Read 153.) I Kings 13:33 thru 15:8a and II Chronicles 11:18 thru 14:1a. We are reading of the first kings of the divided kingdom, Israel and Judah. In Judah, to the south, we read of Rehoboam and his son, Abijah. To the north, in Israel, we will read of Jeroboam, and his son, Nadab. We begin with Jeroboam of Israel. A son takes ill, and Jeroboam sends his wife to a prophet, Ahijah, in the lower kingdom of Judah. This prophet gives Jeroboam very bad news from the Lord, which begins to be fulfilled immediately. What we should have read of, but never did, was of how Jeroboam took this word from the Lord deeply to heart, and to the very utmost of self-abasement and contrition, repented in dust and ashes before the Lord; turning his heart back to fully seek after and to follow the Lord. Why do we not read of anything like this? Because he would not, is why! And all that we just read of, that the Lord said He would do to Jeroboam’s entire line, is going to be fulfilled. We will read of all of it shortly. How incredibly, and needlessly, sad this all was!
From I Kings 14:21 thru 31, we read the last of King Rehoboam of Judah, and of the years approximately 930 to 913 BC. It would seem, unfortunately, that he was no better than Jeroboam to the north. As a result, about 925 BC, Egypt came and looted Judah of all her vast wealth, which had only just reached its height under Solomon. He died, and his son Abijah came to Judah’s throne, but for only about 3 years. He was no better either! What is to become of the plan of God?!?!? That is actually the glory of all this story! Just keep following it.
We read the parallel passage of II Chronicles now. This account begins with Rehoboam of Judah. We learn of the specifics of his rebellion against God, and of Shishak of Egypt’s plundering of Judah’s wealth. But, note verses 5 thru 12, of chapter 12. A prophet named Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and Judah’s leadership to speak of God’s intention for all of them. But note how they responded. They DID humble themselves in repentance! And, the Lord relented from all that He had planned. We must learn and heed this lesson for ourselves! Verse 14 is key, and worthy of our meditation. What a contrast between here, and what we noted above with Jeroboam. Closing with II Chronicles chapter 13, we read of Abijah, and that which had to do with a decisive battle, and the Lord. With the help of God, on this occasion, he struck down more than 60% of Jeroboam’s forces with him, and effectively ended that man’s reign. Abijah was not even a good king in Judah, and note what he says with verses 4 thru 12. It was all only about relatively meaningless religious rites, and nothing about a true, deeply heart-felt relationship with the One, True and Living God! They cried out to the Lord, but who set their heart on seeking the Lord? It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell