.
So Rehoboam makes a momentous determination that consequences in the loss of most of his land. A
“ When the people returned three yearss subsequently for his reply, Rehoboam. . .
. . . followed the advice of the immature work forces and said, “ My male parent made your yoke heavy ; I will do it even heavier. My male parent scourged you with whips ; I will scourge you with Scorpios. “ A ( Scorpions refers to whips with spots of metal imbedded in the cords ) .A So the male monarch did non listen to the people, for this bend of events was from the LORD, to carry through the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam boy of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite. ”
Let ‘s halt there for merely a moment.A There ‘s an of import rule here in these verses.A “ The King did non listen to the people, for this bend of events was from the Lord. “ A Did Rehoboam take to reply this manner? A Surely! A Was Rehoboam responsible for the barbarous manner he responded? A Absolutely! A Was God behind the scenes guaranting that His prophetic word to Jeroboam would be fulfilled? A Yes.A Very frequently in Scripture we find human errors playing into the overall program of God.A We must non pardon those errors merely because God uses them for His intents, but at the same clip, we must non panic when we see those errors because we can be certain that God is finally in control, working out all things after the advocate of His ain will.
Now the consequence of Rehoboam ‘s determination to reject the advice the seniors gave was the lasting disintegration of the United Monarchy:
“ When all Israel saw that the male monarch refused to listen to them, they answered the male monarch: A “ What portion do we hold in David, what portion in Jesse ‘s boy? To your collapsible shelters, O Israel! Look after your ain house, O David! ”
King Rehoboam hardly manages to get away from Shechem back to Jerusalem.A Then the Northern ten tribes call Jeroboam and do him their male monarch, with merely the folks of Judah and Benjamin staying loyal to the house of David.
Now I want us to use what we find here to our ain Black Marias and lives.A
You see, there is a ground why certain narratives like this are included in the Scriptures.A Obviously, volumes could hold been written about the life of Rehoboam.A Why is this peculiar narrative preserved? A I suspect it is because God knows that declining to listen to our seniors is a common job most of us struggle with at one point or another.A A So I would wish to offer this application:
Following the advice of seniors is one of the cardinal protections God offers His people.
Please understand that the term seniors, as I am utilizing it here, is non synonymous to an elected office in the church.A My point is non to publish a defense mechanism of Elder power and authorization in the church.A Actually If you do a word survey on the term “ seniors ” in the Bible you discover that it is used 188 times in the plural and six more times in the singular.A It is really seldom used of an office but instead refers most frequently to an informal group of older work forces who, by virtuousness of their old ages and their experience, are viewed as holding wisdom deserving listening to.A
Every metropolis and town in ancient times had its group of seniors, but they are clearly distinguished in many transitions from other sorts of leaders, like Judgess, functionaries, and caputs of folks, Lords, and heads of households, princes, priests, and Prophetss.
As best I can state seniors by and large had no official authorization, but they enjoyed strong moral authority.A People knew who they were and ignored them merely to their ain detriment.A
Possibly Ezekiel 7:26 gives us the greatest penetration into the undertaking of the elders.A In this judgment transition we are told, “ Calamity upon catastrophe will come, and rumor upon rumour.A They will seek to acquire a vision from the prophesier ; the instruction of the jurisprudence by the priest will be lost, as will the advocate of the seniors. “ A
Yes. . . In other words, vision comes from the prophesier, learning from the priest, and advocate from the seniors.
With that information as background, I would propose foremost that we should acknowledge the moral authorization of. . . Elders in the home.A I ‘m talking of parents, of course.A You know something? A Parents are non automatically smarter than kids, and “ old ” does n’t ever intend “ right ” .A But God knows that parents are right most of the clip, and He has decided that it is better for kids to be the victims of an unwise determination by their parents one time in a piece than it is for every determination to be decided by a powerful drag-out between kids and parents.A
So God says to kids in the place, “ Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “ A I do n’t believe that means “ because the parents are ever right, ” but instead “ it is ever right for kids to esteem and listen to their parents. ”
The same Scripture text, Ephesians 6:1-3, goes on to state, “ ‘Honour your male parent and mother’-which is the first commandment with a promise-‘that it may travel good with you and that you may bask long life on the Earth. ‘ ”
At the really least this poetry offers a general promise, that-all other things being equal-an obedient kid is traveling to be happier and is traveling to populate longer than a disobedient one.A Now that ‘s merely the opposite the manner a disobedient kid thinks.A He thinks his noncompliance is traveling to do him happier and derive him an advantage.A Not so.A
Second, allow ‘s see. . . Elders in society.A I believe the Scriptures make the premise that the seniors in society be respected and listened to.A Again and once more when Moses had something of import to make up one’s mind, he would convey together all the seniors of Israel.A He used them as sounding boards and as counsellors.A He took them with him when he had of import undertakings to perform.A The seniors were besides really involved in the application of the Mosaic Law to the lives of the people-kind of like informal Judgess so the tribunals were n’t overwhelmed by the caseload.A
Jeremiah laments the calamity that has come upon Judah at the clip of the Babylonian imprisonment with these words: “ Princes have been hung up by their custodies seniors are shown no regard. Young work forces labor at the albatrosss ;
Boys lurch under tonss of wood. The seniors are gone from the metropolis gate. ”
Clearly the prophesier sees the absence of the seniors as a sad twenty-four hours for the state.
I, for one, feel that our state is better off when we have older leaders in office.A It ‘s non that younger people have nil to offer.A Their enthusiasm and vision can be a great balance, but there is something about holding seasoned veterans in cardinal places that helps me kip a small better at night.A
I said earlier that the term “ seniors ” is non limited to an office ; but neither should the office of senior be excluded from this treatment.
The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Timothy 5:17, “ The seniors who direct the personal businesss of the church well are worthy of dual honor. “ A Of class, to be worthy of dual honor they must besides be worthy servants.A
In 1 Peter 5:1-4 the outlooks are spelled out reasonably clearly: “ To the seniors among you, I appeal as a fellow senior, a informant of Christ ‘s agonies and one who besides will portion in the glorification to be revealed: A Be shepherds of God ‘s flock that is under your attention, functioning as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be ; non greedy for money, but eager to function ; A non lording it over those entrusted to you, but being illustrations to the flock. ”
Every one time in a piece I hear person complain about the Church Eldership as though it were a faceless group of authorization figures who sit off by themselves and render determinations in a vacuity that everyone else so has to populate with.A That ‘s truly non how it is in most topographic points I know.A These are a loving, caring group of godly work forces who pray seriously for the fold, who seek God ‘s face invariably, and who make determinations with fright and trembling.A I believe they are accessible, sensible, and humble-not perfect, however.A They have made errors and have to admit that to persons and to the congregation.A But I urge folds to acknowledge that following the advice of Elders is one of the cardinal protections God offers His people.
Let me inquire you this: “ Do you specifically make clip to seek God ‘s wisdom and delay for His answer refering whatever crisis you may be confronting? A Where make you travel when you need advice? A Do you travel to people who will state you what you want to hear? A Or make you seek advice from those experienced in the cognition of God and His Word, who will state you the truth? ”
So far this we have examined a cardinal symptom of religious unwellness in Rehoboam ‘s life: A He rejected the advice the seniors gave.A But why did this go on? A What was the root job that caused this adult male who inherited the most powerful land of his twenty-four hours to crash and fire?
Rehoboam did evil because he had non set his bosom on seeking the Lord.
When we consult the history in 2 Histories 11 we learn some extra facts about Rehoboam.A
First we learn that Rehoboam started off reasonably well.A
Aside from that initial foolish determination to raise revenue enhancements and handle the people harshly and the attendant loss of over 80 % of his land, Rehoboam really had a reasonably good beginning to his reign.A He built up the towns, fortified the metropoliss, and strengthened their defences.A Even more significantly, when Jeroboam became King of the Northern tribes, many of the reverent people abandoned the north and headed to Judah.
“ The priests and Levites from all their territories throughout Israel sided with Rehoboam.A The Levites even abandoned their grazing lands and belongings, and came to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his boies had rejected them as priests of the LORD.A And he appointed his ain priests for the high topographic points and for the caprine animal and calf graven images he had made.A Those from every folk of Israel who set their Black Marias on seeking the LORD, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer forfeits to the LORD, the God of their fathers.A They strengthened the land of Judah and supported Rehoboam boy of Solomon three old ages, walking in the ways of David and Solomon during this clip. ”
That ‘s truly encouraging! A Not merely priests but besides lay people were willing to give up their land and all their ownerships to back up Rehoboam.A
You know, there may come a clip when God will name us to set our money where our oral cavity is, to abandon place and ownerships to beef up a minority who are faithful to God.A We can be certain of one thing-when we seek first God ‘s land and His righteousness, God has ways of adding to us all we need-and non merely for three old ages but for good! A
Unfortunately, Rehoboam did non follow through on his good beginning.
He made the same mistakes his male parent made.A
First and foremost was his insouciant attitude toward the establishment of marriage.A Finally 18 married womans and 60 courtesans in all.A Now that ‘s non in the same conference as his male parent Solomon, but clearly he was heading in the same unsafe direction.A
Furthermore in the last poetry of the chapter we learn that he took many married womans for his boies. He replaced the gold shields with bronzy 1s, feigning that nil had changed.A If you can will you turn to a really interesting history in 2 Histories 12.
“ After Rehoboam ‘s place as male monarch was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the jurisprudence of the LORD.A Because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, Shishak male monarch of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the 5th twelvemonth of King Rehoboam.A With 12 hundred chariots and 60 1000 equestrians and the countless military personnels of Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites that came with him from Egypt, A he captured the bastioned metropoliss of Judah and came every bit far as Jerusalem.A Then the prophesier Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fright of Shishak, and he said to them, “ This is what the LORD says, ‘You have abandoned me ; hence, I now abandon you to Shishak. ‘ ”
When the Lord says, “ I will abandon you, ” you ‘re in trouble.A Fortunately He merely says that to those who have already abandoned Him.A
Rehoboam and his leaders recognize the unsafe state of affairs they are in, so they humble themselves before the Lord.A And when the Lord sees that, he informs the prophesier that He will non let Shishak to destruct Jerusalem, but He will let the Israelites to go topics of the Egyptian sovereign for a really specific intent: A “ so that they may larn the difference between functioning me and functioning the male monarchs of other lands. ”
Archeologists have verified the cardinal points of this account.A In Karnak in Egypt they found a temple which records the run of this powerful Pharaoh and a list of the metropoliss he destroyed in Judah-150 of them.A He came right up to the Gatess of Jerusalem and it was merely by leting him to clean out the exchequer that Rehoboam was able to last.
He took everything, including the gold shields Solomon had made.A So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned these to the commanding officers of the guard on responsibility at the entryway to the royal palace.A
“ Whenever the male monarch went to the Lord ‘s temple, the guards went with him, bearing the shields, and subsequently they returned them to the guardroom. ”
Remember the unbelievable gold trappingss that were in the Temple.A Among them were 500 aureate shields which Solomon had made.A They were intended to be symbols of the glorification of God and His protection over His people.A Shishak took them back to Egypt.
But the most interesting portion of the narrative is that Rehoboam seemingly tried to cover up this black loss so that the common people would non recognize how lay waste toing his licking truly was.A So he fabricated bronzy shields to look like gold shields.A On province occasions they were brought out and used in the royal parade when he went up to the temple to worship.A Then they were taken back and hidden in the guards ‘ suites.
Solomon had displayed his shields openly in his house and in the Lord ‘s house. Rehoboam hid these shields in the guardhouse.A Do you cognize why? A Because bronze tarnishes.A A They would get down to turn green, and anyone who would look at them would believe, “ What has happened to the gold shields? “ A Then the cat would be out of the bag and they would recognize that Rehoboam had sold out, and that the glorification of Israel was gone.
Immediately following this history, the writer of 2 Chronicles darns Rehoboam with weak congratulations:
“ Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord ‘s choler turned from him, and he was non wholly destroyed.A Indeed, there was some good in Judah. “ A
That ‘s truly sad when all God can state is that there was some good among His chosen people.A They were n’t wholly corrupt, so they would non be wholly destroyed.A Then merely a few poetries subsequently King Rehoboam ‘s life is summed up: A
“ He did evil because he had non set his bosom on seeking the Lord. “ A
What does that intend? A At the really least it means he had other priorities.A The personal businesss of province took precedency over religious pursuits.A You ne’er find Rehoboam praying, and really seldom confer withing the Lord through the prophets.A He was obsessed with political confederations and protecting his northern wing from Jeroboam.
What has this got to state to us?
Anytime we fail to put our Black Marias on seeking the Lord, we are good on our manner to religious failure.
I want to seek to use this truth to our Black Marias by reacting to each of the points we made a few minutes ago about Rehoboam.A
Well. . . We observed foremost that “ He started off reasonably good. ”
A large lesson for us.
God is non impressed with good beginnings.A
There are many in Bible who started off good but did non stop well.A The religious life is for the long haul.A That ‘s why the true heroes of the Bible are people like Abraham, Caleb, Deborah, David, John Mark, Priscilla, and Paul.A None of them ran the race perfectly.A In fact, about all of them committed dangerous sins.A But they did n’t discontinue ; they did n’t let their failures to be final.A They pressed on to the terminal.
In contrast, there were besides many who started out in a blazing of glorification but crashed and burned when the traveling got tough.A
The paradigm illustration is Demas, of whom Paul wrote, “ Demas, because he loved this universe, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. “ A
We need to pay attending to Psalm 119:112: “ My bosom is set on maintaining your edicts to the really terminal. ”
The 2nd point made about Rehoboam is that “ He made the same mistakes his male parent made. “ A
This is of import. Our kids will seldom excel us spiritually.A That ‘s a chilling idea, but there ‘s a batch of grounds for it.A There ‘s something in the book of Kings and Chronicles that stands out like a sore thumb.A It ‘s called the Second Generation Syndrome.A With rare exclusion, kids seem to minimise the religious committedness of their parents and maximise their mistakes.A That puts a enormous duty on us as parents to populate reliable Christian lives in the home.A Nothing destroys the religion of a kid faster or more exhaustively than seeing a immense spread between what a parent professes and what he or she practices.A It is incumbent upon us to do certain we pass on a life religion, non merely a set of philosophies.
The 3rd point made was that “ He replaced the gold shields with bronzy 1s, feigning nil had changed. ”
Right. The glorification ever fades when we live unauthentic lives, fake lives.A
What happens when for some ground or other we turn our dorsum on the Lord and that relationship is marred? A Well, he does n’t go forth. . . But the glorification begins to fade.A We begin to experience ourselves going cranky and irresponsible and difficult to populate with.A We start shouting at the kids and at our partners, and we get dying and troubled and disquieted and negative and frustrated.A We rub people the incorrect manner. It occurs to us that we ought non to be that manner, and we surely do n’t desire to give that impression.A So we fabricate the righteousness of God.A We make a inexpensive imitation.A We try by self-effort to be patient and sort and loving.A We drag out our bronze shields.A But do you cognize what happens to bronze shields? A They tarnish.A They corrode, . . . because we ca n’t prolong by self-effort the righteousness of God.
Is there any sense in which you are forging it today? A Attending church services, talking the right words, but you know in your bosom you ‘re merely traveling through the motions.A There ‘s no clip like right now to be honest with yourself and with God.A Come clean with Him ; state Him you ‘ve had sufficiency of merely traveling through spiritual rites and rites ; inquire the Holy Spirit to come in and clean house. End good, base on balls on the religion to your kids, live reliable lives.A Those are truths God wants us to larn from the sad life of Rehoboam, King of Judah.
One last thought.A How otherwise would the life of both Rehoboam and the whole state of Israel have turned out if there were merely a twosome of words changed in his epitaphs, if it said, “ He listened to the advice the seniors gave, ” and “ He did right because he set his bosom on seeking the Lord. “ A What will your epitaph read?
Let ‘s do certain it read something like this. . . “ Well done my good and faithful retainer. ”