Summary: I would like us to pause today as we look at the life of King Rehoboam and reflect on the decision that faced him, the decision process, and the result of his decision that affected an entire nation.
A KINGDOM TORN IN TWO
CHAPTER 14, “THE STORY”
INTRODUCTION AND UPPER STORY
Where to go to college
To stay with your spouse or get a divorce
What industry or job you should have
To adopt a child or not
To marry or not to marry… who to marry
To change jobs or stay with the company you work for
Where and how much to invest for retirement
To hire one employee or another
What to do with your aging parent
Deciding to have surgery or let it go
What company to go with for a contract
What activities your family is involved in
How many children to have
Where you should buy a house or maybe just rent
What school your children should attend
Who to enter a dating relationship with
Whether or not to take out the loan
Remain friends with the bad influence or let them go
Forgive the offender or break off the relationship
To pursue legal action or let it go
Roles you will take as your kids leave the home
To seek counseling or work it out on your own
To pursue a dream or be more practical
To blow the whistle at work or stay quiet
These are all decisions that perhaps you have had to make.
These are all decisions you are faced with right now.
These are all decisions that may come to you in the future.
What are you going to do?
Today the “Upper Story” and “Lower Story” continue in the life of King Rehoboam the son of Solomon. I want you to know and believe that God is not distant from us, but is actively involved in our lives. The Almighty God does not sit back distantly and watch while His people choose to obey or disobey Him.
When His people sin, God responds.
When His people repent, God responds.
When His people have decisions to make, God stands ready to direct.
THE LOWER STORY
I believe the “Lower Story” of chapter 14 is centered on 1 Kings 12:1-19 which describes Rehoboam taking the throne after his father Solomon. His life gives us pause. His actions give us pause. His attitudes give us pause. For King Rehoboam, his life and actions and attitudes are all reflected in a key decision he made at the beginning of his reign which informs us about how we should make decisions in our lives. The “Lower Story” of chapter 14 is all about decision making.
We all face decisions on the scale that Rehoboam faced. As we talk about Rehoboam’s life, I want you to be thinking about your own life… that is the point of the “Lower Story”… we see how our lives intersect with the lives of the people in Scripture. So I want you to…
… think about past life decisions that you have made.
… think about current life decisions that you need to make.
… think and imagine about future life decisions that may come your way.
Decisions come to us all. Our past decisions affect our present lives while our present decisions impact our future. If you are like me, the decisions that we make affect not only our lives, but many people around us. I would like us to pause today as we look at the life of King Rehoboam and reflect on the decision that faced him, the decision process, and the result of his decision that affected an entire nation.
I. DECISION FACING REHOBOAM (VERSES 1-4)
READ 1 KINGS 12:1-4
“Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all the Israelites had gone there to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. 3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4 "Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you."
King Rehoboam is just starting out his reign when he, like his father, has a decision to make. For King Solomon, his decision was about answering God. 1 Kings 3:5 says about Solomon, “At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." Solomon could have chosen any number of things, but chose wisdom to rule the people of Israel. God loved his answer and his choice. King Rehoboam is facing a decision as well, but not in the same way as his father. The whole assembly of Israel comes to Rehoboam and asks him what kind of ruler he would be… they ask him to lighten all of the public works and labors that Solomon had tasked them with. They ask him to be a kinder and gentler king.