Okay, I just got done reading through I & II Kings. They told the story of the kingdom passing from David to Solomon and of Solomon's reign. Then the books get into the many kings of Israel and Judah. My Bible has this chart in the back that I got a kick out of filling out - in fact I was almost late to work a few times because I was looking up what needed to go in the blanks. Whoops!
This record of all the kings that reigned over Israel and Judah explains that after Solomon died, the kingdom was split in two. Rehoboam was the king of Judah (which consisted of the tribes of Judah and Benjiman), and Jeroboam became the king of Israel (the rest of the tribes). In all, Israel had 18 kings and all of them were bad to the bone. Judah had 20 kings (well, actually 19 and 1 queen) and 10 of them were good. As I read through the stories of these ancient kings, some lessons seemed to leap out at me.
Rehoboam was the king who didn't listen to the wise elders but to his young friends. They gave him some bad advice and subsequently, he lost part of the kingdom. A few things stuck out to me on this one. The first one seems fairly obvious - be careful who you listen to. The second one is a bit deeper. In Rehoboam's day, older people were highly revered for their wisdom and experience so it was fairly unusual for him to take his young friends' advice over the elders. However, in our time, that's not really the case. There is sort of a prevailing belief that anyone older than 50 must not know what they are talking about. I think this is not only dumb but arrogant. I mean, if someone has lived twice as long as I have, wouldn't they have a bit more wisdom than I do, particularly if they are walking with God all that time? In Timothy it commands the OLDER women to teach the YOUNGER women. I think we've fallen down in this area in the body of Christ. I don't think we can blame the older women entirely either - most of them don't think the younger set wants to listen to anything they say.
The other thing that struck me in this story was not quite as obvious. The question that popped into my head was - do I give good counsel to others? Sure, I love to give my opinion and share what I think someone should do. But what if that person listens to me and does what I suggest? Is my counsel Biblical? Is it wise? Is it centered in Christ? It was definitely food for thought.
In the story of Jeroboam, God told Jeroboam that he would become the king of Israel. It was a done deal. However, once he became king, Jeroboam was assailed by fears and doubts. He didn't want to let the people go up to Jeruselum to make sacrifices for fear that their allegiance would return to Rehoboam. So instead, he made two golden calfs and set them up in two parts of his kingdom and had the people worship those.
Fear and insecurity were the root of Jeroboam causing the whole kingdom to sin. One thing that God had absolutely NO to was idol worship and here was the king instructing the people do just that. How many times does fear and insecurity lead me to make a bad decision or even to sin? With all my struggles with different fears, this was one lesson that whapped me upside the head - fear is not of God. Yes, He gives us warnings and cautions. I do believe that, but if I am experiencing paralyzing fear then I know that is not from God. Thank goodness, He is willing to help me through my fears so I don't have to stay stuck in them.
"I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears." Psalms 34:4
~ Blessings, Bronte