Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in 2 Chronicles 1-13 : Solomon's Story|
Chapter: 2 Chron 10
Passage: 2 Chron 10:1-11
A. Find Out:
1. What was happening to Rehoboam? v.1
2. What did Jeroboam and the people say to him? v.2-4
3. What response did Rehoboam give them? v.5
4. Who did he consult and what did they advise? v.6,7
5. To whom did he then turn for advice? v.8,9
6. What advice did they give? v.10,11
1. What do we learn here about Solomon's reign?
2. What do we learn about Rehoboam?
3. Why do you think this was all happening?
We saw in the previous study the prophetic word that had come against Solomon that, because of his sin, in the next generation the nation would be split with ten tribes being taken from his family's rule. The process now begins.
The background to this, which is important to note, is that life for the ordinary people under Solomon had been tough. We've seen the riches he accumulated but that also meant power, and Solomon had obviously not spread those riches around the people, but had dominated and used them for his own means. Life had been hard. Now his son is about to take his place, the hope of the people is that he will treat them less harshly; in fact if he doesn't they are ready to rebel, for the son is not the father and doesn't have the same authority.
This last point is particularly clear in that when the people speak to him he hasn't got an answer, he doesn't have the wisdom of his father, and he's not even spiritual enough to turn to the Lord and ask Him. First he consults the elders and gets a good and wise answer from them, but God has other plans. Foolishly Rehoboam turns to younger counsel, which means he doesn't like the thought of being a gentle king and so turns to his contemporaries who are young and lack wisdom. They counsel more harshness but that is only going to cause rebellion.
1. Needing help?
2. Needing help?
Chapter: 2 Chron 10
Passage: 2 Chron 10:12-19
A. Find Out:
1. So how did Rehoboam respond to the people? v.12-14
2. Why? v.15
3. How did the people respond? v.16
4. Over who did Rehoboam still reign? v.17
5. Who did the king send after them & what happened? v.18
6. So what was the outcome? v.19
1. What was the natural cause of Israel 's rebellion?
2. What was the ‘spiritual' cause?
3. How do you think the two work together?
The new young king listens to his peers and refuses the wise counsel of his elders. It is often a failing of the young. The result here is that when the people return to hear the king's response to them, he tries to act the big man, but the trouble is that he isn't! Solomon had had the power and authority to rule over the people strongly, but that is not something that naturally comes, it has to be worked for, it has to be earned, and this new king hasn't done that.
Thus when the king tries to act big, we might say the people just laughed at him and left. That doesn't just mean they departed; we are left in no doubt – they are coming out from under the reign of this family, they are rebelling – and there is nothing this king can do about it. He tries to, he sends his slave master after them, but they are not slaves and they simply turn on him and kill him! The king is lucky to escape himself.
The reason for all this is stated quite clearly in v.15. It is that which we saw in 1 Kings. Solomon has turned away from God so God has turned away from him. God said this would happen and it has. We aren't told how God did it. Perhaps He just stepped back and let the natural folly of this young man do it. Perhaps He whispered to him to reject the elders and his natural folly responded. God knows people and knows what they will do when left to themselves.
1. God's absence.
2. The fruit of folly.
Chapter: 2 Chron 11
Passage: 2 Chron 11:1-17
A. Find Out:
1. What did Rehoboam start to do? v.1
2. But what happened to change that? v.2-4
3. What next did Rehoboam do? v.5-12
4. Yet who came to Rehoboam? v.13
5. Why? v.14,15
6. What then happened? v.16,17
1. What was the role of the Lord in these verses?
2. How does the spiritual life of Israel seem to continue?
3. What does that say about the division?
These are interesting verses! First of all we see the intent of the king to go and take back the other ten tribes by force. This is then followed by the Lord telling them, “Don't.” The good news was that they obeyed the word of the Lord and so division with peace was maintained. Rehoboam then embarks on a strategy of consolidation by strengthening all his cities. He may have only two tribes but he intends to be strong.
But then another dimension to the life of Israel is revealed: the priests and the Levites, whose homes were in towns all over Israel, gave up their homes and came to Jerusalem to live. This is amazing. These families were those chosen by God to serve in the temple at Jerusalem and they were not going to give up that role. The result is though, that Israel is left without spiritual mentors. They are now all at Jerusalem.
The second facet of this spiritual dimension is that the people of Israel with a heart for the Lord, continue to travel up to the temple to worship the Lord. Thus although the land is divided there is a spiritual unity. But, tragically as it turns out in the long term, Jeroboam with the other ten tribes sets up a substitute religion (read 1 Kings 12:25-33 for the detail of this). Jeroboam was to be the ultimate cause of the downfall of Israel. What he started, carried on, and was never properly removed. Seeping idolatry brings downfall, today as then.
1. Dealing with obstacles?
2. The temptation of substitutes.
Chapter: 2 Chron 12
Passage: 2 Chron 12:1-11
A. Find Out:
1. Who did what, when? v.1
2. So what then happened? v.2-4
3. Who brought what word to them? v.5
4. What response did this get? v.6
5. What was the Lord's response to that? v.7,8
6. What was the outcome? v.9-11
1. What was the folly that now ensued?
2. How did the Lord deal with it?
3. How was grace and mercy yet seen?
Rehoboam has become established in his reign from Jerusalem and thinks he is impregnable and can therefore do what he likes. He is a fool (see Psa 14:1) because he is in the privileged position of overseeing the covenant people of God and, despite what he may think, God is still overseeing him! God doesn't just abandon His wayward people; He disciplines them in a way that will drive them back. In this case He lifts off His hand of protection and the king of Egypt invades. It's that simple!
The only problem is that Rehoboam is stupid and ignorant and doesn't realise what is going on and so the Lord has to send him one of His prophets to tell him. When the word comes it produces a good response and the king and his leaders are humbled to acknowledge their position and their folly.
This, in turn, produces a grace and mercy response in the Lord who sends His prophet again. Very well, you will not be destroyed, merely disciplined. Egypt will still prevail but will leave you intact. The result is clearly visible: the gold goes and bronze replaces it. What a graphic visual sign of how Judah has been demoted. The glory of Solomon has now gone for good. How terrible, but that had only come with the blessing of God. That is now removed.
1. God's discipline.
2. Beware complacency.
Chapter: 2 Chron 12
Passage: 2 Chron 12:12-16
A. Find Out:
1. Why was Rehoboam spared? v.12
2. How long did he reign? v.13
3. How did he do evil? v.14
4. What happened throughout his reign? v.15
5. Who succeeded him as king? v.16
1. What good points were there about Rehoboam?
2. Yet how did he fail?
3. How would you summarise him in your own words?
These are really simple summary words about the reign of Rehoboam. Note first of all in verse 12, that so often king and country are identified as one by the writers of the history of Israel. The state of the king was so often reflected in the state of the nation. There was some good, but that's not a very good summary, it is rather begrudging!
Well, at least he humbled himself before the Lord, is what the writer seems to be saying, but that's about all you can say for him, and so God didn't destroy him. We're then told that he was middle aged when he came to the throne and reigned seventeen years and must have died when he was fifty eight. His mother was an Ammonite, a gentle reminder of Solomon's disobedience. Fancy having a wife from those who Israel should have put out of the land? Perhaps that explains his weak relationship with the Lord.
Every king in the records is summarised spiritually. The summary for Rehoboam was that “he did evil”. Why? Because “he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.” That seems both the reason he went on to do evil, and a description of the evil. He abandoned the Law (12:1) and then even after humbling himself before God, he never really sought the Lord. Therefore his reign was very half hearted and never received the blessing of God, and he constantly had trouble with the northern half of Israel. All these things go together. What a challenge!
1. My life?
2. Half-hearted or whole-hearted?
Chapter: 2 Chron 13
Passage: 2 Chron 13:1-12
A. Find Out:
1. Who became king of Judah , when & what happened? v.1,2
2. What did Abijah declare to the opposing army? v.3-5
3. What did he say had happened? v.6,7
4. What did he say they were now doing? v.8
5. What had they also done? v.9
6. What did he say about Judah ? v.10-12
1. What were the natural odds for this battle?
2. How was Abijah showing Israel were in the wrong?
3. How was he showing that Judah were in the right?
Time has passed and Solomon's son, Rehoboam, has died and is succeeded by his son, Abijah. In the north Jeroboam has been reigning for eighteen years. We're probably told this simply to present the fact that he is well and truly established there. Indeed when it comes to war, he can muster and army of 800,000 men, twice the size of that of Judah .
The two parts of the nation are not happy to co-exist next to each other, there is war and the two armies come to face each other. It is at this point that Abijah shows himself to be a leader, for he stands on a high point overlooking the battle field and shouts out to the opposing army facing him. He makes 3 declarations.
First he reminds them that God had promised David and his descendants, kingship. True. He omits to say that God had semi-annulled that because of Solomon's disobedience (1 Kings 11:11 -13). Next he challenges them with their rebellion (v.6,7) and subsequent setting up of a false religion (v.9). Finally he points out that his people are still faithfully maintaining their relationship with the Lord in the ways that the Lord had laid down. All of what he says is true and is designed to undermine the confidence of the army of Israel that outnumbers them 2 to 1. We'll see next how the Lord honoured Abijah's stand and his relying upon the Lord.
2. Alone or…
A. Find Out:
1. How did Israel come against Judah ? v.13,14a
2. What did Judah do, and what did the Lord do? v.14b-16
3. How great was the victory and why was it? v.17,18
4. What happened to Israel ? v.19,20
5. What happened to Abijah? v.21a
6. Who succeeded Abijah as king? 14:1
1. From a human standpoint, why was this such an amazing victory?
2. What is declared again and again to be the reason for the victory?
3. To get a spiritual perspective of this king read 1 Kings 15:1-8
When we read 1 Kings 15 we find a different assessment of Abijah than we might arrive at here – he wasn't whole hearted in his devotion to the Lord, and he still sinned. That makes this account even more amazing, showing the grace of God.
The armies of Judah and Israel face each other and Judah are out-numbered 2 to 1. It should be a slaughter by Israel , but in fact it is the opposite. Judah devastate Israel , and that even after a clever ambush strategy by Israel (v.13). In some cases that would melt the hearts of the army and make them an easy prey, but in Judah 's case it makes them cry out to the Lord even more – and the Lord routs Israel . How did He do this? We aren't told. Perhaps He simply spoke fear into every heart in the army of Israel and courage into the heart of the army of Judah . Speaking into people is the Lord's speciality. Anyway, the outcome is clear – Israel are defeated and Judah take back some of the southern towns. Eventually Jeroboam dies – we're told the Lord struck him down.
When we consider the 1 Kings assessment of Abijah, it makes this account all the more remarkable. It tells us that whatever the present or future state of someone, if they will cry out to the Lord whole heartedly, the Lord will come to their aid. People can never say the Lord didn't give this king a chance for great renown. He just didn't take it!
1. God's grace and mercy
2. Learning from God's grace and mercy.
In this final group of 7 studies we have seen :
From splendour and peace, we move to rebellion, division and war. How quickly the scene changes! Why did this happen? Because the Lord decreed it, but having said that, it was essentially brought on by the foolishness of Solomon's son, Rehoboam and the rebelliousness of Jeroboam, i.e. Sin in man! As soon as the blessing of God is lifted off and sinful man is left to himself, upheaval soon follows. With Solomon, God took the initiative and granted him wisdom. With his son, He remained silent. Disaster!
1. Need guidance? Ask God for wisdom.
2. A choice between the wisdom of youth or age? Go for age!
3. When God remains silent, stand still and seek Him.
4. In doubt? Just be wholehearted for God.
5. If the world is unfaithful I must remain faithful.
6. God's mercy and grace will always be there for me.
7. Will I learn from that?
Ask the Lord to keep you faithful to Him. Ask Him to stir a hunger in your heart to know Him more. Thank Him for all His blessings to you.
In these studies we have seen:
1. Wisdom and the Temple Building Ch.1-5
2. In the Temple Ch.6 & 7
3. Splendour & Failure Ch.8 & 9
4. The Nation Divided Ch.10 - 13
As we come to the end of this set of Studies, the following are some of the things we may want to consider further:
1. The Amazing Grace of God
When we consider the whole of this period we have been studying, the grace and goodness of the Lord stands out like a beacon! At the beginning of the book the Lord comes to Solomon with a most amazing offer: ask for whatever you want me to give you. When Solomon asks for wisdom God grants it. What is surprising about that, you may ask. Well when you consider that God knows everything, including how we will act, He must have known that despite the riches, despite the amazing blessing, Solomon would eventually turn away from the Lord and turn to idols. Despite that, the Lord blesses him with wisdom and riches. It's almost as if the Lord says, well you'll never be able to say I am a stingy God! Then, after Solomon has turned away, seduced by the false religions of his wives, the Lord in His mercy does not wipe him out, but simply says He will limit his family's future by cutting back on the nation they rule.
2. The Crass Stupidity of Mankind
After going through these studies, this is the only way you can describe us. Some people foolishly say that poverty causes sin. If only we could make everyone rich, they say, we'd all be all right. Wrong! Solomon is THE Biblical proof that riches are not an antidote to sin. This man had everything. If you read the studies on Ecclesiastes you will see that Solomon was able to try everything. As the richest man in the world he could do anything. There is a modern phrase that fits him perfectly: “be there, done it, got the tee-shirt”. He had done it all! Solomon had every opportunity to get it right: he had staggering wisdom from God, and then the riches that flowed from that wisdom. Despite all that, he disobeyed God and took foreign wives who led him into idolatry and rejection of God. You can't get more stupid than that!
3. And Us?
Oh yes, you can! We do stupid things all the time, and that despite having the wonderful presence of God living in us! The lesson here? We need to be constantly on the alert to avoid falling into temptation. We need to cry out constantly, Lord save me!