Summary: A journey through the Bible in 32 weeks. Inspired by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. A look at the tearing apart of the Israeli kingdom into north and south.
The Kingdom Torn in Two
January 16, 2011
The Story - 14
When I think about the Bible, I picture it as one movie or television program which is cut into many parts. It’s like watching a television series or sequels that you don’t want to miss. Remember programs like The FBI, or Mission Impossible, Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, and ER. The Star Wars movies or The Matrix. You knew the story would change, there might be some new characters, but there was a constant theme running throughout.
It’s kind of like the Bible. The Bible is one story about God’s love for you and I, and during the course of the movie called the Bible, we see many stories and themes emerging. Some good and some not so good.
Well, today, we’re looking at a not so good chapter in the life of the nation of Israel. We’re in chapter 14, or 1 Kings 12-16. So, let’s dig in.
The title of our chapter is The Kingdom Torn in Two. It sounds like a horror movie, and it kind of is.
Last week we took a look at Solomon’s life. He was the wisest man on the planet. But, Solomon also had a love for the good things in life and in order to support this and to support the military, the people were heavily taxed and many felt the burden of being forced into hard labor. Eventually, Solomon died and the king-dom was passed on to his son, Rehoboam. This is where our story today picks up.
The main characters are Rehoboam and Jeroboam, from the tribe of Ephraim.
We meet Jeroboam in 1 Kings 11, when he was a young soldier in Solomon’s cabinet. He was very successful and rose in leadership. A prophet of God came to Jeroboam and told him he was going to become the next king of Israel. But he would have to wait. But Jeroboam was impatient and tried to take the kingdom from Solomon, Solomon tried to have him killed and Jeroboam escaped to Egypt.
Now I want to tell the story from a couple of points of view.
There are always two stories taking place at the same time. There’s the upper story, in which we see God taking action. This is the viewpoint from God’s perspective. We learn that the Bible is not a compilation of 100's of unrelated stories, but in reality from God’s point of view, it’s one beautiful love story for you and I; and His desire to get us back.
Then there’s the lower story. That’s our story, where life happens. It’s the day to day events which occur in our world and how we react to them. Like paying the bills, sickness, eating together, relationships, it’s our every day life.
Firstly, we’ll look at it from the lower story, looking at it from our point of view.
Well, there’s a conflict which occurs. That’s true in most storylines. And there’s always a cause for the conflict to occur. The conflict is found in 1 Kings 12:1-14 -
1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt.
3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4 “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”
5 Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” 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 today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable 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, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now 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.’”
12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders,