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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 174: The crumbling of a nation

Today's Reading: 2 Chronicles 10-12

How many of you remember hearing the story of Rehoboam in Sunday School along side the stories of Noah, Moses, Joseph and Jonah? Probably not many of us could have told his story by heart, but his life is very important to our "family history."

Yesterday we talked about the issue of discernment and how we usually listen to the advice of those who agree with us. Today we hear some repeated lessons and learn a few new things.

1. Our actions effect others. Though we may not believe it, we cannot act independently. Our scorn and harshness hurt others, our humility and faithfulness bless others. After the harshness of the king, his ambassador is killed by the people. An interesting line follows which we need to ponder. Imagine the historical significance of this small verse at the end of chapter ten.
So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
2 Chronicles 10:19

2. The kingdom is dividing. Judah is reigned by Rehoboam and Israel by Jeroboam. In today's passage, the "little town of Bethlehem" is built into a fortified city of the region of Judah. Brother is fighting brother. Civil war is becoming the norm.

3. Though the king and his people are worshipping God, they are also bowing to calf and goat idols. In scripture, God has no tolerance for other gods. God is not willing to share our loyalties: God is jealous for us. This act of unfaithfulness brings the scorn of God upon not only a household but a nation.

4. We learn from this passage that God uses the enemies of Judah to discipline them. This concept is going to be further built during the age of kings and prophets. In this passage, God moves Shishak, the king of Egypt, into place. The sovereignty of God over all kings and kingdoms is a very strong theological understanding of the people of God.

5. When disaster comes, the king realizes his sin and he humbles himself, thus saving himself and his people from utter destruction. God is moved by humility; and humility begins with the recognition that God is god and there is no other.

Rehoboam received the kingdom in fairly good standing with a new temple and a full treasury but in a short time the kingdom is divided, the people are under an Egyptian ruler and idol worship is rampant. It makes you want to cry or at least shake your head in sadness.

So quickly, what God meant for good is corrupted by the disobedience of his creatures. Rehoboam's life is summarized with these words, these sad words that stand as a red flag upon the path we trod.

Rehoboam did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the LORD.

Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and God's righteousness and everything else will follow."

What will you seek in your life?

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