Devotional 15: We Hear What We Want

1st Kings: 7:12-19

The Revolt Against Rehoboam

12 And Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king. So it happened, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard it(he was still in Egypt, for he had fled from the presence of King Solomon and had been dwelling in Egypt ), that they sent and called him. Then Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying,“Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.”

So he said to them, “Depart for three days, then come back to me.” And the people departed.

Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, and he said, “How do you advise me to answer these people?”

And they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”

But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him. And he said to them, “What advice do you give? How should we answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?”

10 Then the young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, “Thus you should speak to this people who have spoken to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter on us’—thus you shall say to them: ‘My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s waist! 11 And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!’”[a]

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had directed, saying, “Come back to me the third day.” 13 Then the king answered the people roughly, and rejected the advice which the elders had given him; 14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!”[b]15 So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from the Lord, that He might fulfill His word, which the Lord had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

16 Now when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying:

“What share have we in David?
We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
To your tents, O Israel!
Now, see to your own house, O David!”

So Israel departed to their tents. 17 But Rehoboam reigned over the children of Israel who dwelt in the cities of Judah.

18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was in charge of the revenue; but all Israel stoned him with stones, and he died. Therefore King Rehoboam mounted his chariot in haste to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

The son of Solomon did not inherit his wisdom, nor did he ask God for anything regarding the rule of His people. As Solomon’s heart turned to flesh instead of God, so too, did his son’s heart turn to flattery by his peers.

Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders his father knew, and chose instead the advice of youth who, like him, were wealthy simply by virtue of being their fathers’ sons. In their flattering, they hoped to profit from his cruelty.

They told a cruel man to act even more so, a greedy man to be even more so, and an arrogant man to be even more so, and ignore the pleadings for mercy from those he ruled.

The elders had advised ‘servant leadership’ in order to win the hearts of the people; the kingdom wasn’t financially insolvent, so they wouldn’t have advised it if it wasn’t possible.

And they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”

His own father taught people from around the world: 1st Kings 4:34

 

34 And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.

We see this type of leadership all through the ministry of Jesus, but He actually remarked upon it to the disciples. From the Gospel of John 13 we read:

12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

While Rehoboam didn’t have this example to turn to specifically, he nevertheless had a choice in how he would rule, but in reinforcing through bad advice what he already had in his heart to do, he forgot that God is sovereign.

We read in Psalm 75: 4- 7:

“I said to the boastful, ‘Do not deal boastfully,’
And to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn.
Do not lift up your horn on high;
Do not speak with a stiff neck.’”

For exaltation comes neither from the east
Nor from the west nor from the south.
But God is the Judge:
He puts down one,
And exalts another.

 

Therefore Rehoboam was forced to flee the land he would’ve ruled, for he drove them to rebellion, and gave up the crown.

In our seeking after the will of God, we must align ourselves with those doing likewise, even as we minister to those who are not, either by example or personally.

Our integrity in such things matters to God, especially if we’re in positions of power and influence. Let us be ever mindful, when we are tempted, that God is sovereign, and will hand over what you would rule to someone who will seek after Him, and you will be forced to flee.

Therefore I pray:

Father in Heaven, pluck from me all that wants praises from man, while disregarding Yours, which is all that matters.

Help me to heed the still, small voice of caution and not the chorus of insincere encouragement. Let me abide by the statutes of Your will, especially when it goes against my fallen nature.

I would not have that which You bestowed on me with honor removed from me in rebellious shame.

Let me always heed the teaching of my Lord, who showed the world what it is to serve, and love, and bless from a position of power and influence given by You. Let me always follow His example in serving those He called, and calls today, to accomplish Your work for the Eternal Kingdom.

Let me always walk uprightly before You in those times.

In the Name of Your Most Holy Son, and my Teacher and Lord, Jesus Christ, I ask in faith, believing I have already received.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

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