Summary: Rehoboam failed to treasure what he has, he abandoned the Law of the Lord and forfeited the true worship of God. Heed 2 Chron 12:14 words - let us set our heart on seeking the Lord.
Over the past 3 sermons we have been looking at King Jeroboam and his Northern Kingdom of Israel, the ten tribes that had defected.
• They defected not just from David’s dynasty but from God. King Jeroboam led them into idolatry, creating another new religion, with new gods.
What about the Southern Kingdom, the remaining two tribes of Judah and Benjamin?
• Will those who stay in Jerusalem keep faith with God? Will they continue to honour God, since they have the Temple of God situated right there before them?
• We are going to read 1 Kings 14:21-28 and see what is happening in Judah and with King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon.
We read about him two chapters ago in 1 Kings 12. When he first came onto the throne, the people requested that he lightens the burdens placed upon them.
• He consulted the elders (those who had served his father Solomon) but rejected their counsel, which was to accede to the people’s request.
• Instead, he listened to the advice of the young men he grew up with and gave the people a very harsh reply. That drove the ten tribes away and they defected.
Now let’s read what happened in the South - 1 Kings 14:21-28.
Rehoboam FAILED TO TREASURE WHAT HE HAS
He inherited his father Solomon’s wealth and resources. He has the council of the elders who once served his father.
• He has Jerusalem, “the city the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put His name” (14:21), the writer reminded us.
• He has the Temple of the Lord (built by his father) in which to worship God.
• He has the Levites and the priests to serve in the worship of God, unlike King Jeroboam (who feared not having places of worship and had to appoint priests).
Rehoboam has all the right conditions to make Jerusalem the centre for the worship of God, as the Lord so said.
• He was in better state than King Jeroboam but he did not treasure what he has.
• The better circumstances did not lead to a godly reign. Instead, Rehoboam introduced something more – 14:23 “They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree.”
The circumstances don’t make us; our decisions do.
• It’s not the circumstances that make us who we are; it’s the decisions we make.
• Rehoboam has a good starting point, but that’s about it. He did not treasure what God has given him.
Was this the result of a lack of knowledge of the Law of God, that he was unaware of Gods’ ways?
• No. 2 Chron 12:1 tells us, “After Rehoboam's position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the LORD.”
• It was a choice he made, after he was established and he had become strong.
Rehoboam ABANDONED THE LAW OF THE LORD
In actual fact, God has given specific instructions for the King at Mount Sinai.
• Deut 17:18-20 “18When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. 19It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.”
• Rehoboam was just the second generation after David, so this practice was likely taught. He was not ignorant of God’s Law.
Circumstances can be good or bad, and they can change. But they don’t make us who we are. Ultimately we become what we choose to be.
• Whatever the circumstances, we can choose to do the right thing and honour God, by the grace of God.
• Most circumstances are beyond our control, but we trust the One who is in control and we seek Him to help us make the right choices.
• We are not a product of the circumstances, nor are we victims of the circumstances.
Rehoboam led Judah into sin. The circumstances were in his favours but he led Judah into sin. And then we see God stepping in.
• We have been seeing God stepping in a couple of times now, in the reigns of the last few kings that we have been looking at.
• God steps in to awake man from their sinful slumber. In the 5th year of Rehoboam’s reign, God sent Egypt to invade Jerusalem.