Summary: We have opportunities to be influencers for God or against him. Rehoboam chose his own way over God's and missed out on being a hero to the people of Israel.
1. Lindbergh and Spirit of St. Louis
In 1997, Reeve Lindbergh, daughter of aviator Charles Lindbergh, was invited to give the annual Lindbergh Address at the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space Museum to commemorate the 70th anniversary of her father's historic solo flight across the Atlantic. On the day of the speech, museum officials invited her to come early, before the facility opened, so that she could have a close-up look at The Spirit of St. Louis, the little plane suspended from the museum ceiling that her father had piloted from New York to Paris in 1927.
That morning in the museum, Reeve and her young son, Ben, eagerly climbed into the bucket of a cherry-picker, a long-armed crane that carried them upward until the plane was at eye level and within their reach. Seeing the machine that her father had so bravely flown across the sea was an unforgettable experience for Reeve. She had never touched the plane before, and that morning, 20 feet above the floor of the museum, she tenderly reached out to run her fingers along the door handle, which she knew her father must have grasped many times with his own hand.
Tears welled up in her eyes at the thought of what she was doing. "Oh, Ben," she whispered, her voice trembling, "isn't this amazing?"
"Yeaaaaaah," Ben replied, equally impressed. "I've never been in a cherry-picker before!"
2. The Story of God contains Heroes with flaws and Non-Heroes -- villains
3. Timeline -- Adam and Eve; Noah; Abraham and Sarah; Isaac-Jacob-Joseph (and brothers); Moses; Joshua; Judges (Samson); Saul; David; Solomon (United Kingdom)
4. This morning we are going to diverge from the standard hero expectations and look at someone who was almost a hero. He stood right at the threshold of becoming a great king and a great leader. He was faced with a decision that literally would make or break him as a leader and hero and would make or break the Israel nation. This man was Rehoboam, son of Solomon.
5. Period of the Divided Kingdom [Maps]
a. Unity is a good thing -- Psalm 133.1
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
b. Division is Deadly -- Matthew 12.22-27
22 Then a blind and dumb demoniac was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, "Can this be the Son of David?" 24 But when the Pharisees heard it they said, "It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons that this man casts out demons." 25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand; 26 and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.
I. The Seeds of Division -- 1 Kings 11.1-13
A. Solomon's Divided Interests
1. First God
2. Alliances + God
3. Idols + God
4. Idols -- God
B. God's Delayed Intentions (for the sake of David)
1. No divided kingdom in the life of Solomon -- because of David
2. Divided Kingdom in the life of Rehoboam (Solomon's son; Solomon's Cause)
3. Not fully removed -- because of David -- Judah got the one tribe of Benjamin
In Arkansas several years ago, a feud started when Jeb Hollings stole a mule from the McCrary place. When the McCrary boys went to recover the mule, one of the Hollings clan shot Frank McCrary for trespassing. This started the blood feud that lasted almost 3 years. During those three years the Hollings knew that the McCrary land was off limits. And the McCrary clan knew that they had best avoid the Hollings place. Jeb and Frank never went anywhere without an armed escort. The whole county took sides with either the Hollings or the McCrarys. Until one day when Jeb paid a visit on the McCrary house -- alone. Jeb Hollings said to Grandpa McCrary, "You can do whatever you think is right with me, but this blood feud has got to stop." Jeb knew that the feud had begun with the actions of one man -- himself. Therefore, he was the one man who could bring an end to the death and division that had ensued.
4. It's too bad SOLOMON did not try to stop the feud that was coming and save the kingdom
II. The Stirring of Destruction -- 1 Kings 12
A. The Special Appeal to Rehoboam -- "Take it easy on us" -- 12.4
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan. Proverbs 29.2