Today’s reading is — once again — about the division of Israel after the death of Solomon. It’s a story with a lot of things stirring in the mix of history, and its glance behind the curtain of what is seen (into the counsels of God) gives us a chance to consider how the events in our own lives or in current events of the world are sometimes determined.
The underlying reason for the division of Israel was Solomon’s unfaithfulness. As smart as he was, as wise as he was, as educated as he was, as advantaged as he was — all the things that we often believe make us immune to mistakes — he still could commit truly egregious sins. And this set events off on a course of division of the nation, determined by God’s righteous judgment. Sometimes a careless scan of the text can lead one to conclude that if only Rehoboam had been wiser in his first address to the nation’s concerns, all would have been well. But God, it seems clear enough (especially if we cross reference 1 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 11:4), had a hand in things, and nothing would have prevented it.
Listen to your elders — That being said, however, we really should notice that Rehoboam made a bad choice by refusing to listening to the counsel of the elders. Younger men have 1) more fire and vinegar and 2) less experience. Neither are great for wisdom: fire and vinegar engenders impulsiveness, uncontrolled anger, competition, jealousy; and less experience doesn’t often accurately anticipate the action/reaction chain of events. Elders, however, tend to have both experience and less impulsivity. A friend once put it this way, “The hardware isn’t as fast as it used to be, but the software’s better.”
Set your heart to seek the LORD — Rehoboam’s underlying problem, according to 12:14, was a failure to set his heart to seek the LORD. What does it mean to set one’s heart to see the LORD? It’s about a deliberate decision, a commitment based on a conviction. It is not passive, but rather it is active. It is not casual, coincidental discipleship; it is deliberate, compelled, and active. Have you set your mind to seek the LORD?
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.