A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.
Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com; The Story, Chapter 14; You Version Bible app Engaging God's Story Reading Plan Days 92 through 98
This week we read the story of Rehoboam. When we think about this young king, we think about what a tragic story and how God must have messed this one up. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, took the throne after his father. Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s advisors and military leaders came to the new king and recommended the heavy tax burden and labor force Solomon had levied on the kingdom be lightened. The people were about to revolt because of all Solomon had demanded of them during his reign.
You see, Solomon lost sight of what he had promised God. Instead of God being the most important thing in Solomon’s life and service to his kingdom being his most important task, Solomon decided the kingdom belonged to him and was from his pleasure. He needed a lot of stuff to support those 1,000 wives and all those guests that kept coming to visit. Take a look at the list of what it took just to feed that crowd every day and you’ll begin to understand just why Jeroboam asked the new king to ease up.
Well, Rehoboam does a smart thing as a new king. He goes to his father’s council and asks their opinion of Jeroboam’s plan. The council agrees. They tell Rehoboam if he will do as Jeroboam asks, the people will honor him and follow him as king. The twelve tribes will remain loyal without question. But Rehoboam decides he will ask his friends that grew up with him in the palace. Remember those 1,000 wives? They had a lot of children. I can imagine Rehoboam and all his palace friends had just about anything they wanted with a father who knew no limits to his wealth. Solomon had anything he wanted. Silver was like stones on the ground it was so common in Jerusalem. Solomon owned tons of gold. Rehoboam was the spoiled king’s son and all his friends didn’t want that free ride to end.
Their advice...tell everyone if they thought his father was harsh and had heavy taxes, just wait until you see what he has in store for them. Rehoboam liked the rich kid syndrome and took the young friends’ advice. Jeroboam took his followers and revolted. Ten tribes left the kingdom. Only Judah and Benjamin remained under the reign of Solomon’s son. Rehoboam was partly paying for Solomon’s failures. Remember he failed to follow God’s laws by marrying all those foreign wives and allowing idol worship into the kingdom. He took his eyes off of what was important and began thinking riches were more important than God. So God took most of the kingdom away from Solomon’s son. Consequences of our sins never affect just us.
But just when you think God’s upper story has crashed, take a look again. Rehoboam gets the smallest portion of the kingdom because of Solomon’s failure. Rehoboam sees the rebellion and civil war rip apart a great nation because he took the wrong advice. Israel is divided. How can God’s upper story possibly survive such disastrous character flaws like we see in Solomon and Rehoboam? Well, we can only see the immediate. We can’t see around the bend. We’re limited in our view of reality because we aren’t God and don’t understand His view from His upper story.
But Rehoboam is one of those unlikely characters through whom God acts. The nation is split, but Judah stays loyal to the Rehoboam, a descendant of David. And guess who come from the line of David. Jesus. Judah’s tribe. Rehoboam’s bloodline. This rebellious young king who wouldn’t take good advice is one of those in the line of Mary and Joseph. Unlikely characters become part of God’s great plan.
So what does that tell you and me? First, it tells me we can’t stop God’s plan. He will make His ultimate will happen no matter what we might try to do to stop it. Second, we can choose to follow Him or not, but there are consequences that come with our choice. When we follow Him, we avoid the natural consequences that follow evil behavior. The law that we reap what we sow happens. Third, the consequences of our choices are not limited to just us. What I do affects my family and all those whose lives I touch. And again, I can’t influence the consequence, only the choices that I make. The consequences are natural results of the choices.
We will all make some choice we would like to redo. We have all probably take advice from someone that wasn’t as wise as we thought they were. We have probably all listened to the wrong group of friends at one time or another and now live with some of those consequences we wish we could redo.
God knows all about those. But He also made a way to forgive us and help us be a part of His plan. He made a way for we imperfect, mistake ridden, broken people to participate in His upper story so that we can join Him in His perfect garden one day. He wants us to have that face-to-face relationship we once enjoyed with Him in the Garden of Eden. He has put a plan in place to do that. It’s His upper story and in His time and in His way, He will bring all who follow Him together again into His paradise.
So here we are. We have choices to make every day and we often need to get advice from those around us. Can I suggest we look for the wise among us to find the best advice, not necessarily the popular or the smart or those filled with what the world thinks is knowledge. Rehoboam paid a high price for taking foolish advice that benefitted him instead of the kingdom. Take a hard look at the advice you get and who benefits from the advice you get. Remember we are to be servants not the served. That’s what Jesus taught us by example. Living with His philosophy of life makes those choices a lot less difficult to discern. Give it a try.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more about The Story and our part in it. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.