A little refresher once more: Jeroboam ruled Israel throughout the reign of two kings of Judah, Rehoboam and Abijah, and on into the rule of Judah’s third king, Asa. Baasha was used by the Lord to render judgment against Jeroboam: (A) for his failure to follow the Lord and (B) for how his poor example also led the people of Israel into sin. After Jeroboam’s death, his son Nadab became king and Baasha killed him and took over the throne. He also wiped out all of Jeroboam’s remaining family members, “so that not one of the royal family was left, just as the Lord had promised” (I Kings 15:29b, NLT).
Covering the death of Jeroboam moved us past Rehoboam’s lifetime. Remember, Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, succeeded him and ended up ruling only over Judah, which consisted of the remaining two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the other ten tribes having been taken away from Solomon’s lineage because of Solomon’s disobedience to God.
Rehoboam, obviously slow to learn from something as big as losing nearly all of his kingdom, still “abandoned the Law of the Lord” (II Chronicles 12:1a). Like Jeroboam in Israel, Rehoboam was leading the people away from God. And “Because they were unfaithful to the Lord, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign” (II Chronicles 12:2).
As the vast army of Egypt marched forward, Rehoboam and the rest of Judah’s leaders huddled in terror inside Jerusalem. Pharaoh Shishak had already “conquered Judah’s fortified towns” (II Chronicles 12:4b) and now he was preparing to assault the capital city. Who knows how many of Judah’s citizens had already been slaughtered.
That’s when, through the prophet Shemaiah, the Lord sent Rehoboam a message: "This is what the Lord says: You have abandoned Me, so I am abandoning you to Shishak” (II Chronicles 12:5b).
Can’t say that I blame God one bit. The nerve of these people! He’d given them opportunity after opportunity; miracle upon miracle. And what was the thanks He got? Unfaithfulness. Insult. Idolatrous worship. I’m sure glad we don’t act like that, aren’t you?
Fortunately the Lord has a whole lot more love and patience than we can even imagine – but it’s critical not to mistake his patience for inaction. In His own timing, He will always do exactly what He says He’ll do, including judgment.
The people knew they were in big trouble and what had gotten them there. “Then the leaders of Israel (Judah) and the king humbled themselves and said, ‘The Lord is right in doing this to us!’" (II Chronicles 12:6). Finally, these wayward leaders and people ‘fessed up. And can you believe it? The Lord showed them mercy.
“When the Lord saw their change of heart, he gave this message to Shemaiah: ‘Since the people have humbled themselves, I will not completely destroy them and will soon give them some relief. I will not use Shishak to pour out My anger on Jerusalem. But they will become his subjects, so they will know the difference between serving Me and serving earthly rulers.’
So King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger was turned away, and He did not destroy him completely. There were still some good things in the land of Judah” (II Chronicles 12:7-9, 12).
There are still some “good things in the land of” America. But brothers and sisters, we’re a long way from where we need to be in honoring the Lord Jesus. The only thing that repels darkness is light. “You are the light of the world,” Jesus told us in Matthew 5:14a. How’re you shining these days?
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates