1 Kings 12
Reading 1 Kings 12 reminds me of some things my father told me many years ago. In the late 70's and early 80's, I worked for a congressman in Washington DC. Part of the job was to stay current on the events of the day, so I daily read all the major newspapers. In a visit with my dad, I confronted him about not staying up to date on what was happening in the world. Other than faithfully reading the Bible, he only read the once a month Reader's Digest and the once a week Pecos Enterprise. Needless to say, I knew the inadequacy of that! His response was "Roy, the stories stay the same, only the names change."
Rehoboam and Jeroboam are prime examples of what my father knew. When Rehoboam rejected the old men's advice, he put in action a repetition of history. But before we examine that incident, can you imagine leaders who accepted the counsel of 1 Kings 12:7? "If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them...they will be your servants forever." Reminds me of another leader who said, "The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many."
The result of Rehoboam's decision is the event in 1 Kings 12:16. It is almost identical to the rebellion of Sheba in 2 Samuel 20:1, "We have no portion in David, and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to his tents, O Israel!"
The other repeat of history is in 1 Kings 12:28. Following Jeroboam's coronation as king of Israel, he began to worry that if the people went to Jerusalem to worship the Lord, they would eventually want to reunite with Judah. To keep that from happening, after taking man's counsel, Jeroboam made two golden calves. His statement to Israel is the same as Aaron's in Exodus 32:4, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!"
This passage also has some advice which my father repeatedly gave me. Both Rehoboam and Jeroboam sought counsel before making their decisions. Without my realizing it at the time, my father used 1 Corinthians 15:33 often in his advice to me, "Bad company ruins good morals." As I got older and wanted my independence, he regularly would comment about my choice of friends. He was wise enough to understand their counsel would influence my decisions. Sadly, I didn't realize and appreciate his wisdom at the time, but His analysis proved correct. It still amazes me how much smarter my father became as I grew older.
My God and Father, thank You for blessing me with an earthly father who knew Your word and diligently and deliberately taught me based on Your wisdom. I anxiously await the day I will be able to ask for his forgiveness for not being an attentive, obedient son. Holy Spirit, please teach us to learn from the mistakes of others and not repeat them. We know Your Word is the authority for our lives; teach us to seek Your advice and counsel above all others.