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Rehoboam and Jeroboam: What am I doing with God’s promises?

June 28th, 2009 by Vic

1 Kings 11-14

Solomon ended his life poorly.  He had started well, but when Solomon got old, his wives turned his heart away from God.  He wrote Proverbs 3:1-12 to his son Rehoboam but the promises of God were ignored.  Rehoboam picked up where his father had left off.  Our kids often do what we do and do it a little better.

Solomon wrote that God has promised health, prosperity, and long life if Rehoboam would follow the commands, but Solomon did not do what he admonished his son to do.  There is no record that Solomon ever disciplined his son and we will see he is a spoiled brat.

12:1-24; 14:21-31 The record of Rehoboam.

Rehoboam had been installed as king in Jerusalem (11:43) and now he travels to Shechem about 40 miles north to establish himself as king in the north.  Shechem was a fortified city between two mountains with high places.  This is where Joshua spoke his last words.  This is where the bones of Joseph had been buried.  It was like a capital city in the north with a lot a pagan shrines.

Jeroboam had been popular in this area.  He had been a tax collector/administrator for Solomon and had started a rebellion.  Solomon heard about it and was going to kill him so Jeroboam had fled to Egypt.  Now that Solomon has died.  Jeroboam has returned and he comes to Shechem to make a proposal to Rehoboam (12:4).

This historic moment reveals the heart of Rehoboam.

1. Rehoboam did not consult God.  He could not make a decision.  He had no convictions.  He had not set his ‘non-negotiables’ for his life.  What are you going to do when tempted or faced with a life changing decision?

2. Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men (12:5-11).  They said if you will be a servant king you will have servants.  If he would have sought God first, then the elders would have been a confirmation of God’s word.  Seek first the kingdom of God.  Let God sensitize your heart to godly counsel.

We prefer listening to those who agree with us.  We go to our peers who think like we think.  With them we get real macho.  My pinky is bigger than my dad’s waist.  I’ll replace whips with scorpions.  This was not a soft answer that turns away wrath as his father had admonished.  This is immaturity at its best.  Rehoboam is a follower.  He will do what others tell him to do.

3. He did not listen to the people (12:16).  He had no compassion for those hurt by the recession.  He sent out his henchman who knew how to handle rebellious slaves.  Adoram was to be his scorpion.  The people stoned him and Rehoboam hurried back to Jerusalem.

The land is divided.  History is changed because of his foolishness.

Contrast Rehoboam with Jesus.  Rehoboam pretended to have authority.  Jesus embodied authority.  Rehoboam refused to be a servant.  Jesus took on the form of a servant.  Rehoboam wanted to lay a heavy burden on the people.  Jesus invites us to come to Him for rest, to take His yoke and find rest.  Rehoboam lost the kingdom through disobedience.  Jesus gained the kingdom through obedience.

Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.  While the disciples were discussing who was the greatest, Jesus took a towel and basin to wash their feet.  Jesus spoke with authority.  Jesus cleansed the temple and no one tried to stop Him.  True authority comes from humility, knowing who we are in God’s eyes.

12:21-24 Rehoboam musters up an army to fight Jeroboam, but God sends a prophet to intervene.

14:21-31 Rehoboam compromised with the world.  He did not want to be intolerant or offensive.

Shishak was the father-in-law of Jeroboam.  Had Jeroboam asked for his help to fight against Rehoboam?  Had he told him about the gold shields?

11:26-40; 12:20, 25-14:20  The record of Jeroboam.

11:31 The prophet Ahijah tells Jeroboam he will be king of 10 tribes.

11:38 God makes a promise to Jeroboam.  God had His hand on him.

12:25-26 Jeroboam listens to his heart and not God’s promose (12:33).  It just seemed right to him.  He had this burning in his bosom that confirmed what he was doing was right.  The Levites that saw what was happening returned to Jerusalem.  So Jeroboam appointed priests that were not Levites.  He was afraid that other devout believers would return to Judah, so he tried to copy the sacrifices and festivals.  He had not been brought up in the church so he was not aware of the importance of following God’s law accurately.  He recreated the visible traditions, but did not see that they were a shadow of the reality of the Messiah.

He made golden calves like he had seen in Egypt.  Aaron, the first priest of Israel had made a golden calf to represent their God.  The founder of Israel’s religion had made a calf.  It is part of our roots.  Right?

13:1 While worshipping at his self-made altar, an unnamed man of God appeared.  He predicts that a future king will burn the bones of those burning incense on this altar (2).  He names the king by name.  Josiah is born 290 years later and brings a revival to the land.

13:3 The prophet then predicts a sign to confirm that he is a true prophet from God.  Jeroboam told his guards to arrest the prophet (4).  The arm shriveled and the altar split.  Ashes were scattered (5).

The king did not like what was being said.  He was the king.  He was the priest.  No stranger could tell him how to worship.  The biggest horror for those standing there was probably the scattered ashes.  Scattered ashes were a curse.

How do I respond to the word of God?  Then when God confirms His word, what am I most concerned about?

13:6 God restores his hand.  Why didn’t He shrivel the other hand too?  The king was very religious, but he had no power or relationship with the true God.

13:7-10 He tries to bribe the man of God, but the man of God had been given specific instructions.  The instructions seemed kind of arbitrary, but he knew exactly what he was supposed to do.

13:11 There was an old prophet.

13:14 Found the man of God sitting under an oak tree.  He had followed God’s word to the letter.

13:15 He is tempted to disobey again.  God had told this young prophet to just go home.  I wonder if this older prophet was jealous of the younger prophet.  Maybe God had not spoken to him for a while.  Maybe he had never healed a man’s arm.

13:18 The old prophet lied.  It was just a little lie.  Now should the young prophet go with the known word of God or should he go with his heart?  Jeremiah says the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.  The young man was intimidated by the old prophet’s lie.  Joseph Smith also said he heard from an angel.  Mormonism says you will know the book of Mormon is true because of a burning in your bosom.  Your heart will know.

13:20 The old prophet hears a true word from God.  Radical obedience is required.  When you know what to do and do not do it, it is sin.  God takes sin very seriously.  Why did the young prophet have to die?  So you would know that God requires obedience.  Sincerity does not make it right.  Jesus is the only way.  If there were other ways, wouldn’t Jesus have followed those ways?

Trust the word of the Lord.  Don’t trust your heart.  Solomon went with his heart and it messed him up.  Jeroboam went with his heart and it messed him up.  The man of God goes with his heart and dies.

God can change your heart.  He can create in us a clean heart.

The old prophet recognized that a great man of God had died.  Maybe he is shocked by the wickedness of his own actions.  Did he know his lie would cause the young prophet’s death?  He now had great respect for the young prophet and wants to be buried with him.  He must have known he was going to die.  But the word of God lasts forever.  It does not fade away.  The word of God stands spoken.  The truth will happen as God has said.

13:33 Jeroboam had heard God’s word.  He had seen God’s power.  But signs and wonders will never convince you of God.  He did not change his ways.  He did not repent.

14:1-3 When his son got sick he remembered the prophet of God who had given him the 10 pieces of cloth.  Why doesn’t he go?  Why doesn’t he ask for the boy’s healing?  The prophet had healed his arm.  He could heal the boy.  He just sends his wife to go get some information.

He doesn’t go because he knows where the real power is, but he does not want to submit to it.  To ask something from another is to say I am needy.

Information about God or from God will not lead to salvation.  Fortune tellers give information.

14:6 Why are you pretending to be a common farmer’s wife?  I wonder what she was planning to say.  Now she feels a little stupid.

14:9 You have cast Me behind your back.

14:10-16 God’s anger comes down on Jeroboam.

14:13 Something good was seen in the boy by God and God took him to heaven.  He was not used for child sacrifice.

14:16 God will give up Israel to their sin.  There is a point where God quits convicting you of sin.  The Spirit of God will not always strive with man.  When you can no longer tell the difference between good and evil, you are in trouble.

15:25-26 Jeroboam’s son Nadab continued in the ways of his dad.

Deception is no excuse for disobedience of a direct command from God.  Don’t be deceived.  There are people who will lie to you.  Maybe they lie to you because they don’t like you.  Maybe they lie to you because they think it will be good for you.  Your own heart can lead you away from God’s clear commands.

Don’t accept 2nd hand information about how to please God.  There is only one way.  Don’t believe counselors who make suggestions against the clear teachings of God’s word.

Seek first the Word of God.  Identiy clear Bible teachings that will guide your decision.

Go to the elders.  Their counsel will confirm the Word.

When you sin, quickly repent.  Honor God as God.

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