Today’s Reading: ECCLESIASTES 11:7-12:14; 1 KINGS 12:1-20; 2 CHRONICLES 10:1-19; 1 KINGS 12:21-24; 2 CHRONICLES 11:1-4; 1 KINGS 12:25-33; 2 CHRONICLES 11:5-17
Today we finished with the majority of the Poetry and Wisdom. With the conclusion of Ecclesiastes we have finished out the life of Solomon and now move into the history of the nations of Israel and Judah post kings David and Solomon.
Historically, have you realized what has happened? The apex of the nation of Israel was for only two kings (David and Solomon). Now the kingdom is divided, 10 tribes have created the northern kingdom of Israel and the royal line of David is just king over two tribes Judah and Benjamin.
Not only is a single nation of people they have also divided their faith. While Jerusalem had become the focus of Levitical life, the home of the temple and the focus point of worship, in the divided kingdom the northern tribes changed all that. The northern tribes created a new place to worship (two actually) and sought out other gods. They even went as far as creating two new golden calves to worship.
I Kings 12:28 – 31 (NLT)
28 So on the advice of his counselors, the king made two gold calves. He said to the people, “It is too much trouble for you to worship in Jerusalem. Look, Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!”
29 He placed these calf idols in Bethel and in Dan—at either end of his kingdom. 30 But this became a great sin, for the people worshiped the idols, traveling as far north as Dan to worship the one there.
31 Jeroboam also erected buildings at the pagan shrines and ordained priests from the common people—those who were not from the priestly tribe of Levi.
Things are falling apart – as we used to say back home – things are going to hell in a hand basket. Literally, people are going to pay with their lives for this disobedience. Can’t they remember what happened to the last people that worshipped a golden calf? Reread Exodus 32 for a reminder?
Exodus 32:31 – 35 (NLT)
31 So Moses went back to the LORD and said, "Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written."
33 The LORD replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin."
35 And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
There are obviously people involved here who have forgotten the Lord. There are obviously people who are sinning. There are obliviously consequences of sin from fathers (Solomon had 999 problems) and grandfathers (A very sad day) that are playing into this situation.
But there is something more going on here. How is that Rehoboam could be so hard hearted and ignorant to allow the Kingdome of Israel to be divided. We get some insight:
2 Chronicles 10:15 (NLT)
15 So the king paid no attention to the people. This turn of events was the will of God, for it fulfilled the Lord’s message to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.
The prophecy that was referred to is found in I kings 11: 29 – 40.
Rehoboam tries his hardest to prevent the split, he is unable, his youth gets the better of him. But, there is a bigger reason why the split happened and why Rehoboam was unable do anything about it.
2 Chronicles 11:4 (NLT)
4 ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not fight against your relatives. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!’”
Sure there are times when everything seems to be going to hell in a hand basket. Things are falling apart around us, our dreams are vanishing before our eyes, our enemies are mounting an attack. During all of this God is still in control. He is aware of the situation. He is in control and he is allowing things to pass. Nothing is beyond his control or knowledge.
At the beginning of today’s reading we finished the Book of Ecclesiastes. After all the turmoil of the book Solomon comes to a final conclusion:
Ecclesiastes 12:13 -14 (NLT)
13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.