3/4/2016 LESSON 5:
REHOBAM: A KING WHO TOOK A WRONG COUNSEL
Quarter’s Theme: PORTRAITS OF JEWISH KINGS
Unit 3 – Portraits Of The Kings Of Divided Kingdom (Lessons 5-12)
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 71, 352
Devotional Reading: PS. 1:1-6; PRO. 1:15-19
Topic For Adults
ALWAYS SEEK AND TAKE GODLY COUNSEL
Topic For Youths
KEEP COMPANY WITH GOD-FEARING ONES
Topic For Intermediates
SHOW ME YOUR FRIENDS…
1 KGS. 12:1-24; 2 CHRO. 12:1-14
(SOUL WINNERS CROWN COMPETITION MONTHS)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. (Ps. 1:1) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
To Your Tents O Israel
1 Kgs. 12:12-17
Rehoboam relayed the foolish response of his young counselors to the people. He told them that just as the thigh is proportionally thicker than the little finger, so would his power be used to increase their work and taxes. He intended to scourge them with scorpions, rather than using the lighter and less punishing whips his father had used. Rehoboam might have thought that this attitude would intimidate the people into forgetting about any thought of rebellion. But it had the opposite effect. His answer infuriated the people, and with one voice, the northern tribes withdrew their allegiance to Rehoboam. Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin stayed with him.
Point of Emphasis: What is gathered with wisdom can be scattered through folly.
Prayer Point: God, make me a builder of good things, and not a destroyer.
King Rehoboam was a classical case of colossal loss of opportunity— loss of half the kingdom (more than half, really), loss of integrity, and loss of national sovereignty. The name Rehoboam means “he who enlarges the people”, but his life is a tragic choice resulting in the diminishing of the people of God. Barely a week on the throne, Rehoboam’s outrageous ideas and inability to correctly interpret the political climate of his domain resulted in a rebellion, in which 10 of Israel’s 12 tribes seceded, forming the nation known from then on as Israel, and leaving Rehoboam to reign over only two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. Before long, Rehoboam also abandoned the Lord like his father, King Solomon, to follow the idolatrous ways of his pagan allies. This steady decline did not stop until the nation of Judah lost her sovereignty and became a vassal nation under Egypt’s supervision.
NOTE ON THE TEXTS
PART 1: OPPORTUNITY KNOCKED (1 KGS. 12:1-5)
Upon the death of King Solomon in 930 B.C., his son Rehoboam assumed the throne.
When the nation’s local leaders gathered for Rehoboam’s coronation, they retained Jeroboam, a man respected for his leadership skills, to represent them in a collective bargaining session with the new king. Solomon had placed an oppressive burden of taxes on the public in order to pay for his massive palaces and public works. The people wanted relief. Rehoboam said he would consider the matter and reply in three days.
PART 2: A COSTLY DETOUR (1 KGS. 12:6-11)
The experienced cabinet members of Solomon’s staff advised Rehoboam to submit to their demand; this action would assure their loyalty throughout his entire reign. The political trainees of Rehoboam’s generation, however, having grown up among palaces, temples, parks, and public works of unsurpassed excellence, couldn’t resign themselves to living less luxuriously than the previous generation. They wanted to construct even more excellent works, and recommended that Rehoboam raise taxes to pay for their ambitions. Rehoboam agreed.
PART 3: A FRITTERED LEGACY (1 KGS. 12:12-18, 21-24)
When Rehoboam presented this decision to Jeroboam and the local leaders, they stated their intention to secede from the union, and they quit the coronation. Rehoboam ignored their decision, and at the scheduled time, accompanied his tax collector on his duties as usual. However, the rebel tribes, united in their refusal, stoned the tax collector. Rehoboam himself narrowly escaped. The 10 tribes under Jeroboam retained the historical name of the nation, “Israel”. The two tribes under Rehoboam assumed the name “Judah,” the name of Rehoboam’s tribe.
Still in denial, Rehoboam refused to recognize the independent nation, viewing it as an internal rebellion to be managed by police action. He assembled an army for this purpose from the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin that remained loyal to him. Jeroboam, now named king of the 10 tribes in rebellion, prepared armies for defense. But just as civil war was ready to begin, the Lord sent the prophet Shemaiah to Rehoboam with the message that he must go home and not fight this war. God had arranged the split of the nation because of King Solomon’s sins. So war was averted.
PART 4: AN INGLORIOUS DECLINE (2 CHRO. 12: 1-2, 5-8, 13-14)
As time went on, King Rehoboam’s initial faithfulness to God began to wane. His fortification of the two-tribe kingdom gave him a false sense of confidence. Rehoboam relaxed both his military efforts and his morals. He had 18 wives and 60 concubines. They bore him 28 sons and 60 daughters. With the aid of his idol worshipping wife, Maachah, he built pagan shrines across the land in blatant disobedience to God’s warning.
After two years of apostasy, Shishak king of Egypt launched an invasion force against Judah. The LORD sent the prophet Shemaiah to announce that he would not defend Judah; because of their apostasy, he was abandoning them to their fate. Hearing this, Rehoboam and the local leaders agreed that they deserved this punishment from God. Seeing their contrition, the LORD did not allow them to be destroyed. He only allowed Egypt to dominate Judah. Egypt subdued Judah, and Shishak confiscated everything of value in Rehoboam’s palace and Solomon’s temple. Rehoboam replaced these with cheap imitations which were kept under lock and key, being brought into view only when the king was present.
Rehoboam’s repentance in the face of Egyptian invasion was, however, short-lived. The remainder of his 17 years is summarised in this statement: “He did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD” (2 Chro. 12:14).
Rehoboam’s bad decision to follow the counsel of his young friends rather than that of the wiser counselors of his father was the obvious reason for the division of the nation. But why did Rehoboam listen to the unwise counsel of his friends to increase the burden of the people instead of the wise counsel of his father’s counselors and decrease the burden. Was it simply in fulfilment of an earlier prophesy? Or pride, greed, a lack of respect for his father’s counsellors, or his father’s own spiritual failures? Whatever it was, the end was the same: national disaster, civil war and apostasy. And the result will be the same today for anyone who chooses to take unwise counsel. Let us all be careful and prayerful.
- What opportunity came to Rehoboam and how did he handle it?
- What wrong counsel did king Rehoboam take?
- What lesson can we learn from today’s lesson about keeping company with ungodly people?
- What was the repercussion of king Rehoboam’s wrong counsel?
- What are the dangerous repercussion of taking ungodly counsel today?