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Rehoboam’s Folly

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Kings of Israel #2

“Rehoboam’s Folly”

Key Verses: 1Ki 12:1-15, 2Ch 10:1-15

 In this study, we want to review the Scriptures that speak to the events that precipitated the revolt of ten tribes of Israel and the resulting division that lasted until the divided nations were taken captive by the Assyrians and Babylonians, respectfully. It’s is needed to remind ourselves these events define our spiritual experiences as Israel within is being divided.

1Ki 12:1  And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. 

1Ki 12:2  And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;) 

1Ki 12:3  That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, 

1Ki 12:4  Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. 

1Ki 12:5  And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed. 

1Ki 12:6  And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people

1Ki 12:7  And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever

1Ki 12:8  But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: 

1Ki 12:9  And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter? 

1Ki 12:10  And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins. 

1Ki 12:11  And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 

This coming divide of Israel is spiritually the divide between our doctrine (hearing) and our doing (walking it out).  To be made perfect by the Lord and establish a firm foundation (twelve); both our doctrine and our deeds (heaven and earth) need work in the fiery furnace. The two tribes of Judah represent our witness for Christ who is inseparable from His Word which is His Doctrine. The ten northern tribes of Israel represent our walk (obedience or disobedience) as we are first trying to perfect ourselves in our own strength (the number ten) before we come to know and rest by being One in Christ (Truth).  This division and inward conflict are for our good in bringing confidence in the flesh to an end (Phi 3:3)and dragging us into the true rest (Heb 4:10). Both those near (Judah) and those far off (Israel in the North) are brought together as one.

Eph 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off (separated) are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Eph 2:14  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Eph 2:15  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Eph 2:16  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Eph 2:17  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off (Israel), and to them that were nigh (Judah).

Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind (Judah) I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh (Israel) the law of sin.

Rehoboam’s Folly

The name Rehoboam [H7346] means “a people has enlarged” and appropriately speaks to how corrupted doctrine, leavened bread, leads us astray from the narrow way.

Mat 7:13  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Mat 7:14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

It is indeed a narrow way of faith and Rehoboam picked up where his apostate father (Solomon) left off in making the apostasy even wider. Kings of the Lord possess great knowledge and spiritual power that is first abused and misused in exalting ourselves.

Rom 1:21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Rom 1:22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Rehoboam was born out of the misconduct of Solomon’s with his many wives and concubines. Woman represent churches and whom we engage with in seeking to bear fruit unto the Lord.  We learn later (1Ki 14:21) that Rehoboam’s mother’s name was Naamah which means pleasure, and who was also an Ammonite. The fact Solomon intermarried with Egyptians, Ammonites and many other heathens in disobedience to the law did not bode well for the blessings or curses that would soon fall upon his house. Ammonites, like Moabites, symbolize our own carnal thoughts that we exalt above the Lord and in so doing commit spiritual incest and fornication with our own flesh. That is the spiritual significance of Ammonites and Moabites birthed from physical incest (Gen 19:37-38) and why that mindset is forbidden in the congregation of the Lord.

Deu 23:3  An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD forever:

An Ammonite spirit has us leaning on our own understanding and exalting ourselves versus seeking wisdom from the Church (Eph 3:10) and its multitude of counselors.  Solomon, the author of Proverbs, truly fell away and took no heed the Scripture he was inspired to write many years prior.

Pro 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Pro 3:6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Pro 3:7  Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

The Gathering at Shechem

The gathering of Israel to make Rehoboam king takes place at Shechem (Sichem) which is a place rich in many illustrious events in the history of Israel. Shechem is the first place Abram met the Lord and was given the promise (Gen 12:6-7). Shechem is where Jacob, a type of our old man is buried (Act 7:26) and where the bones of Joseph (a type of Christ) were laid many years after his death (Jos 24:32). Shechem is where all of Israel came together to renew the covenant with the Lord.

Jos 24:1  Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and called for the elders of Israel, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.

Jos 24:25  So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

Shechem means “shoulder” and symbolizes where our spiritual head sits on our body attached via a neck which is our burden. That burden is supposed to be light and the yoke easy if we truly believe and walk by faith.

Gal 3:11  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Mat 11:29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Mat 11:30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 

The significance of this event being at Shechem relates to the yoke or burden that the heads (kings) of Israel place upon the people. The law of Moses/Gentiles is an oppressive yoke and heavy burden because anyone in the flesh outside the Law of faith cannot please God (Rom 8:8) no matter how hard they try. It is only under the law of Faith where we trust in Christ and nothing of ourselves that we are being saved. It takes us years of trials to get this straight in our heaven and our earth (Act 14:22). The earlier disciples, having the Spirit of God, struggled to get this right as we do (Mat 4:4).

Act 15:9  And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Act 15:10  Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

When we come to our wit’s end of laboring in our own strength to save ourselves, then the Lord begins to raise us up in righteousness.

Mat 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

A head full of carnal ordinances is a heavy burden that is taken away only in and by our day of the Lord by the working of the Word.

Isa 10:27  And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.

Shechem spiritually represents the place where we, as Israel, come together to seek peace and a new mindset to guide our lives as God’s people. The burden and bondage Israel had been under during Solomon’s reign quickly become a key to the story of Rehoboam.   With Solomon dead, Jeroboam, the former servant and now adversary of Solomon’s house, returns from Egypt to counsel Rehoboam on how to unite Israel in peace.

1Ki 12:2  And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;) 

1Ki 12:3  That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, 

1Ki 12:4  Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. 

Israel had been heavily taxed and oppressed during Solomon’s reign all the while he got the glory and admiration of the world. Solomon building a temple of the Lord using forced labor and the labor of Tyre (Babylon) is a shadow of us building a temple in vain (Psa 127:1) using our own hands (self-righteous works) in a covenant with the world.

1Ki 5:12  And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram (Tyre’s king) and Solomon; and they two made a league together. 

1Ki 5:13  And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men.

Solomon was a building machine and has Israel working hard constantly on many construction projects (1Ki Chapter 9) in the name of the Lord.  But as we see in Ecc 2, it was all really for Solomon’s benefit and his namesake of I, Me and My!

Ecc 2:4  I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards …

Ecc 2:9  So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

Rather than serving the people, Solomon has the people of Israel serving him.

1Ki 9:22  But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no bondmen: but they were men of war, and his servants, and his princes, and his captains, and rulers of his chariots, and his horsemen.

Israel wanted relief from this hard levy and taxing burden.  So Jeroboam requested that Rehoboam make lighter the burden Solomon initiated.  As God’s people walking by faith, we stubbornly learn the lesson that is not up to us but the Lord to give the increase and overcoming and it resting in those promises that victory will come if we wait for it.

Flesh naturally seeks dominion over others and corrupts the divine service that is the duty of Christ’s kings and priests (Rom 12:1). Samuel had warned of this apostasy and issues before the first king was raised up and which the history of these kings and our spiritual maturing is bearing out.

1Sa 8:10  And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.

1Sa 8:11  And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.

1Sa 8:12  And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots…….

1Sa 8:17  He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 

The greater we move away from faith and back into the wide way of the world, the more we are adding an increasingly oppressive yoke and heavier burden to our walk with Christ. Solomon was disobedient to all the laws of the kings (Deu 17:16-20) and exalted himself.

Mat 23:11  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

Mat 23:12  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

A king who is not a servant to his people is an oppressor of the people. That is what the carnal mind and law of self-righteousness have us doing to the inhabitants of the Kingdom both and without ourselves. Christ is our example of what a king is to do for His people.

Mat 20:25  But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.

Mat 20:26  Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.

Rehoboam sends the people away for three days, his process of spiritual maturity, so he can seek counsel and respond to Israel’s request.

1Ki 12:5  And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed. 

1Ki 12:6  And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people

1Ki 12:7  And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants forever.

Going to the old men is going to the elders and the mature in the ways of the Lord. Wise  counsel is given to Rehoboam that reinforces the example of faith and its law of reaping.

Luk 6:38  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Joh 12:26  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

Lest we forget what serving the living God looks like, we have the parable of Mat 25 teaching us what those being made righteous by faith are doing and to whom.

Mat 25:37  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

Mat 25:38  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Mat 25:39  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

Mat 25:40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 

It was not ordained for Rehoboam (us) at this time to learn the lesson that kings are to serve. Flesh does not naturally want to serve but to rather be served and enlarge its own borders.  Rehoboam rejects the elders’ counsel and instead seeks out the immature (young men) that will tell his fleshly ears what it wants to hear.

1Ki 12:8  But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: 

1Ki 12:9  And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter? 

1Ki 12:10  And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins. 

True Jews in the Spirit desire to walk by faith and carry the lighter burden versus the alternative way of salvation, the heavy yoke of self-righteousness, which is not a way at all (Joh 6:44, Joh 14:6). Seeking counsel from the youth that we grew up, the children of an apostate Solomon’s 700 spiritual concubines and 300 heathen wives, is seeking council from the world and the unbelieving.

Pro 13:20  He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Fearing the Lord begins true wisdom and that only begins once we are put into the fire of judgment where we are learning (Isa 26:9) and buying the true gold.

Pro 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Rev 3:18  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Rehoboam typifies the Nicolaitan and Pharisaical spirit that seeks dominion over others and exalts itself for its own gain and glory. When we realize we of ourselves can do nothing (Joh 15:5) then the idea of an appointed king doing service begins to resonate. Knowledge and power puff us up and we get spiritually fat (Deu 32:15) and we grow thick (thinking more highly of ourselves).  Fiery grace will chasten us and get us past this stronghold.

Rom 12:3  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Rom 12:4  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

Rehoboam’s counsel from the young and immature (mixed multitude mindset) is to add sin to sin or as the modern adage says adding insult to injury.

1Ki 12:11  And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 

Whips are used to teach and correct horses which are themselves a symbol of the world and the strength of the flesh. Such worldliness was Solomon’s downfall in acquiring thousands of horses from Egypt (1Ki 4:26) that was a consequence of failing to separate from the heathen nations. Adding to Solomon’s yoke is going even further away from faith. Scorpions are the lies and false doctrines of the world and of Babylon in which we are coming out of and which we have power over, if we act upon it.

Eze 2:6  And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.

Luk 10:19  Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Adding in more lies and carnal doctrines (scorpions) only further oppresses and enslaves the people of Israel, separating them from faith and the easier yoke of the Lord.  The locusts of Revelation 9 are the false doctrines that block out the sun (Truth) which are likened unto to scorpions that sting and torment us. There is no overcoming (dying) when these scorpions are oppressing Israel because we are not in faith.

Rev 9:3  Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

Rev 9:6  In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.

We have every reason and incentive as God’s people to actively seek to loosen these bands of wickedness and the yoke of our unbelief. Getting rid of this yoke opens us up to serve the living God and then the overcoming comes and the land within us is truly being healed.

Isa 58:6  Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

Isa 58:7  Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

Yet before there can be healing there must be further wounding at the hand of the Lord in the Kingdom of God within us (Deu 32:39).  Rehoboam takes the advice of fools rather than the elders and goes deeper into his father’s apostasy.  We see another witness of the Lord causing us to err from His ways (Isa 63:17) and working all things (Eph 1:11); even Rehoboam’s self-exaltation and cruelty in seeking dominion over Israel.

1Ki 12:12  So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.

1Ki 12:13  And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;

1Ki 12:14  And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

1Ki 12:15  Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

All of these evil experiences are the Lord’s work in us (Isa 45:7, Ecc 1:13) to mature us and teach us when the chastening time has come.

Psa 34:19  YLT Many are the evils (“ra”) of the righteous, Out of them all doth Jehovah deliver him.

Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Next week Lord willing, we will look back to where the Lord gave the prophecy (1Ki 11:29-32) to Jeroboam and see how the harsh answer of Rehoboam quickly led to the division of Israel and the appointment of Jeroboam as king of the northern kingdom. The process of moving onward to maturity is indeed one of the great tribulations and inner torment.

Sincere comments and questions are encouraged!