STUDIES IN CHRONICLES
2 Chronicles 10:15 (1st Kings 11)
THE TIMES OF AHIJAH THE SHILONITE
When God Divides a Nation
2nd Chronicles 10 leads us into the reign of Rehoboam and the disastrous division within the nation which led to Israel being divided into two kingdoms; Israel and Judah.
While Rehoboam contributed in some measure to the split, the fundamental reason why the nation was divided lay with Solomon.
He was a great King in so many ways, the wisest and most successful ruler that Israel ever enjoyed would be no underestimate.
Despite this, he would leave behind a legacy of division which his son would suffer from. Therefore during the curse of the debates and discussions that eventually lead to revolution the chronicler makes this remark:
“…for the cause was of God, that the Lord might perform His word, which He spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat”
Therefore at this stage we must step away from 2nd Chronicles and turn to 1st Kings to learn a little more about the background to these momentous times. Although in sequence of events Solomon has died we cannot understand 2nd Chronicles 10 without returning to his life and times.
Ahijah the Shilonite may be one of the lesser known characters in Scripture but he was a mighty man of God, not afraid of unpopularity who brought a message of God’s judgement in the days of Solomon and tragically it does not appear that the warning was heeded.
THE TIMES OF AHIJAH
The Spiritual Climate
1st Kings 11:1-8
This is a passage of unspeakable tragedy. Under the influence of his foreign wives Solomon not only facilitated their desire to worship their false gods but he actually joined with them. With seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, Solomon had certainly indulged himself to such a degree that his thinking became warped and distorted.
This was the spiritual climate of Ahijah’s times.
The glory days when the temple was erected and the great revival that took place were now a distant memory.
Apostasy had set in.
A salutary warning to the Church in every generation!
The Divine Visitation
1st Kings 11:9-13
The ninth verse records that God was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the Lord “which had appeared unto him twice”. The tragedy here is that Solomon had been privileged with two supernatural visitations from God as are recorded in 2nd Chronicles 1 (at the start of his reign) and in 2nd Chronicles 7 (after he had completed the temple and the erection of his own palace). In the one he prayed for wisdom while in the second visitation God laid down promises and warnings, which would resonate throughout all Jewish and Church history.
But Solomon at the end of his life totally disregarded and forgot about these seasons when God came to him.
He was neither wise nor did he consider the warnings that he had received.
Therefore God was angry with His servant.
We should pause and reflect upon a God who is angry and grieved with the sins of his Church and of her leaders.
When we fail to act wisely, when we disregard the warnings of God, when we fail to listen to his Word and when our hearts are turned by the spirit of the world God is angry with us.
Therefore God came again, on one final occasion to Solomon and told him that the Kingdom would be given to his servant in the days of his son. This would not occur in Solomon’s time because of the promises God made to David. Nor would the kingdom be entirely lost as Jerusalem would remain under the the control of the house of David but the nation would be divided.
Therefore Solomon, who had taken Israel to the zenith of her greatness would leave a legacy of judgement that his children would suffer from.
We need to take great care with the legacy that we leave our children!
We can sow with seeds of backsliding and failure and they will reap what we have sown.
The Troublesome Chastening
1st Kings 11:14-25
While Solomon would not lose the Kingdom personally days of trouble afflicted him during his closing years.
God raised up a man called Hadad, a surviving member of the Edmonites, the family of Esau. Fleeing to Egypt, marrying into the royal family of Pharaoh this man gained much foreign influence and would return to be a thorn in Solomon’s side.
A Syrian was raised up by God in the form of Rezon, who challenged the supremacy of Solomon, with his army of warriors.
It was apparent that this trouble was connected with Solomon’s sin. God is not mocked. Those whom He loves He chastens. He never turns a blind eyes to our rebelliousness.
THE ACTIONS OF AHIJAH
The Lord’s Messenger
1st Kings 11:29
Now let us turn our attention to the contribution made by Ahijah in these troublesome times. The first important observation about this man is that he was a prophet. He was a man with a message from God. For every age and generation God has a message. There are times the message is one of blessing but in other times the message is one of judgement. In truth – throughout every generation the message is generally a mixture of both because both mercy and judgement are woven in the fabric of human history.
The Church and her preachers must always be prepared to bring the message that is age appropriate – God’s Word for their own particular generation. This is where we make the impact regardless of whether the message is popular or unpopular.
A Talented Recipient
Ist Kings 11:26-29
The message of Ahijah was directed personally to Jeroboam. This was a young man identified by Solomon for his unusual skills and so Solomon made him ruler over the northern part of his Kingdom, known as the house of Joseph.
Solomon did not realise it…but Jeroboam would be the servant who would take his kingdom. The instrument of judgement was hand picked by himself and working within the royal offices.
A Graphic Metaphor
1st Kings 11:30-37
Ahijah meeting with Jeroboam caught his new garment, removed it, tore it into twelve pieces and gave the official ten pieces. The lesson was clear and Ahjah would expound upon it. Jeroboam would reign over ten tribes and the house of David would keep only two tribes; Judah and Benjamin. The Kingdom would be divided.
No nation had a unity to be treasured more than Israel yet it was God’s purpose to bring about a revolution.
In the providence of God He has intervened in the affairs of nations and empires permitting revolts, revolutions and even border changes in His administration of the world. We must never assume that the status quo will always be maintained. We have no divine right to expect that this United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will never be fractured. If God decided to break up Israel as a judgement He could well decide to impact our nation with a similar judgement. Particularly as we also nationally have forsaken the God of our fathers.
A Personal Challenge
1st Kings 11:38-39
Jeroboam was challenged by the prophet to walk in the ways of the Lord, to be a godly ruler to secure favour from God.
This is a promise for every nation, for every family and especially for every congregation and denomination within the Church of Christ.
Tragically, Jeroboam consumed with power would not listen to this part of the prophet’s message becoming the man who would make Israel to sin.
There are many like Jeroboam who take what is suitable out of God’s Word and reject what they do not appreciate.
A Poignant Conclusion
1st Kings 11:40-43
And so the times of Solomon stuttered to a conclusion, a man who had sinned, leaving a broken legacy for his son to try to mend. He spent his final years in fear attempting to thwart the oncoming judgement. It is a tragic portrait of how great men can fall and fail.
May God give us the grace to hear and take heed.