Introduction: Both Jeroboam and Rehoboam sinned as they lived and walked without God. Through their sins, they lead both Northern Israel and Judah into idolatry. Both they and their peoples tried to live without God. The result was disaster. From the mistakes of Jeroboam and Rehoboam, God provides several warnings regarding the consequences of trying to live without Him. These include: (1) Satan’s deception, (2) God’s judgment, (3) curses on you and others, (4) despair and death, (5) Satanic influences, (6) Satanic bondage, and (7) strife and conflict.
First, to bring Jeroboam to repentance, God allowed his son and heir, Abijah, to suffer a serious illness. Because Jeroboam had rebelled against God, God would not answer either his prayers or the prayers of his counterfeit priesthood. Instead of repenting, Jeroboam tried to deceive God’s prophet Ahijah by sending his wife in disguise for help. From Jeroboam’s mistake, God reveals that living without Him leads to Satan’s lies and deception. Second, acting under God’s direction, the prophet Ahijah cast judgment upon Jeroboam, his entire family, and his kingdom. From this account, God reveals that living without Him leads to judgment. Third, because the Jews of Northern Israel adopted Jeroboam’s idolatry, the prophet Ahijah warned that all of Northern Israel would be sent into exile. From this punishment, God warns that living without Him can lead to curses on yourself and others as God removes His hand of protection from Satan. Fourth, God allowed Jeroboam to experience despair when he saw his son die upon his return. He also experienced despair knowing that his kingdom would soon come to an end. From this, God reveals that living without Him leads to despair and eventually death. Turning to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is your only hope for salvation and eternal life. Fifth, like Jeroboam, Rehoboam squandered his chance to lead by causing his peoples to embrace idolatry and cultic temple prostitution. This placed both his family and the people who followed him under Satan’s influence. From Rehoboam’s mistakes, God reveals that living without Him can eventually lead to living under demonic influences. Sixth, like Jeroboam, Rehoboam refused to repent. He was prideful of the tremendous gold that David and Solomon had accumulated. Because he was in bondage to wealth, God allowed the Egyptians to invade and plunder all of his gold. From Rehoboam’s mistake, God reveals that living without Him leads to bondage. Finally, Jeroboam and Rehoboam caused their peoples to live in strife and conflict with each other. From their mistakes, God warns that living without Him leads to strife and conflict.
Jeroboam uses deception to speak to God’s prophet. Jeroboam suffered great distress from an ill heir named Abijah. Because he had rejected God’s message to tear down his false altars and idols, he sent his wife in disguise hoping that he could manipulate God’s prophet with ten loaves of bread into giving his son a blessing. “1 At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam became sick. 2 Jeroboam said to his wife, “Arise now, and disguise yourself so that they will not know that you are the wife of Jeroboam, and go to Shiloh; behold, Ahijah the prophet is there, who spoke concerning me that I would be king over this people. 3 Take ten loaves with you, some cakes and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.” (1 Kgs. 14:1-3). Jeroboam experienced God’s power and a warning with a sign of his withered and then restored hand (1 Kgs. 13:1-6) and a warning from his own false prophet (1 Kgs. 13:26-32). Yet, Jeroboam refused to repent. He instead led all of Israel into a false religion with idols and a counterfeit priesthood (1 Kgs. 14:32-34; 12:25-33). God now tried to reach Jeroboam by allowing his heir to become ill (1 Kgs. 14:1). Yet again, Jeroboam ignored God’s offer to repent and return to Him. He did, however, recognize that his own counterfeit priesthood had no real power. Thus, he sent his wife to find the prophet who promised that he would be king (1 Kgs. 11:30-35). Satan deceived the first prophet that God sent to Jeroboam with deceit and the offer of food (1 Kgs. 13:11-25). Acting under Satan’s influence, Jeroboam assumed that he could deceive God’s prophet Ahijah in the same manner with food. Yet, the 10 loaves of bread would symbolize his judgment under the Ten Commandments.
Deceit and lies place you under Satan’s influence. Saul also used deceit by concealing his identity from God when he tried to speak to the witch of Endor (1 Sam. 28:8). By employing lies and deceit, both Jeroboam and Saul backslid even further in their walks. If you are using lies and deceit, you also have backslidden in your walk. Lies and deceit are Satan’s tools to turn people away from God (Dt. 11:16; 30:17). If you deceive or lie, you are also under Satan’s influence. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. . . Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jo. 8:44). Are there any lies or deception in your dealings with others?
Unrepentant sin can “hinder” your prayers. Neither Jeroboam nor his counterfeit priesthood could accomplish anything by praying to God for help. Their prayers were an abomination to God because Jeroboam’s priesthood was in direct rebellion to God’s statute that only the Levites could be priests under the Mosaic law. Although God will not permanently forsake a believer (Dt. 31:6; Heb. 13:5), He warns that He will temporarily hide His face from a believer in open rebellion: “But I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods.” (Dt. 31:18; 32:19-20). When God hid His face from the Jews, He did not “hear” their prayers: “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.” (Is. 1:15; 8:17; Ps. 66:18; Prov. 28:9). In the New Testament, God also warns that sin can cause a believer’s prayers to be temporarily “hindered” or impaired (1 Pet. 3:7; Jo. 9:31). The reason for this is that sin cannot be in God’s presence, and He “cannot look on wickedness.” (Hab. 1:13). When you act righteously, your prayers are a sweet aroma to Him (Ps. 141:2; Rev. 5:8; 8:3). Yet, when you are in open rebellion, your prayers are putrid to Him. If you are sinning and you repent of your sins, God is faithful to forgive you (1 Jo. 1:9). Have you repented of your sins?
God pronounces judgment upon all of Jeroboam’s household. Because nothing is hidden from God, God had Ahijah proclaim judgment on Jeroboam’s son and his entire future lineage and kingdom: “4 Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. Now Ahijah could not see, for his eyes were dim because of his age. 5 Now the Lord had said to Ahijah, ‘Behold, the wife of Jeroboam is coming to inquire of you concerning her son, for he is sick. You shall say thus and thus to her, for it will be when she arrives that she will pretend to be another woman.’ 6 When Ahijah heard the sound of her feet coming in the doorway, he said, ‘Come in, wife of Jeroboam, why do you pretend to be another woman? For I am sent to you with a harsh message. 7 Go, say to Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over My people Israel, 8 and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you—yet you have not been like My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only that which was right in My sight; 9 you also have done more evil than all who were before you, and have gone and made for yourself other gods and molten images to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back— 10 therefore behold, I am bringing calamity on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male person, both bond and free in Israel, and I will make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam, as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone. 11 Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs will eat. And he who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat; for the Lord has spoken it.’’ 12 Now you, arise, go to your house. When your feet enter the city the child will die. 13 All Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, for he alone of Jeroboam’s family will come to the grave, because in him something good was found toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam. 14 Moreover, the Lord will raise up for Himself a king over Israel who will cut off the house of Jeroboam this day and from now on.” (1 Kgs. 14:4-14). Unlike the first disobedient prophet, Ahijah listened to His Heavenly Father. Thus, he did not allow his flesh to deceive him with the offer of 10 loaves of bread (1 Kgs. 14:3, 6). He had poor eyesight. But he lived by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Thus, he could see clearly through the Holy Spirit. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, Ahijah foretold the future end of Jeroboam’s kingdom. Even worse, nothing regarding his legacy would be honored by anyone in the future. Despite being given a chance to succeed, Jeroboam exceeded the evil of Saul and Solomon by setting a counterfeit worship system that led his entire country astray (1 Kgs. 16:25, 30; 2 Kgs. 21:11). Abijah’s name meant “my father is the Lord.” This means he had faith. Possibly for this reason, he would be the only member of Jeroboam’s family who would be honored with an actual burial (1 Kgs. 14:13).
The blind prophet Ahijah declares God’s judgment to Jeroboam’s wife1
The future fulfillment of God’s judgment upon Jeroboam’s kingdom. The prophet Ahijah warned that God would raise up a king who would overthrow Jeroboam’s kingdom. God fulfilled that prophecy with a king named Baasha (1 Kgs. 15:27-30).
God’s Word is true and is always fulfilled. Throughout the Bible, God reveals that His Word is true and always comes to pass: “Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” (Josh. 21:45). “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.” (1 Kgs. 8:56). “I declared the former things long ago and they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.” (Is. 48:3). “Behold, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things; before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.” (Is. 42:9). No other holy book can make similar claims of fulfilled prophecy as the Bible does.
God gave Jeroboam a chance to succeed. God promised Jeroboam that he would succeed if he kept His Commandments and statutes (1 Kgs. 2:3-4; 3:14; 11:38). Sadly, he rejected God’s laws. Thus, God revealed that his kingdom would not last (1 Kgs. 11:39).
Don’t ignore God’s warnings of judgment. No person should treat sin lightly (Rom. 6:26). God is a consuming fire when in the presence of sin: “for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29; 10:27; Ex. 24:17; Dt. 4:24; 9:3; Ps. 97:3; Is. 33:14; 2 Thess. 1:7). For those who do not repent, He warns: “I will pour out My indignation on you; I will blow on you with the fire of My wrath, . . .” (Ez. 21:31(a)). ‘“Is not My word like fire?’ declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock?’” (Jer. 23:29). “The soul who sins will die.” (Ez. 18:4(b)). Unless you accept that God will judge sin, you will feel no pressure to repent. Staying silent about His judgments also doesn’t help others. Are you helping others turn to Christ to spare them from judgment? (Matt. 28:16-20).
God pronounces judgment on all of Northern Israel. Because the people of Northern Israel had joined in these sins, they would eventually be sent into exile: 15 ‘For the Lord will strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water; and He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger. 16 He will give up Israel on account of the sins of Jeroboam, which he committed and with which he made Israel to sin.’” (1 Kgs. 14:15-16). As the leader of Northern Israel, Jeroboam’s sins brought judgment upon all the people. The people joined in this judgment because they accepted the false religion that Jeroboam offered. Thus, Ahijah warned that the people would face two kinds of judgment. First, they would experience political instability. Second, all of the northern tribes would eventually be swept away into exile.
Ahijah pronounces God’s curse of instability upon Northern Israel2
The future fulfillment of God’s judgment of political instability. Ahijah prophesied that the people would be like a “a reed is shaken in the water.” (1 Kgs. 14:15). This was a metaphor for instability: “As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?’” (Matt. 11:7; Lk. 7:24). God fulfilled this prophecy as Northern Israel experienced constant coups as each king was deposed by another.
The future fulfillment of God’s judgment against Northern Israel. Ahijah prophesied that the people would be sent into exile beyond the Euphrates (1 Kgs. 14:15). God fulfilled Ahijah’s prophecy of judgment upon Northern Israel when He allowed the Assyrians to conquer the northern tribes and send them into exile (2 Kgs. 17:23). “The high places of Isaac will be desolated and the sanctuaries of Israel laid waste. Then I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with the sword . . . For thus Amos says, ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.”’ (Amos 7:9, 11). “Make yourself bald and cut off your hair, because of the children of your delight; extend your baldness like the eagle, for they will go from you into exile.” (Micah 1:16).
Worshiping anything other than God can bring curses to you and your descendants. God will not withhold any good thing from you when you walk uprightly (Ps. 84:11; 19:7). Yet, His anger burned against Israel when they worshiped other gods: “So they forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtaroth. The anger of the LORD burned against Israel . . .” (Jdgs. 2:13-15). God repeatedly commanded the Jews not to turn to idols (Ex. 20:4, 23; 34:17; Lev. 19:4; 26:1; Dt. 4:16, 23; 2 Kin. 17:12; Ps. 78:58; Ez. 20:7). This prohibition is repeated in the New Testament. “Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” (1 Cor. 10:7). The prohibition against idolatry is one of the three prohibitions from the Old Testament mentioned in the Apostolic Decree: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.” (Acts 15:28-29; same 21:25). Paul lists it as one of the deeds of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21). As part of the Second Commandment, God warned that idolatry is so serious that it can bring judgment upon both you and future generations: “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Ex. 20:4-6; Dt. 5:8-10). Because the Jews ignored repeated opportunities to repent, God removed His hedge of protection and allowed Satan to lead the Jews into captivity: “Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth . . . The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines . . . so that Israel was greatly distressed . . .” (Jdgs. 10:6-14). “But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel . . .” (1 Kgs. 9:6-7; Ex. 20:5; Dt. 5:9). False gods will inevitably disappoint. Only worshiping God will give you the peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7).
God fulfills His promise of judgment on Jeroboam’s son. To demonstrate his power, God confirmed His Word by causing Jeroboam’s son to die exactly as He foretold: “17 Then Jeroboam’s wife arose and departed and came to Tirzah. As she was entering the threshold of the house, the child died. 18 All Israel buried him and mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through His servant Ahijah the prophet. 19 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he made war and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 20 The time that Jeroboam reigned was twenty-two years; and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his place.” (1 Kgs. 14:17-20). Jeroboam had moved his capital from Shechem to Tirzah within the territory of Manasseh, 35 miles north of Jerusalem (1 Kgs. 12:25). At the center of Jeroboam’s center of power, God demonstrated His real power by taking the life of his son and future heir. God let Jeroboam know that his kingdom would be ripped from his heirs by allowing his son to die in the exact manner Ahijah foretold (1 Kgs. 14:12-3). When compared with the 40-year reigns of David and Solomon (1 Kgs. 2:11; 11:42), Jeroboam’s 22-year reign was short. This reflected God’s judgment. His son Nabad took power upon his death. But his reign would be cut short.
God confirms Ahijah’s prophecy by causing Jeroboam’s son to die3
Living without God will also cause an individual or a nation to experience despair. God allowed Jeroboam to experience despair when he saw his son die upon his return. He also experienced despair knowing that his kingdom would soon come to an end. His wife experienced despair knowing that each step on her return home from seeing the prophet Ahijah was one step closer to her son’s death. Like Jeroboam and his family, if an individual or a nation rejects God’s efforts to bring them back, He will cause them to feel the same despair and hopelessness: “65 Among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. 66 So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you will be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. 67 In the morning you shall say, ‘Would that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Would that it were morning!’ because of the dread of your heart which you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you will see. 68 The Lord will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way about which I spoke to you, ‘You will never see it again!’ And there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.” (Dt. 28:65-68). “This you will have from My hand: you will lie down in torment.” (Is. 50:11(b)). “These two things have befallen you; who will mourn for you? The devastation and destruction, famine and sword; how shall I comfort you?” (Is. 51:19). “And it shall be that when they say to you, ‘where should we go?’ then you are to tell them, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘Those destined for death, to death; and those destined for the sword, to the sword; and those destined for famine, to famine; and those destined for captivity, to captivity.’’ (Jer. 15:2). Have you warned your non-believing friends about the despair that awaits? Spreading the hope of eternal life in Jesus is the Great Commission given to all believers (Matt. 28:16-20).
The wages of sin are death. Abijah died because of his father’ sins. God also struck Jeroboam down because of his sins. “Jeroboam did not again recover strength in the days of Abijah; and the LORD struck him and he died.” (2 Chron. 13:20). God’s punishment of Abijah and Jeroboam should not be dismissed as relics of the Old Testament. “For the wages of sin is death, . .” (Rom. 6:23). For the unsaved, allowing demonic forces into your life through drug abuse, alcohol, pornography, or the occult brings with it an eternal death penalty (Lev. 20:27; Ex. 22:18; Dt. 18:10-12). Only through faith in Jesus’ atoning death on the cross is salvation possible (Rom. 3:25; 2 Cor. 5:21). “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, . . .” (Gal. 3:13). “for ‘whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”’ (Ro. 10:13). How seriously are you taking your sins?
Rehoboam does evil by leading Judah into idolatry. Despite losing half his kingdom to his own sins, Rehoboam also did not repent. Instead, he engaged in his own evil practices through idolatry, temple prostitution, and the worship of false gods: “21 Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put His name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonitess. 22 Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked Him to jealousy more than all that their fathers had done, with the sins which they committed. 23 For they also built for themselves high places and sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and beneath every luxuriant tree. 24 There were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord dispossessed before the sons of Israel.” (1 Kgs. 14:21-24). Rehoboam lasted only 17 years, 931-913 B.C. (1 Kgs. 14:21). This was less than half the length of his father Solomon (1 Kgs. 11:42). Like Jeroboam, his short reign was a sign of God’s judgment against him for his evil acts. Solomon took many foreign wives who led his heart astray with their idolatry (1 Kgs. 11:4). Rehoboam’s mother was an Ammonite (1 Kgs. 11:21). Thus, she most likely encouraged both Solomon and Rehoboam to embrace idolatry. After only three years as king, he embraced idolatry and forsook God (2 Chron. 11:17). Under Rehoboam, Judah engaged in evil that was worse than any prior king (1 Kgs. 14:22). Idolatry was open and pervasive (1 Kgs. 14:23-24; 2 Chr. 12:1). This means that it was no longer stigmatized as a sin. The evil practices included temple prostitution (1 Kgs. 14:24; Dt. 16:22). The “Asherahs” were sexually explicit carvings associated with a Canaanite deity. The evil that God condemned also included: “male cult prostitutes.” (1 Kgs. 14:24). At the time, this was celebrated by all the people, just as it is today. But God would soon judge Judah for these practices (2 Chron. 12:1-2).
Idolatry puts a believer in communion with demons. An idol is any physical thing to which you devote yourself. Although idols like money have no real power by themselves, the unbridled desire for these things causes addiction and puts a person in communion with demonic forces: “What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.” (1 Cor. 10:19-20). God will never leave or forsake a believer (Heb. 13:5; Dt. 31:6). But God may not stop you if you choose to give into an addiction by listening to the demons over the Holy Spirit. Ask yourself what you desire most. If your answer is something material or the flesh, you are listening to the counsel of demons.
Idolatrous rulers may stumble and pull believers off of their walks. Paul warned that merely associating with an idolater (i.e., someone trapped with an addiction) can cause the believer to be pulled off his or her walk. “But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one.” (1 Cor. 5:11). “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” (1 Cor. 15:3). You can also cause others to stumble in your walk through your own idolatry. You must: “take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Cor. 8:9). If merely associating with an idolater can cause you to stumble, the risk is even greater when your leader is an idolater. That person can cause any person or group of people under his or her authority to be led astray by his or her bad example.
God allowed the Egyptians to raid the gold from the Temple and King’s palace. Rehoboam did not repent after most of his kingdom was taken from him. To bring him to a place where he could repent, God them allowed the Egyptians to remove his wealth by looting all the gold that David and Solomon had accumulated: “25 Now it happened in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, that Shishak the king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. 26 He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house, and he took everything, even taking all the shields of gold which Solomon had made. 27 So King Rehoboam made shields of bronze in their place, and committed them to the care of the commanders of the guard who guarded the doorway of the king’s house. 28 Then it happened as often as the king entered the house of the Lord, that the guards would carry them and would bring them back into the guards’ room.” (1 Kgs. 14:25-28). Rehoboam ignored the advice of his elders when he first became king to lighten the taxation and labor requirements that Solomon had imposed upon the people. Because he loved his money too much, he threatened to increase the taxation and labor requirements in response to the people’s complaints (1 Kgs. 12:1-15). His covetousness caused 10 northern tribes to break away and leave him with only the lands of Judah and half of the territory that was Benjamin (1 Kgs. 12:16-24). Yet, despite this punishment, he would not repent. Thus, God allowed the Egyptians to remove the thing that he valued most, his gold. Archeology further confirms that this punishment was real. Inscriptions found in the Egyptian temple of Amun at Karnak confirm that Pharaoh Shishak, aka, Sheshonq I of Egypt’s Twenty second Dynasty, invaded both the northern and southern kingdoms. Jerusalem almost faced complete destruction. Rehoboam was later forced to replace his many gold shields with bronze shields. Bronze symbolized judgment (Rev. 1:15). Thus, God had judged him for his idolatry and covetousness.
God allowed the Egyptians to loot the Temple of its gold4
Solomon’s worldly alliance with Pharaoh was foolish and short lived. Solomon ignored God’s Word and engaged in unlawful alliances with foreign powers through his many foreign wives. For example, “Solomon formed a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her to the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the Lord and the wall around Jerusalem.” (1 Kgs. 3:1). Solomon’s marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter may have appeared wise at the time because it allowed Solomon to protect the southern border from Egyptian attacks. Both countries would also benefit from increased trade. Yet, God prohibited His people from marrying a pagan spouse (Dt. 7:3-4). God also prohibited a king from having more than one wife (Dt. 17:17(a)). Solomon’s decision to ignore God’s laws was foolish because the Pharaoh soon betrayed him. First, he protected Solomon’s enemy Jeroboam in Egypt (1 Kgs. 11:40). Pharaoh had even given him a sister-in-law as a pagan wife (1 Kgs 11:19-20). Pharaoh then aided him with his revolt to divide Israel into two nations. Pharaoh no doubt learned about all the hidden gold inside Jerusalem through his daughter and her servants. Once Israel was weakened and divided, he then raided Jerusalem to steal all the gold. Thus, even if Solomon’s decision to form a marriage alliance looked wise at the time, it resulted in disaster for God’s people.
Rehoboam lost to the Egyptians because he rejected God. In the book of Chronicles, God reveals that Rehoboam lost because he was unfaithful to God: “And it came about in King Rehoboam’s fifth year, because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem.” (2 Chr. 12:2). This warning applies today as well. If the Church does not promote God-fearing leaders, all the nations will suffer.
Unrepentant sin can lead to bondage. Jeroboam lived in bondage to his wealth. Thus, God had to remove it from him. Those who misuse God’s mercy and grace as a license to sin may also find themselves in a place of bondage. “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.” (Ro. 1:24). “So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, to walk in their own devices.” (Ps. 81:12). “and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.” (Eph. 4:19). To avoid descending into the bondage of sin, you must renew your mind each day and focus on the things of God (Ro. 12:2). You must also put to death your carnal desires: “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” (Col. 3:5). Are you misusing your freedoms by placing yourself back into bondage?
Only repentance through Jesus can restore God’s blessings. The Egyptian would have destroyed all of Jerusalem. Yet, the prophet Shemaiah led the Jews into repentance: “So the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, ‘The LORD is righteous.’” (2 Chr. 12:6). The Church must also lead the civil leaders and the nations into repentance through Jesus. This is the only path to salvation and God’s blessings.
Judah and Israel pay for their leaders’ sins with constant strife. Because neither Jeroboam nor Rehoboam would repent, God removed His hand of protection. Satan then caused the two leaders to engage in constant conflict: “29 Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 30 There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. 31 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David; and his mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonitess. And Abijam his son became king in his place.” (1 Kgs. 14:29-31). Both leaders lived under Satan’s influence. Satan used his influence to bring ongoing death and misery to all of God’s peoples. The two nations would fight ongoing battles over their borders (e.g., 2 Chron. 13:1-3; 1 Kgs. 15:6).
Judah and Israel engaged in constant conflict5
In one battle, 500,000 soldiers from Northern Israel died. In one battle between Israel and Judah, at least 500,000 Jews died: “In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah became king over Judah. He reigned three years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. Now there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah began the battle with an army of valiant warriors, 400,000 chosen men, while Jeroboam drew up in battle formation against him with 800,000 chosen men who were valiant warriors . . . Abijah and his people defeated them with a great slaughter, so that 500,000 chosen men of Israel fell slain” (2 Chron. 13:1-3, 17).
Jeroboam and Rehoboam brought strife to the Jews. Because Jeroboam and Rehoboam lived without God, they stirred up strife between God’s peoples: “An arrogant man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.” (Prov. 28:25.) A person who causes strife amongst God’s people is one of the things that God “hates”: “There are six things which the LORD hates, . . . A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” (Prov. 6:16, 19). Living without God will also cause you strife.