Today: [2 Chronicles Twelve] Humility Wins the Battle. In this chapter Rehoboam the successor of Solomon leads the nation in idolatry and sin. As a result the southern kingdom is over run by Egypt from the south and the temple is plundered of it’s wealth. In the midst of the upheaval Rehoboam and his princes humble themselves and God graciously defends them and gives them respite from destruction. When we struggle and suffer the consequences of the choices we make God will also deal mercifully with us when we like Rehoboam humble ourselves before Him.
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[2Ch 12:1-16 KJV] 1 And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him. 2 And it came to pass, [that] in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD, 3 With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people [were] without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians. 4 And he took the fenced cities which [pertained] to Judah, and came to Jerusalem. 5 Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and [to] the princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak.
Solomon’s successor Rehoboam rules during the time in which the kingdom of Israel was divided. Jeroboam, a former slave rules over the 10 northern tribes and there are wars continually between them. Shemiah the prophet warns Rehoboam against overthrowing Jeroboam because God has ordained the divided kingdom because of the idolatries of Solomon. Rehoboam relents somewhat but still focus his administration on military build up and vainly seeking to live up to the lifestyle of his father by multiplying wives and treasure to himself. In due time his heart grows cold toward the things of God and the king of Egypt invades from the south.
Again the prophet Shemiah comes to Rehoboam and declares that Egypt has invaded because Rehoboam and all of Israel had forsaken God. This is the prophetic perspective on current events taking place in the southern kingdom. From the natural point of view the problem could have been construed as arising from having a porous border, or failed diplomacy between Judah and Egypt. Whatever it may have looked like from the lateral view the prophet clarifies the problem as not a geopolitical one but a spiritual one.
In the modern world we look at the upheaval between nations and the problems of global terrorism in much the same way. We can attribute these ills to many sources but ultimately the problem is a God problem. In the last 20 years secularism has deeply pervaded western culture and particularly the United States. The courts time and again have ruled against Christian interests and made great inroads against the church and in removing all references to God from the public square. Keeping pace with these developments has been increasing unrest, terrorism and seeming inability on the part of our leaders to effectively hold back the tide of war. David declares in Psalm 9:
[Psa 9:17 KJV] 17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, [and] all the nations that forget God.
As the religious sentiments in Judah toward the true and living God declined so also did their fortunes. Now they have been invaded from the south and called into accountability for the true reasons this has happened. Shemiah is not just a prophet but a nation confronting prophet. In our day due to the seperation of church and state the prophets have no access to the halls of power. However God has a ways and means committee to confront the nations in our day and we should pray and seek the Father that this take place. When the prophets speak and the nation responds then blessing comes.
6 Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD [is] righteous. 7 And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; [therefore] I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. 8 Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries. 9 So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made. 10 Instead of which king Rehoboam made shields of brass, and committed [them] to the hands of the chief of the guard, that kept the entrance of the king’s house.
Shemiah prophesies against Rehoboam and his princes and they repent. Even though their sins are aggreigious and their repentance not of a lasting character nonetheless God will have mercy upon them. In the histories of the kings some of the most nefarious leaders were pardoned and shown mercy when they humbled themselves before God. Humility is a powerful spiritual resource that will move the hand of God like none other. When you have failed and fallen short it is not in your interest to defend yourself or make excuses. Simply humble yourself before the Lord and you will receive clemency. Peter declares:
[1Pe 5:6 KJV] 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Because Rehoboam humbles himself God does not allow Egypt to completely overthrow the nation. However Shishak does plunder the temple and take away the treasuries thereof. This amounted to the equivelent of billions of dollars of gold and precious metals. It is interesting that God would allow this given the fact that king Rehoboam was not devout anyway so why would he have cared to see the temple emptied of it’s precious things? Nonetheless the king of Egypt is satisfied and instead of destroying Judah he forces them to become a puppet state under his rule.
11 And when the king entered into the house of the LORD, the guard came and fetched them, and brought them again into the guard chamber. 12 And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy [him] altogether: and also in Judah things went well. 13 So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem, and reigned: for Rehoboam [was] one and forty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name [was] Naamah an Ammonitess. 14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD. 15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, [are] they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And [there were] wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. 16 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David: and Abijah his son reigned in his stead.
After the plunder of the temple Rehoboam replaces the pilfered golden treasures with those made of brass. Gold is a type of the divine nature of God. Brass speaks of judgment. Seeing ourselves as the temple of God this speaks to us of the aftermath of chastisement. When we are chastened by circumstances and relent sometimes we adopt a judgmental attitude toward others in the same situation. Rehoboam made shields out of brass instead of gold. God intends for us to be protected and find our security in who He is in our lives. Very often however we instead seek to defend ourselves with judgmental attitudes against others for committing the same offenses we ourselves have received mercy from God for.
Rehoboam’s rule was very short. He dies at a young age just as did his father Solomon. The record of Rehoboam’s rule and other histories of Israel at this time was recorded by Shemia and by the prophet Iddo. These books are not in the bible and in fact they no longer exist but no doubt they were source material for the historical books including the book of Chronicles in which Ezra records these things. Rehoboam dies and is buried in the sepulchres of his fathers and his son Abijah will rule in his place. Abijah thankfully makes godly decisions as king in departing from his father’s ways which we shall see in subsequent chapters.
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