Pride will bring about devastating consequences, but God gives grace and mercy to the humble.
King Solomon’s reign had come to an end, after serving for forty years as King. Though his kingdom brought forth much prosperity to the nation, there were many flaws due to his own personal failures. According to 1 Kings 10:14, the King brought in 666 talents of gold (39,960 pounds).
After the death of King Solomon, the leaders gathered together in Shechem to affirm the kingship of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, provided that he agreed to certain conditions. They had with them, Jeroboam, an official who had served Solomon, and had been exiled by the former King.
We will learn how and why, Rehoboam struggled in his leadership primarily because of his own arrogance and pride.
GOLDEN TEXT:2 Chronicles 12:12 And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well.
1. REHOBOAM REJECTS WISE COUNSEL
A. Pride Breeds Oppression
2 Chronicles 10:
1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king.
2 And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.
3 And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying,
4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.
5 And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed.
6 And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?
7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.
8 But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.
9 And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us?
10 And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.
11 For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day.
13 And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,
14 And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
15 So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
……. The proud will not bend and alleviate the burdens of those beneath them. Assuming that their right to power is absolute, they use their power to bully and intimidate. The end result of pride is that the proud think themselves above others. Consequently, they begin to think that the people around them exist to fulfill their own whims. People are used and cast aside.
*Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
B. Pride Causes Fragmentation
2 Chronicles 10:
16 And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.
17 But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
18 Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
19 And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
…….Instead of humbling himself to the requests of his people, he remained driven to his previous choice, trying to enforce it to work. In result, the nation split in half and he fled in fear of his own life.
…….Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
……. Too many times we seek counsel that is only pleasing to our ears that never requires a change. The sad thing is, when people are seeking for a weakened counsel, there are often so many people who are willing to provide it.
As people called upon to live a new life in Christ, we must seek counsel that points to spiritual maturity, even if it is painful or humbling.
2. Rehoboam Endures Discipline
A. Opossed by God
2 Chronicles 11:
1 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam.
2 But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
3 Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying,
4 Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam.
……. The scriptures tell us that God opposes the proud.
*James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
*1Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
……. Even though he completely divided his Nation, he never considered that it was due to his own Pride. Thankfully, God sent his prophet to order him not to go to battle against his brethren.
B. Faithful People in Troubled Times
2 Chronicles 11:
5 And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah.
6 He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa,
7 And Bethzur, and Shoco, and Adullam,
8 And Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph,
9 And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah,
10 And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities.
11 And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, (showing trust in his people) and store of victual, and of oil and wine.
12 And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.
13 And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts.
……. Rehoboam welcomed the Levites (God’s chosen temple keepers) back to his side.
14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD:
15 And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils (a male goat), and for the calves which he had made.
16 And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.
17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.
22 And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.
23 And he dealt wisely, and dispersed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city: and he gave them victual in abundance. And he desired many wives.
……. As Judah prospered spiritually, they also prospered in any other ways. The king had finally begun listening to wise counsel as he secured and fortified the cities.
……. The most evident blessings come when we humble ourselves to God, and learn how to reject our pride. If we so desire, God will show us where our bride is birthed, and give us the strength to get rid of it. While pride is the most destructive cause of failure, humility is the most evident means of spiritual growth.
3. REHOBOAM HUMBLES HIMSELF
A. Disciplined by God
2 Chronicles 12:
1 And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him.
2 And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD,
3 With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.
4 And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem.
5 Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak.
……. The spiritual and material prosperity of Rehoboam’s Kingdom lasted only for 3 years. As soon as the king felt that he was strong again, he turned his heart away from God. Because of this, everything that was built in his rule was destroyed buy a sinful Army.
…….Just as King Rehoboam, Our personal failures are only caused by not continuously submitting ourselves to God. When we are delivered of sins and failure, it is important to never entertain them again.
……. The Invasion of the enemy can be a testament of God’s grace and mercy to point us back to him.
B. Mercy for the Humble
2 Chronicles 12:
6 Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD is righteous.
7 And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.
8 Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.
9 So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
10 Instead of which king Rehoboam made shields of brass, and committed them to the hands of the chief of the guard, that kept the entrance of the king’s house.
11 And when the king entered into the house of the LORD, the guard came and fetched them, and brought them again into the guard chamber.
12 And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well.
……. Though God delivered them from being utterly destroyed, the consequences of their prideful sins kept them from ever being what they were when they first submitted to God.
The great thing about this story is, having a relationship with God goes much further than having material prosperity. While material prosperity is temporary, spiritual prosperity will protect us from our own sins and desires, and also protect us from the enemies destruction.