Summary: The only way we can stand strong in our families, churches and communities is when we walk in unity and guard against division and strife.
UNITED WE STAND: DIVIDED WE FALL
INTRODUCTION: Vision 2016: “Seek God First.”
• “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8, NKJV).
• My hope is that this year you will catch a glimpse of the awesomeness of Jesus, and Seek God First in every area of your life! He is GOOD! Preach…
• TESTIMONY: Youth on Friday night – 7 students made first time decisions for Jesus!
• “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” (Romans 5:11, NLT).
OPENING TEXT: “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:24-25, NKJV).
THE BIG IDEA: The only way we can stand strong in our families, churches and communities is when we walk in unity and guard against division and strife.
BACKGROUND TO THE STORY:
• For the past three weeks, we have been studying the story of kings and prophets in Israel.
• The first three kings in a unified Israel were Saul, David and Solomon.
• As we come into First Kings Chapter 12, King Solomon has just died.
1. REHOBOAM’S CORONATION DAY:
“1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt, for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. 3 The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. 4 “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.” 5 Rehoboam replied, “Give me three days to think this over. Then come back for my answer.” So the people went away.” (1 Kings 12:1-5, NLT).
• Solomon began ruling unwisely by overtaxing the people, forcing them into hard labor.
• His son Rehoboam is being crowned king, and the people ask him to lighten up.
2. REHOBOAM SEEKS ADVICE FROM WISE OLDER MEN:
“6 Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?” 7 The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.” 8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men...” (1 Kings 12:6-8a, NLT).
• Here was some great advice from some wise men, but Rehoboam rejected it!
• This was good advice: Jesus taught the concept of servant leadership too:
• “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.” (Mark 10:43, NKJV).
• Rehoboam’s dad Solomon had written: “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14, NKJV).
3. REHOBOAM SEEKS ADVICE FROM HIS YOUNG FRIENDS:
“8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. 9 “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?” 10 The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’” 12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered. 13 But Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors 14 and followed the counsel of his younger advisers.” (1 Kings 12:8-14a, NLT).
4. THE CONSEQUENCES OF REHOBOAM’S DECISION:
“15 So the king paid no attention to the people. This turn of events was the will of the LORD, for it fulfilled the LORD ’s message to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.” (1 Kings 12:15, NLT).
• Note – this does not mean that God’s perfect will was for the nation to divide! It was an unfortunate consequence of some bad decisions on the people’s part. His perfect will would have been for them to stay together in unity.
“16 When all Israel realized that the king had refused to listen to them, they responded, “Down with the dynasty of David! We have no interest in the son of Jesse. Back to your homes, O Israel! Look out for your own house, O David!” So the people of Israel returned home. 17 But Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah. 18 King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, to restore order, but the people of Israel stoned him to death. When this news reached King Rehoboam, he quickly jumped into his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. 19 And to this day the northern tribes of Israel have refused to be ruled by a descendant of David. 20 When the people of Israel learned of Jeroboam’s return from Egypt, they called an assembly and made him king over all Israel. So only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the family of David.” (1 Kings 12:15-20, NLT).