1 Kings 12-14
(Division Begins)
April 11th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Click here for a print- friendly version

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.

- 1 Kings 12:21 (NIV)

Summary of Chapters

Today's chapters begin with a scene in which King Solomon had recently passed away. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, was the natural heir, so he travelled to Shechem for his coronation. At first, all the people of Israel were ready to pledge their loyalty to him, but they wanted him to ease the oppression they had felt under Solomon. Rehoboam received good advice from his father’s experienced counselors regarding how to placate the people, but he ignored them, and listened to his own young advisers instead.

    Ignoring the advice the elders had given him, the king gave the people a harsh answer.

    He spoke to them as the young men had advised: “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will make it heavier. My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions.”

    - 1 Kings 12:13-14 (NAB)

This message inflamed his constituents. In response, the majority of the tribes split from the Rehoboam's dominion and formed a northern kingdom, which inherited the name Israel. The only remaining tribes were Judah and Benjamin. Therefore, the southern kingdom was known as Judah.

Jeroboam became the king of the northern kingdom (the names of the two kings sound very familiar - remember that the one whose name begins with “J” is the one that led the juggernaut that split Israel into two. The one with the name beginning with “R” is the one who remained in Jerusalem).

Jeroboam was good at rallying the people, but was a sucker for pagan worship. Therefore, God sent a prophet to warn him that a man named Josiah would come one day to crush the priests who were leading the pagan worship. Then the prophet Ahijah gave more bad news to the wife of Jeroboam:

    "I've got bad news for you. Go and deliver this message I received firsthand from God, the God of Israel, to Jeroboam: I raised you up from obscurity and made you the leader of my people Israel. I ripped the kingdom from the hands of David's family and gave it to you, but you weren't at all like my servant David who did what I told him and lived from his undivided heart, pleasing me. Instead you've set a new record in works of evil by making alien gods—tin gods! Pushing me aside and turning your back—you've made me mighty angry."

    "And I'll not put up with it: I'm bringing doom on the household of Jeroboam, killing the lot of them right down to the last male wretch in Israel, whether slave or free. They've become nothing but garbage and I'm getting rid of them. The ones who die in the city will be eaten by stray dogs; the ones who die out in the country will be eaten by carrion crows. God's decree!"

    - 1 Kings 14:6-11 (MSG)

Things were not going well for Rehoboam either, as he lost a son, was attacked by outside forces, and was frequently at war with Jeroboam.

Reflection and Application

Notice how many of the main people in this story listened to the wrong people. Rehoboam received good advice but ignored it and took the bad advice. His opponent, Jeroboam, was warned by a man of God, but did not take heed. Even the man of God fell into a trap of listening to the wrong person (1 Kings 13:6-26). A man who had claimed to be a prophet said that God had sent him to invite the man of God to dinner, which contradicted what God had said directly. The man of God accepted the invitation and paid the consequences.

How are we to discern good advice from bad and determine which messages are really from God? It can be difficult to filter these messages, but if we pray to God for patience, wisdom, and a clear objective mind then we are in a better position to judge for ourselves what makes sense. Rehoboam probably only listened to the consultants who gave him the answer he wanted. This Biblical experience helps to remind us that it's important for consultants to tell their clients or leaders the truth, even if it conflicts with that person's initial thoughts. It's also a reminder that leaders need to be prepared to re-consider their initial position in order to do what is best for his constituents.

In the case of the man of God, a good rule of thumb would be that anything that contradicts God’s word must not have come from God. This man had clear instructions from God not to stop for food. The decree could only have been reversed by God himself.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What situation can you think of in which you were in a group that split into two?
    2. What advice have you received that you are currently resisting but is worth re-considering?
    3. How do we remain faithful even if the culture around us is going the other way?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, you are the source of wisdom, forgive us for not always heeding your warnings and help us to stop trying to swim upstream against your will.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Cooks, chefs, and other kitchen workers

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: 1 Kings 15-18 (Introduction to Elijah)

    Comments and Questions
    If you have comments or questions, please add them to our Comments page, email to the author at ted@listeningforGod.org, or share your comments or questions via the Listening for God Twitter account

    Click to follow Listening for God(@listeningforgod)