SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Solomon has died, and his son Rehoboam is in line to become king.
- Jeroboam was someone who Solomon had raised to a position of leadership. God then had someone give Jeroboam a prophecy that he would one day become king over ten of the twelve tribes of Israel because of Solomon's disobedience in marrying women who worshipped other gods. Jeroboam seems to have tried to lead a rebellion against Solomon, but it failed, and when Solomon tried to kill him, Jeroboam fled to Egypt (see 1 Kings 11:26-40)
- Jeroboam now returns and asks Rehoboam to lighten the labor for conscripted laborers (10:2-5). The elders of Israel tell Rehoboam that he should meet this demand as it will win favor with the people, but Rehoboam's friends give him the opposite advice. Rehoboam makes the bad choice to listens to his friends, causing the nation to rise up in rebellion against him (10:10-19).
- God supports the rebellion and tells Rehoboam not to fight against it (see 11:4). Why? Partly because the rebellion was the result of Solomon and his family, and most all of the nation, turning away from God. It also may have been that God was saving Rehoboam from a defeat he likely would have suffered. By not fighting the rebellion, Rehoboam was able to at least remain the king over two of the tribes. This was important because God had promised to preserve David's line (Rehoboam was David's grandson) and that the Messiah (Jesus) would ultimately be born through one of David's descendants.
- Jeroboam, now king of the new "northern" kingdom, saw the priests and Levites as threats to his leadership, so he would not let them serve in their roles. They moved to the new "southern" kingdom, and Jeroboam appointed his own priests. These were pagan priests who encouraged people to worship idols (see 11:13-14).
- Though the leaders and the vast majority of people were abandoning the worship of God, there were still some who remained loyal to God (see 11:16).
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Think about this: If Rehoboam followed the godly advice of the elders, instead of the foolish advice of his friends, all that we read about in these chapters probably could have been avoided. The Bible says in Proverbs 13:20, "Walk with wise people and become wise. A companion of foolish people suffers harm" and in 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'" We need to have wise friends who we turn to for advice and who we listen to, even if what they say isn't what we want to hear.
- Do you have some friends who love you, but love God more than they love you? Do you have friends who know and submit themselves to the Word of God more than you do? We all need friends like that.
- If you don't have some, you need to get some! Where can you? Are you in a small group at church where you should be able to find people like that? Take some time to pray and ask God to help you make this a priority and to point you in the right direction.
- If you do have friends like that, do you take your issues and situations to them? Do you seek advice when you're not sure what to do, or does your pride get in the way of asking? The Bible says there is "safety in having many advisors" (Proverbs 11:14), so take advantage of the wise advisors God has put in your life.