1 Kings 12:1-24
Let’s get a quick recap of what happened yesterday. Because Solomon had turned to idols to please his 700 wives and 300 concubines God had raised up enemies against him and decided the kingdom, except for one tribe would be ripped away from his son after Solomon’s death. The person chosen to lead the rebellion and reign over Israel was Jeroboam an Ephramite who worked for Solomon and was in charge of the forced laborers of his own tribe of Joseph. After Solomon found out about his plan to take the kingdom, he tried to have Jeroboam killed. But Jeroboam escaped to Egypt until Solomon died.
When you think about Solomon chances are one of the first things you think about is his wisdom. But his son Rehoboam wasn’t wise at all. He proved it very early in his administration. Jeroboam led a group of men in representing Israel who came to Rehoboam with a request. They said, “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.” (Verse 4). Rehoboam’s response sounded wise. He said, “Come back in three days, I have to think about it.” His next move seemed wise too. He went to the old men who had advised Solomon his father and asked what he should do. They said, “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.” (Verse 7). Rehoboam didn’t like what he heard and so like many of us do in that situation, he turned to the people who would give him the answer he was looking for. He turned to his friends and asked their opinion. People tend to be friends with like-minded people. Rehoboam was a fool and so were his friends. They answered him and said, “Tell them if you think my father was hard on you, just wait. My little finger is bigger than my father’s thighs! You think his yoke was heavy, mine will be heavier. He disciplined you with whips, I’ll discipline you with scorpions!”
Well Rehoboam liked his friends’ advice. So when it was time to answer Jeroboam and the people, he answered just the way his friends had told him to answer. Verse 15-16 reads,
“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.”
16 And when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, David.” So Israel went to their tents.”
Rehoboam had the chance to make a wise choice, but he rejected the wisdom he asked for. His foolishness resulted in ten tribes walking away from him. Judah stayed with their King, and the tribe of Benjamin sided with Judah. Just like God had said. Verses 17-20 read,
“But Rehoboam reigned over the people of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah. 18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him to death with stones. And King Rehoboam hurried to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. 20 And when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. There was none that followed the house of David but the tribe of Judah only.”
Rohoboam was not happy about this turn of events. His foolishness had led to a rebellion which would hurt him financially, and injure his credibility. Forever his legacy would be that he lost the kingdom. So he decided to fight. He gathered the troops. Between Judah and Benjamin there were 180,000 warriors ready to fight Israel. But God said, whoa! Stop! I did not sanction a civil war. I don’t want you fighting your own country men, brothers. Go home. This situation is from me. So they listened to him and went home without fighting.
Sometimes what looks wrong to us is what God has worked out and has a purpose. We may not be able to see the reasons, but God’s thinking isn’t ours. He sees the whole picture. He is the Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end. He had taken ten tribes away from the Davidic line to discipline and punish them. He gave Benjamin the crown in Saul, then gave Judah the crown in David and his descendants. He has his reasons, and He will be merciful to whom he will be merciful. (Romans 9:14-18). Sometimes it may look and feel like the people who should be punished are not being punished. Sometimes it may seem like He is letting the wrong people have the good stuff.
Revelation 22:11-13 reads,
“Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
A split kingdom looked like the wrong thing. Fighting to reunite the kingdom seemed right. But God said, He had arranged for the kingdom to be divided and didn’t want the fight.
If you are facing circumstances you do not understand, remember The Lord does understand them. He is the beginning and the end so He knows how it turns out. You can trust in His wisdom, even when you made stupid mistakes that resulted in a bad situation, like Rehoboam. You can have faith that He allowed the situations and circumstances even the ones that you caused.