Which King Are You? Rehoboam
Rehoboam inherited a pretty big set of shoes to fill from his father Solomon. He became king about the time that Israel was at its height, and that was a lot to live up to.
One of the first things that lands on Rehoboam’s plate is Jeroboam walking in and saying, “The North has been working hard to support the country, will you lighten our burden a little bit?”
This is a reasonable request, but he asks for a little while to think about it. Not knowing what to do he calls his father’s advisors and explains the situation to them, and they say to take it easy on them.
He doesn’t like the answer of the older more experienced leaders so he calls together a group of young guys who were his friends. They told him to make their lives even harder. He decides that they are right and puts higher demands on them. Eventually this causes the North to break off into their own nation with their own king.
I used to think the issue was that he rejected the advise of better people. A Christological view would say that he rejected the more graceful advise for the harsher advise, but that isn’t the case at all. Neither of these things are the case. The problem here isn’t whose advise he did or didn’t take– it’s about who he doesn’t consult at all.
He goes on to build walls, marry and expand his power. And in the end, God says in essence, “You haven’t consulted me in any of this. So, since you hung me out to dry, I will hang you out to dry.” God lets Rehoboam come close to failure in a fights against Shishak the Egyptian.
When the situation was dire, Rehoboam then turned to God. God was upset that Rehoboam didn’t turn to him until there was a crisis, but was satisfied with that. The Bible says that this showed that there was “some Good in Judah.”
Rehoboam is the guy who doesn’t look to God until he is faced with his own mortality. He lives his life and runs his kingdom without consulting or thinking on God too much until the end of his life when the end is in sight. When your world starts to fall around you, and your finish line gets closer you start to re-examine things. You begin to wonder if the things you did really matter, whether you have made an impact on the lives around you and what will happen to you when you die. It is here that so many turn to God. It is these end of life reminders that re-orient us and remind us that we are not as important as we think we are.
Perhaps you know this person. The person who looks upon their accomplishments as totally and completely their own. The self-made-man type. I know I am this way a lot. I have my plans, my hopes, my goals. I do a wonderful job of consulting people around me, young and old. I don’t do a very good job consulting God.
Someday though, something happens that re-orients you. A lot of times this is a midlife crisis. People hunt after things to give their lives the meaning they feel they’ve been missing. Sometimes it is a bright red sports car. Sometimes it is a younger lover. Sometimes it is God.
Rehoboam turned to God in the end, revealing that he hadn’t totally forgotten about Him, just placed him on the back burner for a while. Pray that others will do the same when confronted with their mortality.