Sovereign Lord, You are the God of King David, and my God too. You reign forever and ever.
Read 1 KINGS 12:21-33
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Courage from the words of a prophet, obedience from the king of Israel. Courage and obedience; two virtues we all need to cultivate.
What would I have said to Rehoboam if I had been one of his advisers or prophets? Shemaiah’s 28 words were extraordinarily effective: despite Rehoboam’s massive military build-up, the man of God quietly counsels, “Do not do it! This is the Lord’s doing,”–and he is listened to! We hear no more of Shemaiah in Kings, but it would be good to read his account (2 Chron. 12:5,7,15). Do I have any comparable example of a few prophetic words touching my life or my church so deeply?
Jeroboam is concerned with his legitimacy, the fragility of his new kingdom and the fear of assassination. I note, one by one, his projects and consider the likely reasons for them. Rehoboam had his massive military projects (2 Chron. 11:5-12). Verse 28 is very reminiscent of Exodus 32:4: “This thing became a sin!” says the narrator bluntly (30). I noticed in chapter 11 how many times the Lord was referred to in Ahijah’s prophecy to Jeroboam; now I count up all the references to Jeroboam/he/himself etc. in this reading (18). What a reversal! Rehoboam, the fool, listens to the man of God. Jeroboam, the liberator, becomes a notorious apostate. Whatever he himself thought he was doing, the Lord’s devastating assessment is in 1 Kings 14:8-20. The phrase “following the ways of Jeroboam” becomes like a gong of doom in the story of Kings” (1 Kings 15:34; 16:19,26,31; 22:52, and many more).
I return finally to two phrases: “This is my doing” (24, my italics) and “a month of his own choosing” (33, my italics). The stories in Kings describe and evaluate successive kings’ projects and actions, treating them as fully responsible agents, for better or for worse, but the stories also make it clear that God’s will and purposes are done.
God’s will, like a flowing stream, sometimes goes underground for a while before emerging again. I renew my trust that his plans are all the best that his love has designed for me.
Lord, I long to embody courage for You and obedience to You. Grant me Your strength in my weakness.
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