What does it say?
Rehoboam takes the throne after his father Solomon’s death (1Ki 12). This begins the next major section of Kings that describes the division of the kingdom. Seeds of division having already been sown, Rehoboam’s pride and poor decisions pave the way for Jeroboam to lead the northern tribes to withdraw from the Jerusalem Monarchy. He sets up worship centers and two golden calves to prevent people from going to Jerusalem to worship and be tempted to return to the Davidic throne.
God sends an unnamed prophet from Judah to Bethel to confront Jeroboam (1Ki 13). After his obedient and courageous confrontation to pronounce God’s judgment on Jeroboam, an older prophet from Bethel diverts his return to Judah. This diversion sets in motion a series of events that leads to the prophet’s untimely death.
Jeroboam’s son falls ill and Jeroboam sends his wife to the prophet Ahijah for a word from God (1Ki 14). The word delivered is that Jeroboam’s wickedness would be judged; his boy would die but would the only of his descendants to have a proper burial because the rest of his line would be cut off. After Jeroboam’s death the rest of the chapter turns back to Jerusalem and documents that Rehoboam is no less wicked than Jeroboam.
What does it mean?
From a missional standpoint, the promised monarch and the messianic line appear to be in great jeopardy. Since sin entered creation God’s mission has been unfolding: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph each become the focus and each has unique attacks, challenges and weaknesses. Moses and Joshua get Israel back to the land. Despite more setbacks, the monarchy finally comes about in David and Solomon. Just at the peak of potential and influence, sin again abounds. Things now head back in the direction of the chaos during the Judges.
As we head toward the disintegration of the Hebrew monarchy, both north and south, we remember that all these stories are parts of one story, God’s story of redemption and restoration. No matter how sincere, godly, or promising, the human race can never measure up to God’s standards and eventually begins falling back to “sin level.” This is why God became incarnate in Jesus Christ and paid the penalty for our sin that we might be the recipients of his grace through faith.
How will I respond?
I am part of the same story. But by the grace of God I would have no hope. Is there a part of my life where I am trusting in my personal strength, skills or experience? Today I will pause and confess my complete dependence upon God’s grace alone.