Adhere to the Promises
We have seen Solomon walk according to the will of God but get drawn away from the promise that God told him twice. The consequences of his actions had far reaching results. It effected the next generation severely making it more difficult for them to follow in the footsteps of David whose heart was right before God.
We will see three men in prominent positions receive promises or instructions from God and see what they do with it.
In I Kings 12 and II Chronicles 10 there are two kings set up over the Children of Israel. Rehoboam, Solomon's son, is selected by God to be king in Jerusalem (for Judah). Jeroboam is chosen by God chose to lead the other 10 tribes called Israel.
In the previous article we learned in I Kings 11:29-38 that God had Ahijah the Shilonite tell Jeroboam to take 10 tribes to be king over them. Then God makes a promise:
I Kings 11
:38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee,
and wilt walk in my ways,
and do that is right in my sight,
to keep my statutes and my commandments,
as David my servant did;
that I will be with thee,
and build thee a sure house,
as I built for David,
and will give Israel unto thee.
God's promise is that God would establish Jeroboam over Israel if he would keep God's Word. It is quite obvious the type of house that God built for David. It hasn't been so long ago that the people have forgotten about King David. That is an impressive promise. However, he is not rooted and grounded in the Word and he let the five-senses information draw him away. We must also remember that he is influenced by all of the false gods that Solomon allowed and even built altars to for his wives.
Rehoboam, king of Judah, received instructions from God also. After Jeroboam returned from Egypt he and the 10 tribes go to Rehoboam asking for a lighter burden than Solomon had imposed upon them (I Kings 12 & II Chronicles 10). Rehoboam refuses the counsel of the elders to make their burden (tax) lighter and does what his peers recommended by increasing the burden on the 10 tribes. They rebel and cease following the house of David. Rehoboam's response is to amass an army from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to attack Israel and bring them back under his ruler ship.
:22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
:23 Speak unto Rehoboam,
the son of Solomon, king of Judah,
and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin,
and to the remnant of the people, saying,
:24 Thus saith the LORD,
Ye shall not go up,
nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel:
return every man to his house;
for this thing is from me.
They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD,
and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD.
Thankfully Rehoboam did what he was told. It averted a civil war. He did, however build many cities and fortify them making them strongholds.
Jeroboam sees Rehoboam's activity and also builds the cities Shechem in Mt. Ephraim and Penuel. Jeroboam forsakes God's promise and tries to establish his kingdom himself:
I Kings 12
:26 And Jeroboam said in his heart,
Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
:27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem,
then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord,
even unto Rehoboam king of Judah,
and they shall kill me,
and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
:28 Whereupon the king took counsel,
and made two calves of gold,
and said unto them,
It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem:
behold thy gods, O Israel,
which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
:29 And he set the one in Bethel,
and the other put he in Dan.
:30 And this thing became a sin:
for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
:31 And he made an house of high places,
and made priests of the lowest of the people,
which were not of the sons of Levi.
Furthermore, in Chronicles we read:
I Chronicles 11
:13 And the priests and the Levites
that were in all Israel
resorted to him [Rehoboam--Judah] out of all their coasts.
:14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, [in Israel]
and came to Judah and Jerusalem:
and his sons
had cast them off from executing the priest's office unto the LORD:
:15 And he [Jeroboam] ordained him priests for the high places,
and for the devils,
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.
For three years Rehoboam's kingdom was strong because he did the Word of the Lord. He walked in the way of David and Solomon. That was only three years out of the 17 that he reigned in Judah. After he had become strong he felt he no longer needed God. The consequences? Five years into Rehoboam's reign he was attacked by Shisak king of Egypt who made slaves of them and took away all of the treasures out of the house of Lord and Solomon's treasures. That is a considerable amount of wealth. Before Shisak attacked Jerusalem Rehoboam did humble himself before God and that kept them from being overtaken completely (II Chronicles 12). He had seen the bounty of God and decided to rest in his own strength anyway. Once he made that free will choice to no longer do God's Word he walked away from God's protection and prosperity.
There is yet another man during this time that heard the Word of the Lord and obeyed for a time but trusted in his own knowledge instead. God sends a prophet to Jeroboam to try to get him back on track. Jeroboam had made the calves and altars and was sacrificing to them.
I Kings 13
:1 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah
by the word of the LORD unto Bethel:
and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
:2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said,
O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD;
Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David,
Josiah by name; [II Kings 21:24 & 23:15,16]
and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places
that burn incense upon thee,
and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee.
:3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying,
This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken;
Behold, the altar shall be rent,
and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.
:4 And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God,
which had cried against the altar in Bethel,
that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying,
Lay hold on him.
And his hand,
which he put forth against him,
dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
:5 The altar also was rent,
and the ashes poured out from the altar,
according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.
:6 And the king [Jeroboam] answered and said unto the man of God,
Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me,
that my hand may be restored me again.
And the man of God besought the LORD,
and the king's hand was restored him again,
and became as it was before.
:7 And the king said unto the man of God,
Come home with me,
and refresh thyself,
and I will give thee a reward.
:8 And the man of God said unto the king,
If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee,
neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:
:9 For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying,
Eat no bread,
nor drink water,
nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.
:10 So he went another way,
and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.
Here is a stop and think moment. Put yourself in the man of God's shoes (sandals). He just told the king that what he was doing was wrong which angered the king and he puts his hand out to have the man of God arrested and because he is so far off the Word his hand shrivels up and God breaks apart the altar. That is powerful. Then Jeroboam requests for his arm to be restored and the man of God asks God to restore it and He does. The man of God continues to do the Word of the Lord by leaving without supping with the king, and going a different route. However he doesn't continue to be diligent and an old prophet lies to him saying an angel told him to tell the man of God to return and eat with him. Now God has spoken to this man of God directly and the man of God was in the habit of listening. God is not going to tell someone else to tell him to go against previous revelation. If God wanted to change the revelation (which He sometimes does) he would have spoken to the man of God directly. The consequences were dire-he walked away from the Word of Lord-and he was killed by a lion on the way home.
We see three great principles from the Word here.
- When you are given a promise from God trust in it and God will bring it
to pass. If you begin to rely on your own senses or abilities you negate the
promise of God.
- When you are doing the will of God God will talk to you directly. He is
not going to tell someone else to tell you that God said something.
- When a person is in a position of power the results of their actions are powerful. All three of these men were in prominent positions and the consequences of their disobedience were great. The man of God lost his life, Jeroboam's household was cut off from Israel and he lost the kingdom, Rehoboam was invaded by the Egyptians and lost all of the treasures of the temple and Solomon and became servants to Egypt.
When they adhered to the Word they prospered. When we adhere to the Word we prosper.
Next week I will go over what it is to do the will of God for our administration.