Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2 Chronicles 10-11: Rehoboam's Foolish Decision

2 Chron 10:12-17 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, "Come back to me in three days." The king answered them harshly. Rejecting the advice of the elders, he followed the advice of the young men and said, "My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions." So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from God, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite. When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king: "What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse's son? To your tents, O Israel! Look after your own house, O David!" So all the Israelites went home. 

2 Chron 11:13-17 The priests and Levites from all their districts throughout Israel sided with [Rehoboam]. The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property, and came to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the Lord. And he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat and calf idols he had made. Those from every tribe of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the Lord, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the Lord, the God of their fathers. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, walking in the ways of David and Solomon during this time.

Rehoboam's rejection of the wisdom of age in favour of the bravado of youth split the nation into two: Israel in the north (consisting of 10 tribes) rebelled against him and Rehoboam ended with Judah & Benjamin in the south under his reign. Jeroboam ruled in the northern kingdom. The enthusiasm and energy of youth need to be tempered by the caution of age. As the Chinese elders would say, "we have eaten more salt than you've eaten rice." A healthy respect for the advice of the older generation is a good reality check against rash decisions.

Rehoboam managed to followed the ways of his father David and Solomon for three years. Those who were faithful to the LORD in the north (especially the priests and the Levites) fled the northern kingdom to join the southern kingdom where the temple and the services were. The northern kingdom under Jeroboam went after goat and calf idols in place of the true worship of the LORD.

One bad decision spells disaster for the entire nation--leading to a political breakup and spiritual decline of Israel as God's people. It starts with a total disregard for the wisdom of age. Scripture has commanded respect for the aged in Leviticus 19:32, "Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord."

Father, You have taught in Your word that we are to respect the elderly. May You continually keep this attitude within us, that we may have a generation of young people who knows how to respect the elderly and revere You. Amen.

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