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1. Rebellion and Division

October 12, 2010

Text:    II Kings 12:1-24

Harmony Text:            II Chronicles 10:1-11:4

Outline:           I.     Rehoboam Appoints Himself King                      II Kings 12:1

II.    Jeroboam Becomes the Peoples Voice             II Kings 12:2-11

III.   Rehoboam Rejects the People’s Request        II Kings 12:12-15

IV.   The Kingdom Divides                                              II Kings 12:16-24

Context/Comments/Discussion:

Solomon dies and Rehoboam, his son, becomes king.  But not all of Israel is sure they want Rehoboam as their king.  Jereboam returns from exile in Egypt and desires to change the policies of Solomon who forced him into exile.  Solomon was a wise man but near the end of his reign he did not practice what he preached.  He did not follow his own instruction in Proverbs.  His fear of the Lord waned and his government became oppressive.  His will took priority over the will of the people and over God’s Will.  His humility turned to pride.  The study of Proverbs aids us in understanding the political climate in Israel at the time of Solomon’s death.  Rehoboam learned about Wisdom from his father but he did not choose to believe it, possibly because his father was not faithful to his own teachings.  Success and pride tend to push us away from the Lord God and His statutes.

Rehoboam goes to Shechem to be crowned king of all Israel.  This is where Saul and David were crowned king.  Solomon was appointed king by David but Solomon did not exercise foresight with respect to the kingdom.

Jeroboam hears of Solomon’s death and returns to Israel upon being called to represent the people’s desire for change to less taxation and oppression [see comments on Proverbs 28].  Rehoboam asks for time to consider their request.  He consults with the elders who advise him to take on the role of servant so all Israel will be unified.  Rehoboam did not like their counsel so he seeks the counsel of his peers.  Their advice is for Rehoboam to be more oppressive than Solomon.  When three days have passed, Jeroboam and Israel come to Rehoboam to hear his decision.  Rehoboam took the advice of his peers and thus the Word of the Lord through His prophet Ahijah came to pass.

Israel was divided.  Judah and Benjamin accepted Rehoboam as their king and the other ten tribes of the north rejected Rehoboam and stoned Adoniram who was over all the forced labor.  Rehoboam was forced to flee to Jerusalem.  Jeroboam was made king of the ten northern tribes, completing the division of Israel.  Rehoboam wants to fight the ten tribes to restore unity but the Word of the Lord through Shemaiah advised and prevailed against it.

 Lessons/Applications:

1.  Seek the Lord’s Will, not your own will.  God is Sovereign, not man.  God’s sovereignty sometimes allows the “less than ideal” situation to prevail because God knows man’s heart.

2.  Self appointed leaders seldom gain the trust and respect of others.

3.  Always give more weight to the advice from your elders if different than from your peers [see Proverbs 27:10].

4.  A policy of oppression [lack of freedom] is the surest way to create division in any culture, government, or organization.  Rulers/leaders are to serve and invoke policies which encourage others to serve.

5.  Division is not good but sometimes it is the lesser of two evils.  Do not divide in haste but seek the Lord.

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