Rehoboam reigned in what was left after Jeroboam took the ten northern tribes. He reigned in Jerusalem for 17 years as king of Judah and Benjamin.
Just a quick recap before we get into today’s story. Rehoboam was Solomon’s son. When he took the throne of Israel, the people asked him to lighten their burden. He refused and promised instead to make it even heavier. As a result Jeroboam took the ‘lion’s share’ of the tribes with him.
Rehoboam was not a good king. He was only marginally better than Jeroboam was. He didn’t build other gods and set them up as Israel’s deliverers. But he let the people of Judah chase after any god they wanted to. They engaged in every act the people that God had driven out of the land did. “And Judah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done” (verse 22).
Israel and Judah were in a continual state of war with one another during this time. Five years into Rehoboam’s reign and outside enemy emerges. I’m going to be bold here and state that this was a SMALL part of God’s judgment for what was happening.
Shishak king of Egypt fought against Rehoboam. This is the same king who offered Jeroboam refuge when Solomon was hunting for him. I don’t know of he and Jeroboam were still on good terms. Somehow he had heard of the treasury in the temple and in the palace. Solomon’s wealth was world renown but I wouldn’t be surprised I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Jeroboam had filled him in on some of the specific while he was in his care in Egypt. Shishak knew exactly what he wanted and where to find it, including the gold shields that hung in the hall of The Forest of Lebanon. But he could have just been going through any building that was in the king’s compound.
Rehoboam was no match for Shishak. And God didn’t help him out. Rehoboam’s relationship with God was NOT right and God wasn’t about to fight on his side.
One thing I do find interesting is that Rehoboam DID go into the house of the Lord. We are told that he made bronze shields to replace the gold ones that were stolen and they were used every time he went into the house of the Lord. I don’t know how often that was but the fact that he did go is encouraging. He didn’t turn the hearts of the people back to God though. And he didn’t follow God with his whole heart.
What was his purpose in going into the house of the Lord? Was it to worship the Lord? Was it to look over the grandeur there? Had they already set up altars to false gods in the Temple? It just seems strange to me that he went in when he was a NOT on good terms with God. I know God tore the kingdom of Israel in two because of Solomon’s sin but Rehoboam didn’t do anything to bring the people back to God. That is what a GOOD king would do. The people’s relationship with God is a reflection of its leaders relationship with Him.
That last statement holds true even today. The sad part is how far our world has fallen away from Him. Yes, there are believers scattered all over the face of the earth but there isn’t one nation that stands completely for Him anymore. Our world is headed for trouble; end time trouble. But God is STILL faithful to those who put their trust in Him, no matter where they live or what their leaders are doing.
Father God, thank You that You are faithful. That You know Your children by name. That You watch over me, even when the world is in turmoil. I put my trust in YOU. Lead me daily in the way I should go, even if it is contrary to the way those around me are going. One day Jesus WILL rule all the earth. Until then, I want Him ALWAYS on the throne of my heart.