Studies in Chronicles
2nd Chronicles 10
REHOBOAM’S HOUR OF CRISIS
The shoes of leaders who have been powerful and dominant over a prolonged period of time are exceptionally difficult to fill. This is true in every walk of life whether that be soccer management, business ownership and political authority as well as in church affairs. Very often the one who follows immediately after a successful and good leader is destined for failure because the comparisons will prove to be his or her undoing.
Rehoboam wasn’t exactly a failure as king, his reign had some commendable aspects particularly in the early years. History, however, has the habit of judging leaders on one incident which will be seen as the definition their tenure.
Rehoboam’s crisis moment came early in his reign. He was challenged almost soon as he was crowned. This challenge would require an incredible amount of diplomatic skill on the part of the young king. This was Rehoboam’s hour of crisis.
Times of crisis visit everyone in their journey through life.
They are defining points along the journey which test us and depending upon our response, we will stand justified or condemned for posterity.
1: A Providential Crisis
The crisis that Rehoboam as presented with was a problem, which like most problems, had been brewing for some time. Last week we noted the relevance of the ministry of Ahijah and his message of judgement that Solomon’s family would lose a portion of the kingdom to Jeroboam the son of Nebat who at one time was Solomon’s trusted advisor. This loss would be the outcome of Solomon’s sin in failing to withstand the encroachments of idolatry into the kingdom and compromising with the religions of his wives. Therefore, it was determined by the providence of God that Rehoboam would face this moment.
Every crisis we face in life is providential. While we would much rather life did not involve challenges and tests they are part of the fabric of humanity and society. They strike us personally as well as in our domestic, business, social and church affairs. But ultimately God is in control and we must accept that he is unfolding a purpose in the darkest of circumstances.
Our society presently is passing through a crisis. While it is not for us to guess the intentions of God in afflicting the world at this time we must be alive to the fact that we deserve judgement as a society and that we deserve collectively a judgement greater than Covid-19. At the very least the speaking voice of God must be heard through this plague of suffering.
Tragically such is the manner in which our society is intoxicated with evil and wickedness the voice of God is unrecognised. The liberal agenda continues to move ahead with its plans to implement abortion and further promote the LGBT agenda in our schools. There seems to be no end to the depths of depravity to which our society is willing to plummet. This deluge of evil is a greater judgement, however, than the virus which has caused such mayhem because it feels like the restraining hand of God has been removed.
(Please read this post which I have written this week upon this very subject:
We are in days of mounting crisis and the indications are that the darkness is encroaching…but we are called and chosen by God to face this time.
We need wisdom, we require spiritual discernment and we must have an understanding of these very challenging times – because the Church has a most important role for these times in which we find ourselves.
2: An Opportune Crisis
The crisis faced by Rehoboam presented him with an opportunity to deal with the grievances that had been festering in the nation. Solomon, in order to finance his great and ambitious schemes had imposed a significant tax burden on the people. This situation could not continue. When Jeroboam came out of hiding he challenged the king on this very issue. Rehoboam could have averted the crisis by listening to the wise old men of Israel who understood the grievances. They encouraged the young king to negotiate, to compromise, to win the heart of the nation by promising a fairer fiscal system. Such an approach would without doubt have taken the wind from Jeroboam’s sails and enabled the kingdom to remain as one unit.
Crises are opportunities for us to make the correct judgement calls. On occasions we are called to stand firmly on the side of truth while on other occasions standing for God means wisdom and discretion. Beyond doubt the older men brought a message of hope based on their long experience. The capacity to listen to others, to think about the voice of reason and experience is of great benefit in the time of trouble. God in providence gives us others that we can lean on and consult who can help us through days of turmoil. Let us not neglect wise counsel.
3: A Tragic Crisis
But the younger men fuelled by pride and a sense of self persuaded Rehoboam to impose a stricter regime and tax the nation even more. These were men with whom the young King was most familiar. They were ambitious and they feared lest Rehoboam would begin his reign by looking weak. Their arguments won the heart of Rehoboam and they had tragic consequences that would forever define his monarchy.
They warn us against a proud spirit and an ambitious attitude which fails to assess the situation aright. Rehoboam’s error was one of pride and shortsightedness which did not listen to the considered voice of reason and experience. It led to a civil war, loss of life and a divided kingdom with Jeroboam ruling over ten tribes.
Bad decisions have bad consequences. Let us learn to face our challenges and our crises in a considered way with prayer that God would show us His mind.
But even though the nation was divided God was in control…working out all events in spite of man’s incompetence.
Where we fail…God never fails…let us be comforted by that thought today.