Holy God, cause me to listen deeply, ponder thoughtfully, and commit wholeheartedly to You. I want to please You.
Read 2 Chronicles 11:1-23
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Do not take revenge, my friends,…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:19, 21). These are wise words for times of conflict.
Rehoboam’s very natural response to the rebellion is war. God’s response is quite different: he forbids Rehoboam to fight his brothers (4), but blesses Rehoboam’s kingdom. Both the strengthening of fortifications and the Jewish wives and their children are signs of God’s blessing. It is interesting that the cities fortified are not those on the border with the northern kingdom, but will defend the outer edges of greater Israel. It seems that, at this stage, there is a hope that the division of the kingdom will be only a temporary one.
The greatest sign of God’s blessing, and the greatest source of “strengthening the kingdom” (17), is the people coming from the north into Judah. The priests and the Levites left behind their property to be able to carry out their roles in right worship in Jerusalem. Many others “set their hearts on seeking the Lord” (16) and came with them. The Temple is not mentioned, but it was, of course, the place in Jerusalem where they came to offer the appointed sacrifice (16).
We see, then, three possible ways of establishing a kingdom in the face of rebellion and division: fighting the rebels, strengthening what remains, and focusing on worship. It was not until 300 years after the death of Christ that there was a Christian kingdom to defend. Since that time, Christians have frequently fought to establish their authority. The key question for the Chronicler is, “What is the source of the kingly power?”. When people are against us, and when we think they are against our Lord, the answer to this question will determine our actions.
In the conflicts in which you are involved today, whose is the kingdom, the power and the glory?
Heavenly Father, I confess when I find myself in conflict, my default setting is retaliation, to lash out. Forgive me, and help me to always seek Your glory.
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