Succession

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, I can rest securely in You because You are forever faithful.

 

Read: 1 KINGS 12:1-20

[1] Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. [2] When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. [3] So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: [4] “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.” [5] Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away. [6] Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked. [7] They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.” [8] But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. [9] He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?” [10] The young men who had grown up with him replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. [11] My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.'” [12]Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” [13] The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, [14] 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.” [15] So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite. [16] 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, Israel! Look after your own house, David!” So the Israelites went home. [17] But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them. [18]King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. [19] So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. [20] When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.

 

Reflect: WHAT IS EVIDENT IN REHOBOAM?

After Solomon dies, his son Rehoboam succeeds him as king (1). Hoping for relief from forced labor, the people appeal to him (4). The language of “heavy yoke” and “harsh labor” reminds us of passages in Exodus (1:14; 2:23; 5:9; 6:6,9)–an indictment that Solomon’s rule has effectively returned the people to slavery. Yet, rather than trust the counsel of the elders who had served Solomon, Rehoboam identifies with the young men, possible newcomers, and imposes greater burdens on the people (8-15). Verse 16 sounds strange but represents a rejection of Rehoboam’s reign and results in the Israelites returning home. Rehoboam’s diplomatic efforts fail, and he is forced to escape to Jerusalem (18). The end of the passage sees Jeroboam declared king over the northern tribes of Israel with only Judah remaining loyal to Rehoboam in the south (20). The elders’ advice to Rehoboam (7) reflects a principle about servant leadership which carries across the generations, where power and authority are to serve the best interests of people. This was God’s original design for the monarch (Deut. 17:20), and is seen supremely in Jesus, the servant-king (Mark 10:45).

 

APPLY

Talk a walk with the Lord today. Ask him to speak to you about how he desires to use you.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

King of All Creation, thank You that You bow down in order to lift us up.

 

 

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