Jun 23 (1 Kings 12-14) God had told Solomon at the dedication of the temple: “If you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me … and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut Israel off from the land which I have given them” (1 Kgs. 9:6-7). Today and tomorrow, we read about how Solomon did exactly what God had warned him not to do, and how God responded by dividing the kingdom.
After Solomon had died and his son Rehoboam became king, the new king foolishly disregarded the advice of the elder counselors, who advised “servant leadership”: “If you will be a servant to this people today … then they will be your servants forever” (12:7). He followed instead the advice of counselors his own age and promised the people he would rule with an iron hand. The ten tribes of Israel rebelled against him and even tried to take his life. “So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day … None but the tribe of Judah followed the house of David” (12:19-20). Only Judah remained loyal to Rehoboam. Under his leadership, “Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked Him to jealousy more than all that their fathers had done” (14:22).
We read twice that God was behind these events, just as He had warned Solomon. “(Rehoboam) did not listen to the people; for it was a turn of events from the LORD, that He might establish His word…” (12:15). After Rehoboam had established an army of 180,000 men to make war against Israel, God told him: “You must not…fight against your relatives the sons of Israel…for this thing has come from Me” (12:24). We must never forget what God declared through Isaiah: “Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it” (Is. 46:11).
– Al Gary