Summary: Amazing similarities exist between Israel and America - from their founding to civil war to sinful rejection of God...to the 70 year captivity! Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
v. 16-17 “Rehoboam reigned over them” – here’s a major division in the OT. Israel is now split. The Hebrew nation has much in common w/ the US in its history...
Both were founded on the Word of God. [Revisionists try to rewrite history and say this wasn’t founded as a Christian nation.]
Both were tragically divided by Civil War. It was the south who seceded from the north in the US, but it was the other way around w/ Israel. Who’s the rebel now?
They had 3 kings for 40 years each: Saul, David, and Solomon. Then Solomon’s son Rehoboam came on the scene...and he was a knucklehead! He was a young, arrogant, prideful man. He led the nation into apostasy and civil war.
That war has lasted for almost 3,000 years now. In 70 AD when Titus the Roman General decimated Jerusalem the Jews were scattered over the earth and all hope was lost for a complete reunification. And there will be no complete peace until the Prince of Peace sets it up in the millennium.
Rev. 7 gives us a glimpse into the tribulation period when the kingdom is starting to come together.
The northern kingdom was known as Israel and the southern as Judah.
Jeroboam is over the north and Rehoboam is over the south.
v. 1-4 The children of Israel feel taken advantage of by their government. Again, we have much in common with them! After Solomon died the people chose Jeroboam to go to Rehoboam and serve as their spokesman. They wanted relief from oppressive taxation. Our forefathers left England for many reasons, including taxation w/out representation.
v. 4 Solomon had left being a shepherd leader to being a slave driver.
v. 5-6 Rehoboam did a couple things right. He took time to make his decision, and got advice from his elders.
Ill.—young people have many decisions to make and little experience. Their elders have much experience and no decisions to make. It’s God’s will to get the two together, the elder and the younger, and share generationally!
v. 7-9a Rehoboam already knew what he wanted to do, so he looked for someone else to back him up. People do that all the time. Our kids go from one parent to another to find their way. People go to different pastors and churches looking for someone to say what they already have decided to do...so they can feel better about doing it! A conscience soothing! We should find someone who will tell us the truth, not some ‘friend’ who will say what we want them to say.
v. 10-11 “You think you had it rough w/ my dad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
The result was a divided kingdom in civil war. Rehoboam destroyed in 1 day what took his fathers 120 years to put together. He wouldn’t listen to wisdom, and decided to take the low road.
v. 16-17 Jeroboam is now over the north, and Rehoboam over the southern kingdom. This is important to understand from here on out as you study the Bible...they are a divided nation. They have always had many enemies from without, but also from within. You’ll read about Israel invading Jerusalem and scratch your head. But Jerusalem was the capitol of the southern kingdom, and Samaria of the northern.
The kingdom of Israel [north] lasted for 200 years after the division. They had 17 kings, and none of them were godly men, in spite of the pleadings of many prophets.
Amos, Obadiah, Hosea, Micah, and other minor prophets were trying to minister to each of the kingdoms. They were calling both to get right w/ God and with each other, or else.
Northern prophets include: Amos, Jonah, Hosea, and Micah. [their writings were to the north]
Southern prophets include: Obadiah, Habakkuk, Joel, Zephaniah, Isaiah, Jeremiah [also Lamentations], and Nahum.
There were also 2 ‘oral prophets’ who wrote no books, but did some great preaching to the kingdoms: Elijah and Elisha.
More about Jeroboam, the new ruler of the north: He faced a problem right away. He didn’t have Jerusalem to worship in. 3 times a year they needed to travel to worship, but they couldn’t do that. So he starts his own religion to false gods.
His 4 fold blasphemy:
1. Changed the religious symbols.
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.
2. Changed worship centers.
Bethel and Dan were to be the new ones instead of Jerusalem. [11:36]
3. Degraded the priesthood.
Anyone could become a priest, not just those from the tribe of Levi as the Bible says. [12:31]