Summary: This message shows how Rehoboam's public life was vastly different that his private life and the problems that this can cause.
Magicians make their living by seemingly altering our perception of reality. Many of these tricks are accomplished through what is known as sleight of hand. The guiding principle of sleight-of-hand, articulated by legendary close-up magician Dai Vernon, is "be natural." A well-performed sleight looks like an ordinary, natural and completely innocent gesture, change in hand-position or body posture. It is commonly suggested that sleight of hand works because "the hand is quicker than the eye" but this is usually not the case. In addition to manual dexterity, sleight of hand depends on the use of psychology, timing, misdirection, and natural choreography in accomplishing a magical effect. Misdirection is perhaps the most important component of the art of sleight of hand. The magician choreographs his actions so that all spectators are likely to look where he or she wants them to. More importantly, they do not look where the performer does not wish them to look. On the surface one would believe that Rehoboam would be a good and Godly leader for the nation of Israel. He was the grandson of King David and son of Solomon the two greatest kings to ever sit on the throne in Jerusalem. However, Rehoboam is going to follow in his father’s footsteps in way that Solomon would never have desired. In fact his reign will be marked by a dividing kingdom and an intense struggle to maintain his throne. Today, as we look closely at the life of Rehoboam we will be reminded that things are not always the way they seem to be. Hopefully, we will discover some valuable principles to enable us to be able to live an authentic life before God.
I. Rehoboam had a lot against him before he ever assumed the throne.
A. He witnessed his father’s disobedience toward God.
1. When Solomon assumed the throne of Israel, he loved the Lord with all his heart and he desired to rule the people the way God desired him to.
2. As the curtain goes up in chapter 11, we are told that Solomon loved many foreign women.
a. Women from nations that the Lord forbid his people to intermarry with.
b. This love for his many wives begins to lessen his love for the Lord.
c. Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah who was a distinguished Ammonite woman.
3. Solomon felt that these alliances formed through these foreign marriages were in the best interest of the nation of Israel but unfortunately the opposite was true.
4. Solomon’s decisions would soon begin to be made according to political correctness rather than obedience to God’s Law.
a. He accommodated the foreign gods that his wives worshipped.
b. Compromise slowly turned Solomon’s heart from God.
5. Rehoboam witnessed how over time Solomon’s commitment to God is slowly eroded by compromise.
B. He witnessed how his father never lived what he taught.
1. In the Song of Solomon, Solomon lifts up the sanctity of marriage but his 700 wives and 300 concubines sent an entirely different message.
2. Undoubtedly Rehoboam was taught by his father’s proverbs that stressed integrity, wisdom and discipline but he witnessed his father living a self-indulgent life style.
3. Rehoboam witnessed his father living the life of a self-indulgent fool as recorded in the book of Ecclesiastes.
4. Rehoboam had a lot against him as he would grow up to follow in his father’s footsteps.
a. His mother worshiped pagan gods rather than the one true God.
b. Solomon confessed one God but accommodated the worship of many gods.
c. Solomon never practiced what he taught.
5. Solomon’s disregard for God’s law will lead to Rehoboam being set up for failure.
II. There are four clues that show us the Rehoboam’s life was not the way it seemed to be.
A. The way he initially dealt with the people of Israel.
1. The northern part of the kingdom was extremely dissatisfied with Solomon’s policies and Rehoboam has the opportunity to win the hearts of the people.
2. On the outside Rehoboam seems to have great concern for the people as he listens to their grievances.
3. There is no hint that the northern tribes are planning to reject Rehoboam, they simply want to seek a resolution for the things they are unhappy about.
4. Rehoboam requests three days to think things over and to respond to the people’s grievances but soon it will become apparent that Rehoboam only cares about Rehoboam.
a. He asks his father’s wise and seasoned advisors but doesn’t like the advice he receives.
b. He asks those that he grew up with and they tell him exactly what he wants to hear although it is totally wrong.
5. Rehoboam comes down hard on the people and God allows the northern tribes to be ripped away from him.