How many times in our lives has God disciplined us because of poor decisions we have made in our lives? During the discipline, we draw closer to Him and seek to show love and honor to Him. In His mercy, He turns and sees our heart and bestows some of His mercy on us, paroling us from our prison. As we venture out into the world, the lessons and closeness we had while we were in God’s stronghold seem to fade. Instead of using the time of parole to strengthen our resolve to follow closely after God and prepare us for the next work He has for us, we begin to believe we can handle things on our own. The slow fade back into what it was that put us in the stronghold in the first place begins. This plays out not only in our own lives but in countless others over the centuries and is demonstrated in the account of Rehoboam and the Israelites in 2 Chronicles.
Those from every tribe of Israel who had determined in their hearts to seek Yahweh their God followed the Levites to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors. So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon for three years, because they walked in the way of David and Solomon for three years.
When Rehoboam had established his sovereignty and royal power, he abandoned the law of the LORD—he and all Israel with him. Because they were unfaithful to the LORD in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt went to war against Jerusalem with 1,200 chariots, 60,000 cavalrymen, and countless people who came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Cushites. He captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far a Jerusalem.
Then Shemaiah the prophet went to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah who were gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak. He said to them: ‘This is what the LORD says: ‘You have abandoned Me; therefore, I have abandoned you into the hand of Shishak.’”
So the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “Yahweh is righteous.”
When the LORD saw that they had humbled themselves, the LORD’s message came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves; I will not destroy them but will grant them a little deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. However, they will become his servants so that they may recognize the difference between serving Me and serving the kingdoms of other lands.”
When Rehoboam humbled himself, the LORD’s anger turned away from him, and He did not destroy him completely. 2 Chronicles 11:16-17; 12:1-8, 12
For three years Rehoboam obeyed the Lord, but once he had established his control, he thought he no longer needed Him. Does this sound familiar? God brings us through our strongholds so graciously and helps us grow in our strength. But once He releases us do we ever acknowledge where it all originated? Do we forget and become prideful? Rehoboam’s loyalty appears to be based on convenience and not on love and devotion to the one true God. While Rehoboam was quick to repent, he was slow to follow God with a devoted heart. Just two verses later we see this rapid heart change.
Rehoboam did what was evil, because he did not determine in his heart to seek the LORD. 2 Chronicles 12:14
Rehoboam is a reminder to us that a lack of resolve and determination to seek the Lord with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength results in a falling away from God. His wavering between love for God and a love for self ultimately led to God giving Rehoboam over to his plans (Psalm 81:12). We, too, will find ourselves in the same situation if we are half-hearted in our seeking the Lord.
Let us resolve today to seek the Lord; to commit and surrender our all to Him and watch Him take over and lead and guide us in His ways and not our own. Remembering our resolve to commit and fully surrender our all to God must come from the love we have because God first loved us.
Oh Lord God, forgive us for so often seeking and following You during the hard times and then believing we can take the reigns from there. Help us to determine in our heart to follow You today, tomorrow, and forever. Out of Your love for us, may we love You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. To sincerely seek forgiveness and humbly submit ourselves to the current work You are doing in our lives and not long for the work we think we should be doing. Let us rest in the good things You have given us this day to complete. In Jesus Name, Amen.