1 Kings 12 part 8

 

Last week as looked at Chapter 11 we saw what happens when a faithful man turns unfaithful to God and tonight we will see the results of Solomonís unfaithfulness under his sons reign in Chapter 12.

 

1 Kings 12:1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king.2 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),3 that they sent and called him. Then Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying,4 "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."5 So he said to them, "Depart for three days, then come back to me." And the people departed.

 

It was time for Rehomboam to become the new king in place of his father. Now as soon as Jeroboam found out that Solomon was dead he returned from Egypt to finish what God had purposed for him to do. With Jeroboam being one of the main instigators he rallies the people to make a demand from the king. They wanted their burden lightened. Now we are not told specifically what this burden was but some have suggested it was high taxes they paid the king each year and others have suggested that even though they were not slaves that Solomon worked them so hard that they felt like slaves. What ever the burden was it certainly safe to say that the people were tired of it but, this request would bring about dilemma for the new king because if he agrees to this, this makes him entering his kingship with compromises and if disagrees with this it could come make his kingship very difficult. Instead of answering right away he ask for 3 days to think the matter over.

 

1 Kings 12:6 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?"7 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."8 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.9 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!'

 

 

 

At first Rehoboam does the wisest thing he goes before the elders who served under his father. These men were experienced in what had been going in the last 40 years and they would certainly give the best advice but unfortunately Rehoboam rejected their advice and he decides to take the advice of those who were inexperienced. It would have been one thing if he had just decided to keep the burden the same but no these young adviser want him increase the burden many times over. You can visually see how much greater of a burden this would be by the statement made that his little finger would be thicker than his fathers waist. Then it also says he will uses scourges instead of whips to chastise his people.

 

It real shame that he decide to take the advice of these inexperienced men. Many mistakes been made in our society because of take advice from the inexperienced. This event helps shows us why the church today is set up with elders who are not novices to the word of God or the experiences of life. It is this wisdom that makes them great leaders and the best qualified to set the tone and direction for the church. Someone that lacks this wisdom with life and the word of God would no doubt lead the church far away from God and make many bad decisions just like these inexperienced advisors of Rehoboam.

 

1 Kings 12:12 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!"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.

 

Not only did Rehoboam tell these people how much greater a burden he was going to put on them he told them roughly.

 

Now the word roughly is defined this way. hard, cruel, severe, obstinate, fierce, intense, vehement, stubborn, stiff-necked or rigorous (of battle)

 

In others words with ever ounce of his being he made his statements and strong as possible could. He was trying show that he wasnít scared of the people and that he was stronger than they were. But as, we read this was all done so that the providence of God would come about. As writer stated even though Rheoboam came from one if the wisest men alive it certainly shows us that wisdom is not inherited.

 

1 Kings 12:16 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.20 Now it came to pass when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had come back, they sent for him and called him to the congregation, and made him king over all Israel. There was none who followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.

 

Here is where we see the 10 tribes of Israel divide themselves from Davidís household. Since their demands were not made then they no longer consider themselves united with King Rehoboam and so they go their way. With the exception of Adoram this was pretty much a bloodless event as now the Children of Israel are divided up in to a northern kingdom and a southern kingdom called Judah. Now it can be confusing when you read that last verse where it says none followed the house of David but the tribe of Judah because at first you might think that only 1 tribe was left to Rehoboam but there were in fact 2 this indicated by the term house of David because the house of David was the tribe of Benjamin and you can also see this in the next verse as well.

 

1 Kings 12:21 And when Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah with the tribe of Benjamin, one hundred and eighty thousand chosen men who were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, that he might restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.

 

Notice Rohoboam kingdom consisted of both the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin. Here we see that he was going to attack the northern kingdom to try and restore it but his plan is put on hold as we read in,

 

1 Kings 12:22 But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,23 "Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, saying,24 'Thus says the LORD: "You shall not go up nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel. Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me." ' " Therefore they obeyed the word of the LORD, and turned back, according to the word of the LORD.

 

We know very little about this man of God called Shemaiah but he someone who be allowed to speak to Rehomboam and give him a message from God. Surprisingly, Rehoboam takes this advice and does not attack the northern kingdom.

 

1 Kings 12:25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim, and dwelt there. Also he went out from there and built Penuel.26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now the kingdom may return to the house of David:27 "If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah."28 Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!"29 And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan.31 He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi.32 Jeroboam ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did at Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And at Bethel he installed the priests of the high places which he had made.33 So he made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and offered sacrifices on the altar and burned incense.

 

Now I want you to remember back in chapter 11 Jeroboam was promised to be a mighty king with house that would endure if followed Godís commands. However we quickly see that once he formed his new kingdom he started doing things his way instead of Godís way. He really felt like if these people had to go back to Jerusalem to worship God at the temple every year and if they went back for the various things they celebrate that this would lead them to want to be under king Rehoboam and this would mean the end of his kingdom and his life. So, he makes up his own Golden calf Gods and celebrations that happened at the same time as those that the children of Israel were use to celebrating.

 

Now think about how this sounds. Jeroboam had effectively mimicked those things that were set up by God but they were things done by his own way. This way it to people it would seem like true worship to God when in fact is was not. What does that remind you of today? Does this not sound like what the denominationshave done? Have they not made their worship to God mimic the true worship as described by the Bible? But what do they do they either add or take away from what the Bible says is true worship. This really isnít much different than what Jeroboam was doing. Now we will find out next week in chapter 13 and 14 that Jeroboam will pay for what he has done and because of his rebellion against Godís Word it would lead to the demise of the entire northern kingdom.

 

We have learned several valuable lessons from this chapter. We have seen that unfaithfulness to God will be dealt with just as we saw the kingdom of Solomon taken from his family. We have also learned how important it is that you listen to the advice of those who experienced as opposed to those who are inexperienced. The finally we learned that mimicking those things that God has approved by using your own methods will never be acceptable to him.

 

For the rest of this lesson I want to focus in on that last point which I said reminds me of denominations today. The denomination itself give the idea of division and that is exactly what a denomination is. It is a group of people who call themselves by a particular name which indicates their particular method of worship. So this makes them different in that aspect as compared to another denomination. So, anyway you look at this is a division. However the big thrust these day as you can read on in paper or see on TV is an encouragement to worship at the church of your choice. In other words this indicates that ever denomination will get you to heaven. But, this simply cannot be true.

 

The only way that you are going be pleasing to God is if you belong to the church mentioned in the Bible and that you worship Him according to His word. The Bible makes is easy for us to see that there is only 1 church and 1 way that is pleasing to God. I want you to notice what Jesus says in response to Peterís great confession of His deity.

 

Matthew 16:17 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

 

Notice it was upon this confession of Jesus being deity that he would build His church. Jesus does not say churches plural put church singular. This is the same church that he purchased with His own blood according to Acts 20:28 and it is this one church that He is the savior of according Eph. 5:23.

 

Ephesians 5:23For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

 

The word body and church are synonymously. We also learn that we are put into the one church/body at the point of baptism according to,

 

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free -- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

 

Paul also makes it clear that there is only one body/church in,

 

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

 

This church/body must worship God in spirit and in truth as,

 

John 4:24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

 

The spirit means from heart and the truth means according to Godís Word. John 17:17. Also notice what Paul wrote to the Philippians in,

 

Philippians 1:27 ††Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

 

The same we read that Jesus commanded Paul is stressing to these brethren because he want them to be of one spirit and one mind as the strive live their lives and worship God according to his perfect will found in Bibles.††

 

This is why we see over and over again stated within our Bibleís the importance of following Godís plan and not our own. One of the many strong passages that show us how important this is, is found in,

 

2 John 1:9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.

 

Friends it doesnít get much clearly than that. You either abide by the doctrine of Christ or you do not have God. This means you cannot add or take away from what the Bible says about worshiping God, yet this is exactly what many denominations have done. They have added musical instruments, teach tithing, allow women to preach over men and women and allow them to be deacons and elders, they change the lord supper in to a quarterly or yearly event, they completely ignore the autonomy of each congregation and have earthly headquarters, and then they donít even teach the truth on what is required to become a child God and this is just to name a few. Besides all this denominations are condemned in the Bible in,

 

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you.12 Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ."13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

 

Paul makes easy for us to see that division is wrong which means have denominations is wrong not matter how closely they mimic the one church in the Bible. Many of these denominations even call themselves after another man or even after some action like repentance or baptism. Paul says this should not be the case because Christ was crucified for us and not anybody else. To name yourself after action like repentance or baptism or after some man give glory to that person or those actions that is why we should be careful that we call ourselves by something that will God the honor and Glory deserved to Him and the name church of Christ is certainly one of those names as mentioned in Romans 16:16.

So let always be careful as Christians not to get caught up in the false statement that there are many roads that lead to heaven and so you can choose the church of your choice. Instead Jesus tells this,

Matthew 7:13" Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

So not only is there not many roads that lead to heaven there one narrow road that leads to heaven and only those who worship God in spirit and truth and that belong to the one body/church will make it to heaven.