Summary: There are times in our lives when we make a mess and create spiritual chaos. On occasions like this God will step in and shake us up because our foolishness cannot stop the sovereignty of God.
You can listen to the full message here:-
“Fools Can’t Stop A Sovereign God”
Solomon the King is dead.
Now it is time for a new king – Rehoboam the son of Solomon is the next in line.
Rehoboam the Son of Solomon, the wisest king ever – he ruled for 40 years.
Rehoboam the grandson of David, a man who was a friend of God – he also ruled for 40 years.
These are big shoes to fill aren’t they. And there are going to be many expectations placed upon Rehoboam.
Does he have what it takes?
Can he continue the great legacy?
Before we even find out what Rehoboam is going to be like we read this and we go oh oh!
There are a few issues here that make us sit up and realise all is not going so well.
Off to Shechem
When Solomon was made King by the people where did they all go? To Jerusalem.
So why have they all gathered at Shechem?
It is about 50km from Jerusalem. Which is ok when you go by car, but they had, at the best, chariots.
And isn’t it a little bit rude to ask the next king to meet you? Shouldn’t you go to the king?
This isn’t good – and it gets worse. You see Shechem is a town with a very important heritage.
Quick history about conquest.
Finally the people are settled.
And Joshua renews the covenant … at Shechem.
Shechem symbolised the closing of the door of the people leaving Egypt and each tribe settling free in the new land.
This town was not randomly picked.
Something is not quite right.
Then we find that the people have a complaint
No one is praising Solomon are they.
In fact it sounds like everyone is glad that he is dead.
Everyone thinks that Solomon’s rule was glorious, but it cost a lot of money.
There were huge and expensive building projects.
Whole cities were built from scratch.
Solomon was constantly entertaining foreign dignitaries.
Remember he had 700 wives and 300 concubines – that is 1000 families he needs to look after.
Ultimately the money came from the people, as did the resources, as did the labour. And they were sick of it. In fact more than sick of it.
One of the words they use to describe their situation is that Solomon caused their lives to be heavy. You don’t get it in English, but you do in Hebrew. The people are actually having a go at Solomon.
Many people look at the reign of Solomon as the years of glory … the Hebrew word for glory is kabod. The people are complaining that their lives are heavy … the Hebrew word for heavy is kabed
Glory … kabod. Heavy … kabed. The glory of Solomon has been nothing but a heavy load for the people.
In fact it isn’t just heavy it was a yoke. Always in the Bible the word yoke only applied to a burden which is placed on enemies, or slaves, or foreigners. Never was a yoke to be carried by fellow countrymen. Basically they are saying, “Your Father treated us the same why that Pharaoh treated us when we were in Egypt.
Now you see why they are in Shechem don’t you. The town symbolically represented a door on the history of Israel that was meant to be shut. Now they are basically saying – your father Solomon opened the door again and we want it shut.
All they want is freedom.
That is what is happening here isn’t it. And that is a sentiment we can identify with can’t we. We just want to be free.
Most of us in one way or another have a vocation that makes great demands from us.
- The demands of going to work.
- The demands of home duties.
Some days we just say, we want to be free from all of that.
Most of us find ourselves under financial pressure.
- When we are younger and studying.
- In our later years with older children
- Even when we come to retirement
Don’t you have it some days that you want to be free?
The world we live in is a hard taskmaster. It is heavy. It is a yoke. There is something going on in this section of Scripture which we can identify with can’t we. Like the Israelites we are looking for renewal. So let’s see how it all turns out.
Well that didn’t work out so good did it.
And it doesn’t take a genius to see why.
Rehoboam goes to the older wiser elders first.
All of these men have been around since the beginning if the rule of Solomon, so they had seen what had happened to the nation under his care. Indeed they can remember back to the days of David, so they have a good perspective. Their advice is simple, be a servant King. Let the people have what they want now and they will follow you through your whole reign.