April 17, 2007
I Kings 12-14
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- And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.
- And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;)
- That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,
- Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.
- And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.
- And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?
- And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.
- But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:
- And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?
- And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.
- And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
- So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.
- And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him;
- And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
- Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
- So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.
- But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
- Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
- So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
- And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.
- And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
- But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
- Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying,
- Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD.
- Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.
- And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
- If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
- Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
- And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.
- And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
- And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
- And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.
- So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.
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- And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
- And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee.
- And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.
- And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
- The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.
- And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.
- And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.
- And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:
- For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.
- So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.
- Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.
- And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.
- And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon,
- And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.
- Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.
- And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:
- For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.
- He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.
- So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.
- And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:
- And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,
- But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.
- And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.
- And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.
- And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.
- And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him.
- And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.
- And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass.
- And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.
- And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!
- And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:
- For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.
- After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.
- And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.
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- At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.
- And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people.
- And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child.
- And Jeroboam's wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age.
- And the LORD said unto Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shalt thou say unto her: for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman.
- And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings.
- Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel,
- And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;
- But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back:
- Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.
- Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the LORD hath spoken it.
- Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die.
- And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.
- Moreover the LORD shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now.
- For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.
- And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.
- And Jeroboam's wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died;
- And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by the hand of his servant Ahijah the prophet.
- And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred, and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
- And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.
- And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
- And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
- For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
- And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
- And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:
- And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
- And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king's house.
- And it was so, when the king went into the house of the LORD, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.
- Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
- And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.
- And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead.
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Thought for the day:
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I Kings 12 Rehoboam makes a mistake that many younger people make. He refuses to listen to the wisdom of those who have gone on before him, and instead chooses to listen to his peers. The people of Israel came to him after he was anointed king and asked him to treat them a little easier than his father Solomon had. They promised that if he would lighten the load, then they would faithfully serve him. Rehoboam wanted to make the proper decision, so he asked for three days to consider the matter, and then took it to his older advisors. These were men that had been around during Solomon's reign, and they understood from first-hand experience which decisions worked and which decisions didn't work. They advised him to be more lenient, and to determine that he would act as a servant of the people rather than demanding that they do everything for him.
This was not the counsel that Rehoboam wanted. He was the king, and undoubtedly did not want to hear about how he should be serving others. Thus, he rejected the wise counsel of the experienced advisors, and instead talked it over with his buddies that he had grown up with. Their advice was that he come down even harder on the Jews, and demand more of them that Solomon ever did. This was more appealing to the foolish king, and when Israel returned for his answer, he spoke to them in rough tones, and informed them that their lives now would be harder than ever. At that point, Israel separated from Judah, the kingdom divided, and Rehoboam lost the leadership of the majority of the Jewish people.
What lessons can we learn here? First of all, it it always wise to listed to the advice of those who are older and more experienced that you are.
Leviticus 19:32 commanded Israel to "rise up before the hoary (grey haired) head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God." While it is true that God can give wisdom and leadership to the young (
I Tim 4:12), it should be obvious that older people who have walked at length with the Lord have a better grasp on reality than do the young and inexperienced. Because of their knowledge, their advice is normally better for the young man, but in his pride he often doesn't want to hear it. Therefore, he seeks counsel from those of his own "generation"; those who share his immaturity and will tell him what he wants to hear. To the young I say, Listen to those who have gone before you and have served the Lord faithfully. As a general rule, their advice will be more profitable that that of your contemporaries.
The second lesson concerns the concept of Servant Leadership. The elderly advisors told Rehoboam that if he would simply attempt to serve his fellow countrymen, that they would in turn follow him for the duration of his reign. Christ taught a similar principle:
"But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant," (
Bible doctrine and common sense teach that a person will go further and achieve more if he will serve others rather than expecting them to serve him. In the short term, we might "get more" if we expect others to minister to us. But in the long run, and particularly in eternity, the blessings come to those who, like their Savior, "come not to be ministered unto, but to minister," (
Make wise choices concerning your advisors, and you will make wise choices in everything else. Become the servant of all, and God will see to that you become the leader that He wants you to be.
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery