Division

OPENING PRAYER

God of All, praise to You who made the heaven and the earth and all that is in them!

 

Read: 1 KINGS 11:26-43

[26] Also, Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king. He was one of Solomon’s officials, an Ephraimite from Zeredah, and his mother was a widow named Zeruah. [27] Here is the account of how he rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the terraces and had filled in the gap in the wall of the city of David his father. [28] Now Jeroboam was a man of standing, and when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labor force of the tribes of Joseph. [29] About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country, [30] and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. [31] Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. [32] But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. [33] I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molek the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in obedience to me, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my decrees and laws as David, Solomon’s father, did. [34] “‘But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon’s hand; I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of David my servant, whom I chose and who obeyed my commands and decrees. [35] I will take the kingdom from his son’s hands and give you ten tribes. [36] I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name.[37] However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel.[38] If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. [39] I will humble David’s descendants because of this, but not forever.'”[40] Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon’s death. [41] As for the other events of Solomon’s reign-all he did and the wisdom he displayed-are they not written in the book of the annals of Solomon? [42] Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. [43] Then he rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.

 

Reflect: HOW DOES A DIVIDED HEART LEAD TO A DIVIDED KINGDOM?

Verses 24 and 25 describe various internal divisions and adversaries within Solomon’s kingdom. As it turns out, the most significant rival–Jeroboam–is right under Solomon’s nose (26). Described as a “man of standing” (28), Jeroboam encounters Ahijah whose prophetic action (reminiscent of 1 Sam. 15:27,28) graphically foretells a division in the kingdom: God will tear away ten tribes from Solomon and give them to Jeroboam (31).Notice the emphasis on “I” in verses 31 to 36. What comes about will have nothing to do with Jeroboam’s own competence, and everything to do with the Lord’s plan. He, not leaders of nations, governs history–a fact which shapes our prayers and our direction of trust. Crucially, though, the promise made to Jeroboam is conditional (38,39). We shall see in a subsequent reading how his story ends. As in yesterday’s passage (1 Kings 11:4,6,12,13), the emphasis on David is significant. In a demonstration of grace in judgment, God promises that a lamp will always burn in Jerusalem, implying continual succession.

 

APPLY

Thank God that he works out his purposes for good in spite of our own weaknesses and failings, and those of others too.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Jesus, without Your touch I have nothing good to bring. Move through me.

 

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