Lesson 4

The Rending of God's Nation

(1 Kings 11, 12, 14)
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Introduction: God is displeased with King Solomon. Where will the kingdom go after Solomon dies? What kind of a king will follow Solomon? What lessons can we learn about the leading of God and the making of wise choices in our life? Let's jump into the lesson and find out!

  1. Jeroboam

    1. Read 1 Kings 11:26. What do we learn about the background of Jeroboam? (Sounds like he was raised by his mother. He was a "public employee" and he is from the tribe of Ephraim.)

      1. Jeroboam's mother was named Zereda. Depending on which Hebrew dictionary you use, her name means either "full breasted" or "leprous." Needless to say, this makes quite a difference in considering Jeroboam's childhood life. If he lived with a leper, what kind of life would he have? (Being raised by a single mother who was a leper would be hard.)

      2. The JFB Commentary tells us that Jewish tradition says Shimei (the one David told Solomon to kill) was Jeroboam's father. That would also give us a picture of a difficult childhood for Jeroboam. Frankly, I doubt the accuracy of the Jewish tradition because the information about Jeroboam's lineage does not line up with that of Shimei.

    2. Read 1 Kings 11:27-28. What kind of a worker was Jeroboam? (He seems to have had a position of some importance in Solomon's employ. However, when Solomon saw what a good worker he was, he made him a manager. Jeroboam is obviously ambitious.)

      1. Is Jeroboam in charge of the people working on the house of a guy name Joseph? (No. Remember that Jeroboam was an "Ephraimite." You will recall that Ephram was one of two sons of Joseph. ( Genesis 41:51-52) What this text means is that he was in charge of the work of the entire tribe. He is a very important man.)

    1. Read 1 Kings 11:29-31. What is the message of the prophet?

      1. Why not just tell Jeroboam? Why waste a new coat?

      2. Do you think Jeroboam kept the ten pieces the prophet gave him?

      3. Remember we started out in v.27 with "this is the account of how [Jeroboam] rebelled against the king." Is this rebellion? Can you be a rebel and led by God?

    2. Read 1 Kings 11:37-38. On what does Jeroboam's future and the future of his descendants depend?

    3. Read 1 Kings 11:40. Why do you think Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam? (He apparently heard the prophecy about Jeroboam.)

      1. What does this show us about the current character of Solomon? (If God has decreed that Jeroboam will be the successor for the ten tribes, this shows that Solomon is resisting God. He has sunk to a very low point.)

  1. Rehoboam

    1. Read 1 Kings 11:42-43. Who succeeds Solomon as king? (His son, Rehoboam.)

    2. Read 1 Kings 12:1-3. Who is the "they" who sent for Jeroboam to come back? (Seems to be the assembly of Israel.)

    3. How do you explain that (v.1) "all the Israelites" went to Shechem to make Rehoboam king, while at the same time they sent for Jeroboam to come back? (It seems the people were uncertain what to do. There must have been some debate.)

    4. Read 1 Kings 12:4-5. Is it obvious to you the Israelites were all Republicans? (They were complaining about taxes being too high!)

      1. Why didn't the Israelites say to Rehoboam, "We are tired of all of these false Gods. Destroy them and we will serve you?" (This shows the people were more interested in economic than spiritual matters.)

        1. Is this a warning to us in our political choices?

      2. Since when do "the people" get to tell a King that if he shapes up they will serve him? (Our next texts give us a fuller picture, but I think this text shows us the standing of Jeroboam with the people. These people figured they actually had an alternative - and that alternative was Jeroboam.)

        1. Read 1 Samuel 11:15, 2 Samuel 5:3 and 1 Chronicles 29:22. What traditional authority did the people of Israel possess? (The people were used to "confirming" the king. They thought they had the right to ask the potential king a few questions and to make a decision.)

      3. What do you think about Rehoboam's answer in 1 Kings 12:5? (I think Rehoboam could consider the response of the people rather insulting. He showed intelligence and restraint when he said, "Let me think about it.")

    5. Read 1 Kings 12:6-7. People came to Solomon for wisdom. Why is Rehoboam going to others for wisdom? (Read Proverbs 11:1 4 and 15:22. These are two of several texts in Proverbs that tell us that we should seek advice from others. "Lone Ranger" decisions are dangerous. Rehoboam is doing exactly the right thing.)

      1. Seeking advice is a good thing, but seeking advice from the right people is more important. Would you seek advice from your father's counselors if you were Rehoboam? (Aren't they the people that got Rehoboam into the mess he was in? Were they not the people in power during the "tax and spend" days of Solomon?)

      2. What do you think about the advisors' advice? (Rehoboam might have been concerned about the source of the advice, but I think it was golden. If you are kind and helpful to someone, they will remember it. On the other hand, if you assert your "authority" over someone, they will remember that too. Sometimes it is hard to avoid a clash of "authority," but it is helpful to try.)

        1. Are the advisors saying that Rehoboam should give up his authority to the people? Isn't that a bad idea for a king? (They are really saying that if he gives up his authority this day on this issue, the people will give up their authority to him for the rest of the time and the rest of the issues.)

        2. Can you apply this advice to your decisions at work?

    6. Read 1 Kings 12:8-9. Was Rehoboam really seeking the advice of the younger men?(He was not really seeking their advice. Verse 8 tells us he rejected the advice of the old-timers before he consulted the younger men. Since there were only two solutions to this problem, this shows his mind was made up. Rehoboam was only asking the young men to agree with him. He was not actually looking for advice any longer.)

    7. Read 1 Kings 12:10-11. What kind of young men were these? How would you guess they grew up? Were their parents worried about taxes? (These are no doubt the sons of "royalty," sons of the rich. These guys give the arrogant "we don't have to listen to you" response that you would normally associate with a king.)

    8. Read 1 Kings 12:13-14. Here is some "kingly" talk! Tough, no-nonsense, take charge kind of stuff. Do you agree this is a good idea for a king?

      1. What would you say if you were one of the people complaining about your taxes? (Read 1 Kings 12:16. The people said, "We are not going to make you king. We are going home.")

    9. Did Rehoboam accept this rebellion? (Read 1 Kings 12:18. Later we read, in 1 Kings 12:21-24, that Rehoboam assembled an army to take back the ten tribes, but God intervened and stopped it.)

  2. King Jeroboam

    1. Read 1 Kings 12:20. Jeroboam becomes king over the ten tribes and God's prophecy to Solomon and Jeroboam is fulfilled. What kind of attitude should Jeroboam have had towards God?

    2. Read 1 Kings 12:26-28. Is Jeroboam's worry well-founded? Will the people return to Rehoboam because Jerusalem is within his kingdom? (No. God told Jeroboam he would become king of the ten tribes and he did.)

      1. What do you think about Jeroboam's solution to his worries?

      2. What (v.28) advisors did he consult?

      3. Re-read what God said to Jeroboam were the reasons for taking the kingdom away from Solomon's descendants in 1 Kings 11:33. Re-read what God told Jeroboam in 1 Kings 11:38. If God has already told us what to do, why consult advisors?

    3. Read 1 Kings 12:28. How great an insult is this to God? How do you explain Jeroboam's decision? (This is a huge insult. God's primary claim to His people was that He had lead them out of Egypt. This is a cross between someone taking credit for your work and your spouse running off with someone who is dog-ugly. Jeroboam not only takes credit away from God, he gives credit to fake cows!)

    4. Read 1 Kings 14:1-3. Why is it when we really face distress we turn back to God?

    5. Read 1 Kings 14:6-10, 12-14. Does it make any sense to you that Jeroboam followed after other gods?

      1. Again, what was Jeroboam's reason for instituting the worship of other gods? (He did not want to lose his kingdom.)

      2. What is the result of instituting the worship of other gods? (Exactly what Jeroboam feared would happen, came to pass because he did not follow God.)

      3. Look at the situation of the little boy who died. Was it a blessing for him to die? (This is a very interesting passage. God let him die as a favor to him!)

        1. Why was it a favor? (Apparently the rest of Jeroboam's family was going to die in battle and be left on the ground.)

    6. Does anyone believe, after reading this, that our God will not execute judgment on the wicked? (Our God is a God of love, but He is also a God of judgment.)

    7. Friend, who do you rely on in times of trouble? God, or "idols?" I invite you today to place your trust only in God.

  3. Next Week: The Rise of the House of Asa

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Lessons on Rebellion and Reformation: A History of the Divided Monarchy

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