Summary: Rehoboam inherited the promises of both his father and grandfather. As we look at how he entered those promises we can learn from his mistakes to ensure that we don’t make the same.
Lessons of Rehoboam
Today I want to look at the grandson of David and to learn a few lessons from the life of the man who is remembered as the one who split the kingdoms of Israel.
Rehoboam was a man who had great big footsteps in which to follow. His grandfather was a great warrior and a man of whom it was said that he had a heart after Gods own. He was one of the most famous kings that the world has ever known. Rehoboam’s father, Solomon, was no mean feat to follow either. He was given the gift of wisdom to such an extent that nobody has been as wise before or since. He had built the very temple of the Lord, and had riches beyond number. He had even reigned at a time of total peace, where before, the people had constantly been at war.
Rehoboam had inherited all of this wealth, honour, and title. He was to be the ruler of the Lords chosen people. Along with this however, Rehoboam had also inherited some of the promises of God. The first promise, was one that he would receive with pleasure. This promise was given to David a few decades earlier.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.’ "
Rehoboam had a security in this promise. God had promised to establish David’s throne and had said that he would always have descendants that would rule in Israel. In today’s world there is no longer any such thing as job security, but for Rehoboam, he knew that his descendants would always have a throne in Israel as he lived in the promises given to David. Of course Jesus would eventually take the baton, as a descendent of David, Solomon and Rehoboam, and His throne will never pass away.
Rehoboam also inherited another promise however. This one had been given to Solomon because of his unfaithfulness to the Lord in his later years.
Then he said to Jeroboam, "Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: `See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes.
32:But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe.
While Rehoboam inherited all of Israel, he was living under the promise that some day it would be split into two. Most of Israel would be torn a way from either his, or his descendants hand, and would be given to somebody who was not from David’s line. It was only the promise given to David that meant that his descendants would retain some rule in Israel. This second promise was a sobering one. I want to look at the life of Rehoboam and see what caused this promise to be fulfilled during his reign. The mistakes that Rehoboam made stand as an example and warning to us, in how we live our lives.
Followed his own will:
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 in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt.
3:So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him:
4:"Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labour and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you."
5:Rehoboam answered, "Come back to me in three days." So the people went away.
6:Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. "How would you advise me to answer these people?" he asked.
7:They replied, "If you will be kind to these people and please them and give them a favourable answer, they will always be your servants."
8:But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.
9:He asked them, "What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, `Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?"
10:The young men who had grown up with him replied, "Tell the people who have said to you, `Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter’ - tell them, `My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist.
11:My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’ "
Solomon had achieved many great things and had built many great buildings. In doing so he had demanded heavy taxes from the people and had put a heavy yoke on them. Although it was only the foreigners who became conscripts to Solomon’s building plans, the Jews had also had to carry the burden. They had had to serve in his army, but now they had had enough. They wanted the new king to listen to them and lighten the load slightly. They had come to make him king but also to present their request.