Man has a tendency to stray from God. It started with Adam, continued with Solomon — who by what he wrote in Ecclesiastes, seemed to have repented in his old age — and continues with the new kings of Israel and Judah. Due to Solomon’s turning to idolatry because of his many wives and concubines, a united Israel is split with 10 tribes in the north, called “Israel” and 2 tribes in the south, called “Judah”. This split, which happened in 925 BC, would last 200 years.
Altogether, Israel would have 19 bad kings in this time period, none of whom pleased God. Out of the 20 kings Judah would have, only 8 were good and followed the Lord. We’ll meet them as we continue through 1 and 2 Kings. Check out the videos below for more insights on these chapters.
Today we continue with King Jeroboam in the north and King Rehoboam in the south. Both are facing slavery, loss and death. Let’s dig in…
1 Kings 14
At that time Jeroboam’s son Abijah became very sick. 2 So Jeroboam told his wife, “Disguise yourself so that no one will recognize you as my wife. Then go to the prophet Ahijah at Shiloh—the man who told me I would become king. 3 Take him a gift of ten loaves of bread, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and ask him what will happen to the boy.”
4 So Jeroboam’s wife went to Ahijah’s home at Shiloh. He was an old man now and could no longer see. 5 But the Lord had told Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife will come here, pretending to be someone else. She will ask you about her son, for he is very sick. Give her the answer I give you.”
6 So when Ahijah heard her footsteps at the door, he called out, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam! Why are you pretending to be someone else?” Then he told her, “I have bad news for you. 7 Give your husband, Jeroboam, this message from the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘I promoted you from the ranks of the common people and made you ruler over my people Israel. 8 I ripped the kingdom away from the family of David and gave it to you. But you have not been like my servant David, who obeyed my commands and followed me with all his heart and always did whatever I wanted. 9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made other gods for yourself and have made me furious with your gold calves. And since you have turned your back on me, 10 I will bring disaster on your dynasty and will destroy every one of your male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel. I will burn up your royal dynasty as one burns up trash until it is all gone. 11 The members of Jeroboam’s family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures. I, the Lord, have spoken.’”
12 Then Ahijah said to Jeroboam’s wife, “Go on home, and when you enter the city, the child will die. 13 All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only member of your family who will have a proper burial, for this child is the only good thing that the Lord, the God of Israel, sees in the entire family of Jeroboam.
14 “In addition, the Lord will raise up a king over Israel who will destroy the family of Jeroboam. This will happen today, even now! 15 Then the Lord will shake Israel like a reed whipped about in a stream. He will uproot the people of Israel from this good land that he gave their ancestors and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, for they have angered the Lord with the Asherah poles they have set up for worship. 16 He will abandon Israel because Jeroboam sinned and made Israel sin along with him.”
17 So Jeroboam’s wife returned to Tirzah, and the child died just as she walked through the door of her home. 18 And all Israel buried him and mourned for him, as the Lord had promised through the prophet Ahijah.
19 The rest of the events in Jeroboam’s reign, including all his wars and how he ruled, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. 20 Jeroboam reigned in Israel twenty-two years. When Jeroboam died, his son Nadab became the next king.
Rehoboam Rules in Judah
21 Meanwhile, Rehoboam son of Solomon was king in Judah. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen from among all the tribes of Israel as the place to honor his name. Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah, an Ammonite woman.
22 During Rehoboam’s reign, the people of Judah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, provoking his anger with their sin, for it was even worse than that of their ancestors. 23 For they also built for themselves pagan shrines and set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 24 There were even male and female shrine prostitutes throughout the land. The people imitated the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites.
25 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. 26 He ransacked the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. 27 King Rehoboam later replaced them with bronze shields as substitutes, and he entrusted them to the care of the commanders of the guard who protected the entrance to the royal palace. 28 Whenever the king went to the Temple of the Lord, the guards would also take the shields and then return them to the guardroom.
29 The rest of the events in Rehoboam’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 30 There was constant war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 31 When Rehoboam died, he was buried among his ancestors in the City of David. His mother was Naamah, an Ammonite woman. Then his son Abijam became the next king.1 Kings 14 NLT
Lessons to Learn
- You can’t fool God — don’t even try!
- God hates idolatry and immorality. That is a very common problem throughout the Old Testament. From Exodus, where God tells Moses that the He would wipe out all the pagan inhabitants of the Promised Land, to the vicious cycle in Judges, to the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah. It’s unfortunate that idolatry and immorality started by the pagan nations, continues today. (Jesus takes the 10 Commandments down to 2)
- Short-term prophecy fulfillment assure that future prophecies will be fulfilled. We’ll see this pattern again.
- King David put God first. Both these kings put pagan worship, idolatry and immorality first. Who or what do YOU put first?
- King David’s first son with Bathsheba died because of his sin of adultery and murder. Thus, Jeroboam’s son is spared the detestable culture he would have grown up in.
- Wealth is fleeting. What Solomon spoke of in Ecclesiastes came true for his son. The gold shields were replaced by ones made of bronze.
- Gold represents God’s work as man plays no part in its manufacturing. Bronze, however, is an alloy of zinc and copper — a man-made process. This signifies how God’s work and Word is replaced by man-made religious processes, rites and rituals.
Our Treasure is in Heaven!
Jesus told us…
19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.Matthew 6:19-21 NLT
We are not supposed to understand EVERYTHING that God does. The Holy Spirit in our hearts will reveal to us what God wants us to know. That’s why I pray for Him to empower my listening, writing and speaking, as well as to sharpen my spiritual eyesight and hearing. Here are a few scripture verses to keep in mind…
Jesus didn’t suffer torture and die so we could have religion!
He died so He could have a Relationship with YOU!
What are you waiting for?!