Rehoboam Abandons God’s Law
Open Your Bible
2 Chronicles 10:1-19, 2 Chronicles 11:1-23, 2 Chronicles 12:1-16, Proverbs 10:17
BY Quina Aragon
We love a good rags-to-riches story, don’t we? Maybe it’s the American dream ingrained in our social imagination. Or perhaps it’s just natural for us to aspire to greater influence. Power isn’t an inherent evil, after all. But when power isn’t continually surrendered to the One with ultimate power, what results is something like the reign of Rehoboam.
Rehoboam, son of Solomon, could hardly say he had ever experienced a life of “rags” before his “riches.” His father was one of the wealthiest and most influential kings in history! But Rehoboam did experience a shift in his access to power when he became king over all of Israel, then king over the southern kingdom of Judah. But, unfortunately, “When Rehoboam had established his sovereignty and royal power, he abandoned the law of the LORD—he and all Israel with him” (2Chronicles 12:1).
When Solomon took the throne, he was granted wisdom because he humbly sought and asked God for it. But when Rehoboam took the throne, he immediately fell short of his father’s legendary governing wisdom—leading to the split of the kingdom of Israel. Though he did manage to fortify cities in Judah, Rehoboam lost sight of the foremost factor in faithful leadership: consistent worship of the One, true God.
The Chronicler describes Rehoboam’s departure from the law of God as unfaithfulness to the Lord. He and the people of Judah had betrayed their covenant relationship with God, who had been faithful to them for centuries. So in order to remind His people that His leadership is far better than the ways of the world, God allowed King Shishak of Egypt to battle and oppress Judah, leading to the loss of cities and much of the royal and temple treasures.
In the face of such great turmoil, “the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, ‘The LORD is righteous’” (v.6). Mercifully, God’s discipline didn’t equal their destruction. And, praise the Lord, it doesn’t equal ours.
No matter who you are, there is someone who looks up to you or depends on you. That is power. But we so easily forget that our access to power, sphere of influence, and lives are meant to be surrendered to God day by day. Our tongues speak ill of others, our eyes linger on pornographic images or words, and our feet rush into decisions without sincere prayer. We find ourselves wondering, “How in the world did I let myself do that? And, how in the world will God accept me back?”
Rehoboam reminds us that repentance is the doorway to deliverance. We can confess to God how we’ve turned away from His Word. We can experience His cleansing kindness. We can remember how Jesus, the greater Son of David, laid down His power for our sake.
We can trust that, even now, He rules in righteousness, helping us wisely wield power by yielding it to Him first.