Read 1 Kings 12 -- 13
In Today's Reading:
Solomon's love for wealth, women, and power seriously weaken the fragile unity among the twelve tribes l Upon Solomon's death, ten tribes revolt against his son Rehoboam, leaving just the small tribe of Benjamin and Judah with Jerusalem and the Temple l Jeroboam leads his Northern Kingdom into idolatry l He is rebuked by an unnamed prophet l Death of the disobedient prophet.
Verse for Today:
Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make . . . his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee (1 Kings 12:3-4).
King Solomon was buried in the city of David his father (1 Kings 11:43). His son Rehoboam inherited a treasury full of wealth and powerful fortifications to protect his borders. However, Solomon had also left the kingdom morally and spiritually bankrupt.
When Rehoboam asked for three days to consider the request of the people (12:3-4), he should have used that time to pray and seek the Lord for wisdom.
However, King Rehoboam consulted with the old men . . . and said, How do [you] advise? And they [spoke] . . . If [you will] . . . speak good words . . . then they will be [your] servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel of the old men . . . and consulted with the young men that . . . stood before him (12:6-8).
It appears that Rehoboam had his mind made up. Note that Rehoboam said to the wise old men: How do you advise? But, he said to his newly-appointed cabinet of young friends: What counsel [do you give] that we may answer? (12:9).
Following the recommendation of the young men, Rehoboam foolishly threatened the nation with additional taxes and even more cruel treatment. This blunder caused the people to make Jeroboam king over all Israel (12:20). The few people in the small tribes of Simeon and Benjamin merged with the tribe of Judah. They remained faithful to the God-ordained worship at the Temple in Jerusalem and became known as the Southern Kingdom. The remaining tribes united with King Jeroboam and became known as the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
God had chosen Mount Moriah for His Temple, His dwelling place on earth, and the only place to offer sacrifices to Him (8:10-11; 2 Chronicles 7:2). But, Jeroboam provided his new Kingdom with two "more convenient" places of worship. One was located at Bethel in the southern end of his Kingdom and the other at Dan in the North. This violated the Word of God that clearly commanded that all worship and sacrifices be conducted at the Temple in Jerusalem (7:12; see also Deuteronomy 12:5-14). Consequently, all Levitical priests who were loyal to the Word of God left the new Northern Kingdom and moved to Jerusalem. The Law strictly forbade anyone but Levites who were the descendants of Aaron to offer sacrifices; but Jeroboam also disregarded this and appointed priests of the lowest of the people, [who] were not of the sons of Levi (1 Kings 12:31). God had said that the Feast of the Tabernacles was to be observed on the fifteenth day of [the] seventh month (Leviticus 23:34), but Jeroboam changed the date to the following month (1 Kings 12:26-33). For his disregard for the Word of God, he became known as Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin (14:16).
Since so little is said about the importance of reading all of the Bible, a similar departure from the fundamental doctrines of the Word of God is prevalent today. Pitiful as this is, most people who neglect to read the Bible simply do not know the difference between what God has said and what men are saying. Consequently, we are warned: Beware of false prophets. . . . Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in Heaven (Matthew 7:15).
Through Shemaiah who spoke for the Lord (1 Kings 12:22). Jesus spoke only what the Father told Him. All things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you (John 15:15). For I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak (12:49).
12:14 scorpions = scourges with sharp points; 12:32 high places = pagan shrines; 13:6 entreat = plead in prayer; 13:32 cried = shouted.
Pray for the President · Country: Cape Verde (405,000) 15 islands in the Atlantic Ocean, 390 miles off the coast of Africa · Major languages: English and French · Religious freedom · 91% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for national revival, for righteousness [exalts] a nation (Proverbs 14:34).
Optional Reading: Acts 27
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:165