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stone wall June 12 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 1Kings 14:1-18; 2Chronicles 11:5-12; 2Chronicles 11:18-23; 1Kings 14:22-28; 2Chronicles 12:1-12; Psalm 89

Our Defense

In what or whom do we trust for protection against outside threats to our stability and security? Do we trust walls or fences, guns, bodyguards, friends, money, connections, or insurance for protection? These can be vain things unless the Lord is on our side.

Jeroboam was the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Because of the idolatry of King Solomon and the overbearing pride of his son Rehoboam, the united kingdom of Israel was divided into the ten tribes of Israel and the two tribes of Judah. Israel had ten tribes to the north of Jerusalem with the tribe of Ephraim being the prominent tribe. For this reason these ten tribes are commonly referred to as Israel or Ephraim. To the south of Ephraim was Judah. She had one large tribe - Judah and one small tribe within her borders - Benjamin. For this reason she is commonly referred to as Judah. Did the northern king, Jeroboam, live a life of trust and gratitude to God for making him leader over Israel? No. Fearing that his people might revert to their previous loyalties when they worshipped with their southern brothers in Jerusalem, Jeroboam took measures into his own hands. Jeroboam sought to secure his position as king by creating images of gold and festivals to compete with the festivals held for the one true God, whose temple was in Jerusalem.

Jeroboam became self-confident and self-assured until calamity struck in his own family. His son was very sick. Then Jeroboam did not know where to turn, so he sought favor from the LORD incognito. After leading the Israelites astray into idol worship, he certainly did not want others to see him or his wife seeking the help of the God of Judah! Such actions might be perceived as treachery. When we are not living right before the LORD but need his help, some of us would almost wish we could go to church in disguise. We don’t want others to know we want help from God. We might as well be honest with God, however; he cannot be fooled, for he sees behind any masque or pretense.

Ahijah, the prophet of God, was told Jeroboam’s wife would be coming in disguise. He had a message from God for Jeroboam:

“You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have provoked me to anger and thrust me behind your back. Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel-- slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone. Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country. The LORD has spoken!”
“As for you, go back home. When you set foot in your city, the boy will die” (1Kings 14:9-12, NIV).

Had Jeroboam genuinely repented, God may have been favorably disposed to help his son, but Jeroboam was too proud. He would not admit his sins and openly seek the true God, even to save his own son. If you are proud - humble yourself. The LORD may be merciful to you.

Meanwhile, Rehoboam was king over the southern kingdom of Judah. Having lost the united kingdom, he fortified his own defenses. He tried to show he was significant by marrying many women, but that really showed his weakness. It appears that Rehoboam was very insecure. Less than five years into his reign he stopped depending on the LORD for his defense and started worshipping the idols of the nations around him. God sent Shishak from Egypt to conquer the cities of Judah. Judah’s last stronghold was Jerusalem. Shishak took the treasuries of the temple, the treasuries of the royal palace, and even Solomon’s gold shields. Rehoboam replaced them with bronze shields, and, because of the perceived danger, he required body guards to use them for his protection. Now, instead of living in peace he lived in fear. Do you live in fear? Live for the LORD and let him be your sure defense.

Contrasted with Jeroboam, however, was Rehoboam’s response to a prophet’s rebuke.

The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is just.” When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands” (2 Chronicles 12:6-8, NIV).

Lessons to live by:

  • Be honest with God; he cannot be fooled, for he sees behind any masque or pretense.
  • If you are proud, humble yourself, for the LORD may be merciful He offers forgiveness, peace and spiritual life (more...).
  • Do you live in fear? Live for the LORD and let him be your sure defense.
  • How do we respond to rebukes from God; with pride or with humility? If we are proud, we must turn from our idols and our own security and place our trust in the LORD who gives us positions of leadership. If he gives us positions of leadership, he is also able to keep them for us. Let’s trust God and let him be our defense.

Today’s Bible memory verse:

Psalm 28:8 “The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.” (NIV)

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