Jeroboam far from God worships golden calf

2 Chronicles 10-12: What Happened When the People Lost Sight of God?

Remember in yesterday’s post where I quoted Deuteronomy 17? Both David, his son Solomon, and now David’s grandson Rehoboam, did the same thing. Like father, like sons. They ignore God. They ignored His Word. As a result, the whole nation, all the people, suffered the consequences. Let’s dig in…

2 Chronicles 10 – The Northern Tribes Revolt

Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt, for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and all Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. “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.”

Rehoboam replied, “Come back in three days for my answer.” So the people went away.

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?”

The older counselors replied, “If you are good to these people and do your best to please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”

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. “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 them, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors 14 and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “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!” (Scourges – whips with metal pieces on the ends)

15 So the king paid no attention to the people. This turn of events was the will of God, for it fulfilled the Lord’s message to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.

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 all 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.

2 Chronicles 10 NLT

2 Chronicles 11 – God Speaks

When Rehoboam arrived at Jerusalem, he mobilized the men of Judah and Benjamin—180,000 select troops—to fight against Israel and to restore the kingdom to himself.

But the Lord said to Shemaiah, the man of God, “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the Israelites in Judah and Benjamin: ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not fight against your relatives. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!’” So they obeyed the message of the Lord and did not fight against Jeroboam.

Rehoboam Fortifies Judah

Rehoboam remained in Jerusalem and fortified various towns for the defense of Judah. He built up Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. These became the fortified towns of Judah and Benjamin. 11 Rehoboam strengthened their defenses and stationed commanders in them, and he stored supplies of food, olive oil, and wine. 12 He also put shields and spears in these towns as a further safety measure. So only Judah and Benjamin remained under his control.

13 But all the priests and Levites living among the northern tribes of Israel sided with Rehoboam. 14 The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property and moved to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons would not allow them to serve the Lord as priests. 15 Jeroboam appointed his own priests to serve at the pagan shrines, where they worshiped the goat and calf idols he had made. 16 From all the tribes of Israel, those who sincerely wanted to worship the Lord, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem, where they could offer sacrifices to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 17 This strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they supported Rehoboam son of Solomon, for during those years they faithfully followed in the footsteps of David and Solomon.

Rehoboam’s Family

18 Rehoboam married his cousin Mahalath, the daughter of David’s son Jerimoth and of Abihail, the daughter of Eliab son of Jesse. 19 Mahalath had three sons—Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham.

20 Later Rehoboam married another cousin, Maacah, the granddaughter of Absalom. Maacah gave birth to Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maacah more than any of his other wives and concubines. In all, he had eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and they gave birth to twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.

22 Rehoboam appointed Maacah’s son Abijah as leader among the princes, making it clear that he would be the next king. 23 Rehoboam also wisely gave responsibilities to his other sons and stationed some of them in the fortified towns throughout the land of Judah and Benjamin. He provided them with generous provisions, and he found many wives for them.

2 Chronicles 11 NLT

2 Chronicles 12 – Egypt Invades Judah

But when Rehoboam was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the Law of the Lord, and all Israel followed him in this sin. Because they were unfaithful to the Lord, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign. He came with 1,200 chariots, 60,000 horses, and a countless army of foot soldiers, including Libyans, Sukkites, and Ethiopians. Shishak conquered Judah’s fortified towns and then advanced to attack Jerusalem.

The prophet Shemaiah then met with Rehoboam and Judah’s leaders, who had all fled to Jerusalem because of Shishak. Shemaiah told them, “This is what the Lord says: You have abandoned me, so I am abandoning you to Shishak.”

Then the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is right in doing this to us!”

When the Lord saw their change of heart, he gave this message to Shemaiah: “Since the people have humbled themselves, I will not completely destroy them and will soon give them some relief. I will not use Shishak to pour out my anger on Jerusalem. But they will become his subjects, so they will know the difference between serving me and serving earthly rulers.”

So King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. 10 King Rehoboam later replaced them with bronze shields as substitutes, and he entrusted them to the care of the commanders of the guard who protected the entrance to the royal palace. 11 Whenever the king went to the Temple of the Lord, the guards would also take the shields and then return them to the guardroom. 12 Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger was turned away, and he did not destroy him completely. There were still some good things in the land of Judah.

Summary of Rehoboam’s Reign

13 King Rehoboam firmly established himself in Jerusalem and continued to rule. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen from among all the tribes of Israel as the place to honor his name. Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah, a woman from Ammon. 14 But he was an evil king, for he did not seek the Lord with all his heart.

15 The rest of the events of Rehoboam’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Record of Shemaiah the Prophet and The Record of Iddo the Seer, which are part of the genealogical record. Rehoboam and Jeroboam were continually at war with each other. 16 When Rehoboam died, he was buried in the City of David. Then his son Abijah became the next king.

2 Chronicles 12 NLT

God didn’t Abandon them Completely

God loves Israel — especially the kingdom of Judah — the tribe of Judah. That’s Jesus‘ tribe. God had a long-term plan that did not include the total destruction of Judah. Yet, He had to punish them for their disobedience. According to His commands, kings were to read the scrolls of the law daily. It’s clear that they didn’t. They kept wandering further and further away from God.

The cause of the conflict was taxes. It’s proven that reducing taxes helps the country. People have more money to spend, thus the economy grows and taxes are paid. Fair taxes make for a happy people. Unfair taxes lead to revolt. That’s exactly what happened.

Rehoboam went advice shopping. This is when you go asking around until you hear what you want to hear. He asked the elders — the wise people — but he didn’t like what they said. Then he went to the youngsters, the folks his age. You can call them the “woke” advisers. Rehoboam liked their advice, wrong as it was. Consequently, 10 tribes revolted. He managed to lose 10/12 of the kingdom his father Solomon and his grandfather David worked hard to unite.

Subsequently, Reheboam wanted to start a civil war and fight Israel to unite the tribes again. However, God said, “No”.

A New Religion

Meanwhile, up in the northern kingdom of Israel, the 10 tribes, under the direction of Jereboam started worshiping idols. Doing exactly what God told them NOT to do in the 2nd Commandment

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

Exodus 20:4-6 NLT

Pastor Sandy Adams explains…

Map of the Divided Kingdom of Israel and Judah. Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Map of the Divided Kingdom of Israel and Judah. Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Jeroboam knew his biggest obstacle in creating an independent state among the northern tribes was religion. The Jewish Law required all Hebrew males to visit the Temple in Jerusalem 3 times a year. If his subjects were obligated to the Temple, their hearts would remain loyal to Rehoboam. To break this bond Jeroboam decided to invent his own rival religion.

He reverts back to the graven images used by Israel in the wilderness. He sets up two golden calves in Dan and Bethel. These calves were suppose to represent Jehovah, but they violated God’s second commandment, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image… you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.”

God considered these golden calves to be idols – inspired by demons. Jeroboam substituted the Temple with the high places – the Ark with the gold calves – the Levites with his own priests… it was an alternative religion for the northern tribes – and it accomplished its goal. It cut off north from south. Understand, Jeroboam claimed to worship God, but not in the way God wanted to be worshipped. He devised a system of worship that served his own interests.

This is what many people have done today. They call themselves “Christian” – and claim to follow Jesus. But they’ve never taken seriously the demands of Jesus in the Scriptures. Their Christianity is a religion built around their own convenience. We talk about this often – true love is the willingness to love someone the way they want and need to be loved – not just in the way that’s convenient to me. The same is true in our relationship with God. Jeroboam concocted a “me-first religion.” His religion served his own interests – not God… And God considered it demonic.

Jeroboam’s religion became a permanent fixture in the northern kingdom. All 18 successors followed in his footsteps. It’s why God eventually judges Israel.

Sandy Adams

Listen to God!

Imagine how it would have been had they followed God’s instructions!

Never underestimate the power of the plain, clear Word of God.

Sandy Adams

Obviously, we are way better off seeking God’s Kingdom than inventing our own form of worship. Here’s a quote from one of the Bible Study plans from the free, YouVersion Bible app, Book of 2 Chronicles...

It is not God who removes His hand from us but we release our hand from God’s grasp.

Bethany Church Singapore
https://www.bcs.org.sg/

Lastly, God used Egypt to enact judgment on Judah for disobedience. Moreover, Rehoboam relies on his own ideas, rather than trusting God. Pastor Sandy comments…

What Rehoboam does many Christians mimic… Rather than go for the gold we settle for bronze. Instead of insisting on God’s best, we settle for cheap substitutes… we rely on our own willpower, not God’s power – the moving of emotions, not the transforming of lives – compromise not change – appeasement not victory. We rely on what we can do, instead of trusting in what God can do.

Rehoboam should’ve gone after the gold, but he settled bronze. Let’s not repeat his mistake in our hearts, our homes, our church… walk in the Spirit!

Sandy Adams

History Books are Written for a Reason!

If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it! I’m going to end with the words of King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, yet he was the unhappiest…

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”

What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. 10 Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. 11 We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.

Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 NLT

So, are you listening closely to God? Are you reading His Word daily? Are you relying on the Holy Spirit in your heart for discernment and wisdom? No? Then what are you waiting for? It’s time to get right with God!

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
  • Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be The Glory!

Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Chart of the Kings of Israel and Judah

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