In reading this chapter there are three lessons that can be learned, if we take to heart the record of Rehoboam after he “had established the kingdom and had strengthened himself”.
After five years of reigning Judah, Shishak king of Egypt placed a siege around Jerusalem, as a direct result of having Judah “transgressed against the Lord”. Not only were Egyptians involved in the siege; but also Lybians, Sukkim (who lived in caves) and Ethiopians. All of the cities Rehoboam had fortified to secure Judah were taken during this siege.
As a result of the prophetic word by Shemaiah, explaining why they were “in the hand of Shishak”; Rehoboam and the leaders humbled themselves and repented. Even though they wouldn’t be entirely cut off; they would be left under the control of Shishak to “distinguish My service from the service of the kingdoms of the nations.” NOTE, they were in that status to learn the difference between serving the Lord or serving man. There is always FREEDOM when we choose to serve the Lord rather than serve man. When we reject being under the Lord’s authority, we always discover that we’re under man’s authority.
Be wise and choose to serve the Lord!
Another lesson we can glean is seen as a result of the gold shields Solomon had made were taken by the Egyptians. Rehoboam had shields made from bronze that “looked” similar to the gold ones. They were only used on special occasions by Rehoboam and the guards who had charge of them. They were protecting something of significantly less value than what they had responsibility for previously.
Have we given ourselves to things that are at best an illusion? When we opt to serve man rather than the Lord; we always must settle for something less than His best and for our good.
Finally, we learn what the real reason was for Rehoboam not being the godly leader he could have been; “He did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord.” The word prepare in the Hebrew has at least two connotations; 1) to follow and 2) to worship. Solomon’s son didn’t follow the Lord or worship Him; the result being “he did evil”.
There are times following the Lord and His word are challenging; yet if we purpose to follow at any cost, we’ll guard ourselves against doing evil. Secondly, if our lives are marked by worship, we keep our focus on Him rather than ourselves or surrounding circumstances.
Be a worshipping follower of Jesus!