SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- King Solomon dies and things are in a state of upheaval. Solomon had forced people into labor, and they ask his son Rehoboam if he will be kinder. If Rehoboam had listed to the advice of his elders (verses 6-7) the people probably would have followed him as king. But he doesn't. It seems he wants to hear what he wants to hear. Some of his friends give him the advice he wants (verses 10-11) and he listens to them.
- When, in verse 15, it says, "this turn of events was from the Lord, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken," it does not necessarily mean that God caused or condone the foolishness of Rehoboam. It's more that God had predicted this would happen (see 1 Kings 11:9-13) and Rehoboam's actions were fulfilling God's words.
- We see in this chapter Kingdom of Israel divided. 10 of Israel's 12 tribes stayed together and followed Jeroboam (verse 20). The other 2 tribes, Judah and Benjamin, followed Rehoboam, remaining loyal to David, Solomon and their line of successors. (The tribes of Judah and Benjamin were sometimes referred to as one tribe because the tribe of Benjamin was so small.)
- Every Jewish man was required to travel to Jerusalem three times a year for worship. Jeroboam was afraid if they went to Jerusalem they might switch their allegiance to Rehoboam, so he sets up other worship sites (verses 25-33). These worship sites were not where God had told the people to worship, and they were not worshipping God at these sites. Jeroboam leads the people away from worshipping God for his own selfish reasons.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Rehoboam sought advice, but he didn't really want wisdom; he wanted someone to confirm what he had already decided. Too often we don't really want wisdom or to do what's right. We already have our minds made up, and we look for anything that will support our decision. As we'll see with Rehoboam, this leads to disastrous consequences.
- Both Rehoboam and Jeroboam make decisions to advance their own interests and accumulate power, but good godly leaders look out for the good of the people.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- What decisions have you faced recently, or are you facing now? Where do you go to get godly wisdom? Do you make your decision before you really hear the wisdom, or are you truly open to hearing what you may not want to hear?
- Where has God given you leadership? At your job? In your home? With some friends? How do you use that influence? For your own good, or for the good of those you lead? Where could you lead in a way that might set your interests back, but would be good for others?