May 15, 2017

Image result for photo dividedII Chronicles 10:16, 17

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

From II Chronicles 10:16 and 17:

      And when all Israel saw that the king would not listen to them, the people
      answered the king, saying, “What portion have we in David?  We have no
      inheritance in the son of Jesse.  Every man to your tents, O Israel!  Now,
      see to your own house, O David!”  So all Israel departed to their tents.  But
      Rehoboam reigned over the children of Israel who dwelt in the cities of

This is a portion of Scripture that records the division of the one kingdom of Israel into two kingdoms – Israel to the north and Judah to the south!  They were never reunited during the next two hundred plus years!  How did this Division happen?

•      The immediate cause was King Rehoboam’s response to the Israelites’ request.  The people petitioned him in verse 4 of II Chronicles 10:  “Your father [King Solomon] made out yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.”  But, taking the advice of his younger contemporaries over the older and wiser advisors of his father, Rehoboam in verse 14 told his subjects, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!”  And the people rebelled – resulting in a Divided kingdom!

•      The cause behind Rehoboam’s response to the people was a Divided loyalty to and respect for his father, King Solomon!  Apparently, his son was not overly impressed with Solomon’s role as a father.

      ✡      Although the Scripture record does not specifically say so, Solomon most likely fell far short of Godly fatherhood!  It is recorded in I Kings 11:3 that Solomon, “…had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines….”  The number of children he fathered is not given, but from a thousand women with whom he was intimate, a great number of offspring must have been produced!  A conservative estimate might be a thousand children!  How can one man be a proper father to a thousand children, especially when he was ruling a thriving and prosperous nation?

      ✡      The practice of wealthy and busy men of the time was to commit their sons to “…a schoolmaster…” (Galatians 3:24, 25 – see also II Kings 10:6) to bring them up properly trained and educated in the ways of life, and to be presented back to the father some time later as full sons.  So Solomon probably had little personal fatherly influence over his son Rehoboam!

•      In the time of Solomon, we are told in II Chronicles 9:20, “All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold…not one was of silver; for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon.”  And in II Chronicles 9:22 it is written:  “…King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.” (See also II Chronicles 1:7-12).  Jesus warned us in Matthew 6:19 through 21, and 24:

      Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves
      treasures in heaven….For where your treasure is, there your heart will be
      also….No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and
      love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. 
      You cannot serve God and mammon [money and the things money can buy].

Most likely Solomon was negatively affected by his great wealth, and it seems for certain that his son Rehoboam was!  The burdens from which the people were asking relief included heavy taxes levied to run the vast kingdom.  But Rehoboam wanted to increase the oppressive burdens!  Although it does not tell us directly, it seems the new king was in love withmammonand wanted more and more!  How could he love and pursue both God and mammon?  He could not!  His heart was Divided!

•      Examining Sololmon’s life further, it becomes evident that the great king had a heart Divided when it came to spiritual issues!  His 1,000 women did more than take his attention away from rearing his children.  They tore his loyalty away from following Jehovah God!  I quoted I Kings 11:3 above.  Here is the end of the verse along with the next one, I Kings 11:4:

      …and his wives turned away his heart.  For it was so, when Solomon was
      old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not
      loyal with the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.

The next verses name the gods Solomon worshiped:  “…Astoroth the goddess of the Sidonians…Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites…Chemosh the abomination of Moab…Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.” (I Kings 11:5, 7).  All these were false gods of the pagan Canaanites!  And Israel was strictly forbidden to worship them! (See Exodus 23:23, 24, 32, 33).  Some practices of Canaanite pagan worship directed to these false gods even involved burning alive the adherent’s children as an offering to them! (See Jeremiah 19:5).

We could go back to further divisions of heart and mind among God’s chosen people.  But the point is this:  Divided allegiance to God will result in Divided affections, families, and even nations!  Be sure your devotion to the Lord is undivided!  As it says in Luke 10:27:  “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.”  And do this all the time!

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