Wednesday, April 20, 2022

2022.04.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 11:41–12:24

Read 1 Kings 11:41–12:24

Questions from the Scripture text: What is written in what book (1 Kings 11:41)? How long did he reign (1 Kings 11:42)? With whom did he rest (1 Kings 11:43)? Where was he buried? Who reigned in his place? Where did Rehoboam go (1 Kings 12:1)? Who else went there? Why? Who heard it (1 Kings 12:2)? Where was he? Why? What did the people do (1 Kings 12:3)? Who came with him? To speak to whom? What did they say who had done (1 Kings 12:4)? What did they ask Rehoboam to do? And what would they do? What does Rehoboam tell them to do (1 Kings 12:5)? Whom does Rehoboam consult in 1 Kings 12:6? What does he ask? What do they tell him to be (1 Kings 12:7)? What do they tell him to do? What do they say will happen? What does Rehoboam do to that advice (1 Kings 12:8)? Whom does he consult instead? What are the differences between his question in 1 Kings 12:9 and in 1 Kings 12:6? How do they advise to answer in 1 Kings 12:10? And further in 1 Kings 12:11? Who come when according to whose direction (1 Kings 12:12)? What did the king do (1 Kings 12:13)? And reject? According to what did he speak (1 Kings 12:14)? What did he say? To whom else did he not listen (1 Kings 12:15)? Why did this happen? In order to fulfill what? Spoken by whom? To whom? What did who see in 1 Kings 12:16? How did they answer whom? Where did Israel go? Over whom did Rehoboam reign (1 Kings 12:17)? Whom did Rehoboam send in 1 Kings 12:18? Who did what to him? How did King Rehoboam respond? With what lasting outcome (1 Kings 12:19)? Who hear that who has come back (1 Kings 12:20)? What do they do to him? Who followed the house of David? With whom did Rehoboam assemble them (1 Kings 12:21)? How many men of what kind? To fight whom? In order to do what? What came to whom in 1 Kings 12:22? To whom was he to speak (1 Kings 12:23)? What did Yahweh tell them to (not) do (1 Kings 12:24)? Why? What did they do? According to what? 

God’s Word and God’s will are what the Scripture explicitly tells us to see here: “for the turn of events was from Yahweh, that He might fulfill His Word, which Yahweh had spoken” (1 Kings 12:15) and “this thing is from Me” (1 Kings 12:24). So… what does it look like, when the Lord is not just judgment, but specifically displaying that judgment? One sort of display is giving men over to homosexuality (cf. Romans 1:18–32). But here are several more:

Hard-heartedness by leaders, 1 Kings 12:1–4, 1 Kings 12:11–15a. Jeroboam had been turned against Solomon, when he was put in charge of overseeing the hard labor that the people now complain about in 1 Kings 12:4 (cf. 1 Kings 11:27–28). Now, when the people are going to Shechem for the coronation, they select Jeroboam as a representative (1 Kings 12:2) for establishing better relations with the new king (1 Kings 12:1). We may note that no one in the account even questions whether Solomon is guilty of this. He had made a good start (cf. 1 Kings 9:20–23), but a change in policy seems to have coincided with his heart turning from Yahweh.

But what does Rehoboam end up doing? Answering the people not just harshly but with an intent to be even harsher than his father (1 Kings 12:13), using the exact harsh words of the youth (1 Kings 12:111 Kings 12:14). He was deaf to the people’s cries (1 Kings 12:15a). 

Refusing good advice from elders, 1 Kings 12:5-8a, 1 Kings 12:13. Wisely (it seems at first), Rehoboam asks for time (1 Kings 12:5). But considering the elders’ good answer (1 Kings 12:7) and Solomon’s established policy (1 Kings 12:4), it seems that by this time, rejecting these elders’ advice is a family tradition. An unteachable leader is a curse to himself and to those under him. Inability to take receive wisdom from the elderly is a sign of judgment.

Seeking advice from the young, 1 Kings 12:8-10a, 1 Kings 12:14a. One trembles to type that out in early 21st century America. The culture as a whole prizes the opinions and admirations of the least stable, least experienced demographic. And so much of the church has just followed suit! But here (and more explicitly in Isaiah 3:4, Isaiah 3:12), we can see that this is an indicator of divine judgment. Shall we take the young, put them in control, and have them led by someone whose mindset more approximates theirs than that of godly parents? God forbid! But the text joins the rejection of the elders’ advice to the solicitation of the young men, with the ominous descriptor, “who had grown up with him” (twice! 1 Kings 12:81 Kings 12:10). 

Pandering egalitarianism, 1 Kings 12:61 Kings 12:9. It’s a small thing, linguistically. To the elders, he had literally said, “[what] is advised for returning to this people a word?” But then to the young men he said, “How should we answer?” Did you catch the difference? He has already aligned himself with them, inviting them to consider themselves co-regents. On the one hand, he was fine with stomping the rest of Israel. But on the other hand, he was also glad to indulge those whose admiration and approval he craved. Rather than rule over their folly, he was willing to purchase their favor by blurring the distinction between himself and his friends. Authority exists as an institution from God for restraining sin, and diminishing it can be a special display of divine judgment.

Clueless lack of self- and situational awareness, 1 Kings 12:16-21. After verse 16, you’d think Rehoboam wouldn’t be stupid enough to send chief tax-collector Adoram (1 Kings 12:18a), let alone go with him (verse 18b). Even worse, the 180,000 chosen men that remain to the house of David are about to be exterminated by the rest of Israel. Sometimes, arrogance is not only a complete lack of self-awareness but causes such blindness that you become unaware of much of the rest of the reality around you. This too can be a special display of God’s judgment.

Selective mercy for the sake of believers, 1 Kings 12:22-24. Verse 22–23 is a bit of a surprise—God’s Word mercifully intercepts the impending disaster. But verse 24 is even more surprising: Rehoboam actually listens! Why is God so merciful to a house under judgment, and a man of such extreme folly? For the same reasons as previously highlighted in 1 Kings 11:34, 1 Kings 11:36. The Lord has a special eye toward the elect in Christ, even when His wrath is breaking out against wickedness in the course of history. The house of David must be preserved. Jesus Christ must surely come from it. The accomplishing and applying of His redemption can never be canceled or set aside, even for moments of providential punishments. Whatever comes upon nations or churches, wherever there are elect the Lord sees to it that He does them good in the midst of it.

Where have you seen instances of some of the above displays of the judgment of God? Where have you found temptation or danger of those displays in yourself? What hope can you have, if you find yourself in the midst of a nation or church that is under judgment?

Sample prayer:  Lord, truly the same folly by which You tore the kingdom away from Rehoboam now seems to reign in so much of our own nation and its churches. Have mercy, O God! And forgive us for our own domineering over those under us, or refusing the good advice of elders, or of idolizing or pandering to youth. Send Your merciful Word, and grant unto us to listen to it, for we ask it through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP99A “Let the Nations Tremble” or TPH2B “Why Do Heathen Nations Rage”

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