And when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, David.” So Israel went to their tents. But Rehoboam reigned over the people of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah. Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him to death with stones. And King Rehoboam hurried to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. And when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. There was none that followed the house of David but the tribe of Judah only.
When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 chosen warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: “Say to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘Thus says the Lord, You shall not go up or fight against your relatives the people of Israel. Every man return to his home, for this thing is from me.’” So they listened to the word of the Lord and went home again, according to the word of the Lord. I Kings 12:16-24 ESV
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications,with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him. Hebrews 5:7-9 ESV
Did you know that at one time in United States history, Virginia was one large state, and there was no separate state of West Virginia? West Virginia separated from the state of Virginia at the beginning of the Civil War. The state of Virginia was a Confederate state, and the part of the state that became West Virginia was in favor of the Union. But the division of Virginia went back long before the Civil War. The two parts of the state were separated by mountains, and the people west of the mountains didn’t trade much with the people in the east. They didn’t feel that they were fairly represented and they felt that they were unfairly taxed. These feelings made the two parts of the state divide in two when the one final issue of the Civil War came up.
The same thing happened to the kingdom of Israel. The tribes in the north were already angry and upset about the forced labor they were made to do. When Rehoboam made the foolish choice not to lighten their load, it became the final issue. The two parts of Israel separated into two kingdoms. The northern kingdom became known of as Israel, and the southern kingdom became known of as Judah. Rehoboam was the king of Judah, and Jeroboam became the king of Israel.
God allowed his people to be split into two kingdoms to discipline Solomon’s dynasty. The king and the people had started to worship false gods and goddesses, and God wanted to use this trouble to call them back to him. Rehoboam listened when God spoke through the prophet Shemaiah, and didn’t try to fight to win the northern people back. He was willing to let God do what was best, even though it was a loss for him.
Jesus also did what his Heavenly Father wanted, even though it was a great loss for him. It cost him a painful death on the cross! But Jesus was willing to suffer death to make us God’s children now and forever. We can be sure when God allows bad things to happen to us that he is working for our good, even if we don’t understand why things happen the way they do. We can trust God to go on loving us and taking care of us, no matter what.
Dear Heavenly Father, help us to trust you and let you take care of us during the bad times of our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.