Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” And they said to him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.” But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him. And he said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus shall you speak to this people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us,’ thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs. And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’”
So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king said, “Come to me again the third day.” And the king answered the people harshly, and forsaking the counsel that the old men had given him, he spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by the Lord that he might fulfill his word, which the Lord spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. I Kings 12:6-15 ESV
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11 ESV
Genghis Khan was the ruler of the Mongolian Empire many years ago. He commanded a large army and was brutal in his military tactics. In one of his early battles, he commanded that all the men among his enemies who were over three feet tall should be put to death! When he had won his early battles, he was proclaimed the emperor and the ruler of the world. To disobey Genghis Khan was understood to be the same as disobeying the supreme God. He conquered parts of today’s China and the Turkish Empire of the time as well. He destroyed the ruling Turkish dynasty, and city after city fell to his armies.
When Rehoboam was deciding what kind of king he would be, he heard advice from older men who had served his father to be kind and humble to his people, but then he heard advice from young men who had grown up with him. They told him to be brutal and to grab as much power and glory as he could. Throughout history rulers have run after power, and Rehoboam was no different. He turned away from the wise advice of his older counselors and followed the foolish advice of the young men.
Jesus is different from Rehoboam and Genghis Khan. He didn’t come to fight for glory and power, but instead he came to be humble and to live as one of his people. He even let himself be beaten and put on the cross, and he didn’t fight back. He did this to pay for our sins and to make us his people now and always. But Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose again from the dead on the first Easter Sunday. Because of this, he now has power and glory higher than any earthly ruler ever had, and in the end we will share his glory forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for being our humble king and Savior. Amen.