An Encouragement and a Warning

The last couple of days I’ve been reading about King Rehoboam – first in in 1 Kings and then in 2 Chronicles. Both accounts are quite similar and they both got me thinking about a lot of potential parallels with many of our political leaders today.

Rehoboam was arrogant. He failed to listen to the wise advice of his elders and instead followed the advice of the young men who he had grown up with who told him what he wanted to hear. So he went to the people and claimed that his little finger was thicker than the thighs of his father, Solomon, and threatened to lay on them a yoke that was much heavier than the one imposed by Solomon.

Not surprisingly, a large portion of the kingdom rebelled against Rehoboam, and it led to a split in the kingdom that will only be repaired when Jesus returns to this earth again. But what is revealed in both accounts is that this was all God’s doing in order to fulfill the promise that He had earlier made to Jeroboam to make him king over the northern 10 tribes.

To me, this account brings both an encouragement and a warning.

First, the encouragement. Even when we may not see it, God is in control of the affairs of men. In His sovereignty, God used an arrogant, wicked king to carry out His plan for His people, which included a great deal of discipline for their rebellion. Nothing happened by chance. And that is still true today, Even when we can’t see exactly what God is doing behind the scenes, we can be assured that He is still sovereign and that He is carrying out His plans, often in ways that we don’t understand. And that means that our fate is not in the hand of any political leaders, but rather in God’s hands. I know I am grateful for that, aren’t you?

The warning, is that we need to make sure that we don’t make assumptions about what God is doing based on the apparent “success” or lack of “success” of our political leaders, or put our faith in those leaders rather than in God. Far too often, when there are leaders we disagree with in power, we are quick to assume that God is punishing us and that when leaders are in power that we agree with we are quick to assume that God is blessing us. But based on what we see in the Bible, including these passages about Rehoboam, God is often working in ways that don’t line up with our human understanding.

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