Tag Archives: 2 Chronicles 11

It’s Not About Me

When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered Judah and Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam.
2 Chronicles 11:1 (NIV)

As a follower of Jesus, I am aware that God is at work in my life and in the lives of those around me. “You are not your own,” Paul wrote to the Jesus followers in Corinth, “Therefore honor God.” The practical application of this is that I think about the life decisions Wendy and I make. I not only concern myself with what we want, but also with what we sense God doing in our lives and the lives of others.

I found it fascinating this morning that King Rehoboam of Judah, having experienced the humility of having ten of the tribes of Israel rebel against him, immediately musters is fighting men for war. This is such a classic male reaction. This is the stuff of boys on a playground. “You wanna fight about it?” 

In describing Rehoboam’s reaction, the Chronicler is careful to also share with us Rehoboam’s motivation. Rehoboam wanted to regain the kingdom for whom? God? The legacy of his father and grandfather? Nope. Rehoboam wanted to regain the kingdom for himself.

What a contrast Rehoboam is to his grandfather David who, having been anointed King as a boy, refused to claim the throne for himself. David waited for God to arrange the circumstances and make it happen. David was all about honoring what God was doing and waiting for God to raise him up. Rehoboam was all about acting out of his momentary rage and humiliation to get what he himself wanted.

Do I want to be a Rehoboam, or do I want to be a David?

That’s the question I find myself asking in the quiet this morning. Of course, I choose the latter. I want what God wants for my life and the lives of my loved ones. It means that it’s not all about me and what I want, and that’s exactly what Jesus taught, to love others as I love myself and to treat others as I would want to be treated.

Chapter-a-Day 2 Chronicles 11

At the same time the word of God came to Shemaiah, a holy man, “Tell this to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, along with all the Israelites in Judah and Benjamin, This is God’s word: Don’t march out; don’t fight against your brothers the Israelites. Go back home, every last one of you; I’m in charge here.” And they did it; they did what God said and went home. 2 Chronicles 11:2-4 (MSG)

Anger. Pain. Loss. Those are the ingredients for rash decisions and tragic reactions.

When Jeroboam rebelled and took half the kingdom with him, Rehoboam’s first instinct was to march to war and take back what he felt was rightly his. The carnage would have been unbelievable. We saw it in our own country’s civil war.

I’ve seen this same reactive “take back what’s mine” anger in many different situations:

  • Siblings fighting over toys when they are young, inheritance when they are older
  • People stalking boyfriends/girlfriends who’ve ended the relationship
  • Parents grasping after rebellious children
  • Spouses punishing their mates when they feel their spouse has taken advantage of them

I’ve always been struck by the story of the prodigal son. The father in the story didn’t run after his son and demand that he come home. It didn’t mean the father didn’t care or didn’t desperately want his prodigal to return. The father simply knew that reacting in anger and making his son return by force would never work. So, he chose to respond to his son’s hurtful, selfish decisions by staying home, sitting on the porch, waiting, keeping an eye on the road and praying.

We can’t control what others do. We can only control how we respond.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and kacleaveland