Today’s passage is 2 Chronicles 12:1-16. Let’s go!
2 Chronicles 12:1-4 (NIV) 1 After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the LORD. 2 Because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam. 3 With twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand horsemen and the innumerable troops of Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites that came with him from Egypt, 4 he captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem.
On verses 1-4: As soon as things got comfortable for Rehoboam, that’s when Rehoboam’s focus shifts away from the Lord. Like a gazelle sitting comfortably by a brook only to be attacked by a lion, distracted and comfortable Rehoboam, along with all of Judah, falls prey to an attack by Shishak king of Egypt along with Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites. Shishak captures the very cities whose defenses Rehoboam had built up years before.
What can we learn from this? When you reach a season when things are a bit more comfortable, be careful not to let yourself slip into apathy, laziness or pride. Keep placing your hope not in your circumstances but in the Lord. Stay hungry for Him, stay desperate for Him. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
2 Chronicles 12:5-8 (NIV) 5 Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fear of Shishak, and he said to them, “This is what the LORD says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.'” 6 The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is just.” 7 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. 8 They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands.”
On verses 5-8: God speaks to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah through the prophet Shemaiah, telling Rehoboam that the reason why these attacks came were because they had abandoned the Lord. In response, Rehoboam and the leaders of his people humble themselves and surrender to God. God is moved by their humble response and decides to save Rehoboam and his people from destruction, although still disciplining them by making them subject to Shishak. As verse 12 will later say, “Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the LORD’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah.”
What can we learn from this? When things don’t go your way, don’t blame God. Instead have a humble attitude toward Him, toward His Word, and toward the lessons God wants to teach you through the situation. God watches to see how we will respond to Him: with humility or with pride.
2 Chronicles 12:9-12 (NIV) 9 When Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem, he carried off the treasures of the temple of the LORD and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including the gold shields Solomon had made. 10 So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned these to the commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the royal palace. 11 Whenever the king went to the LORD’s temple, the guards went with him, bearing the shields, and afterward they returned them to the guardroom. 12 Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the LORD’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah.
On verses 9-12: Having lost the original gold shields that once protected him and his army, Rehoboam makes bronze replacement shields and makes sure that guards are always carrying those shields whenever Rehoboam goes to the temple to worship the Lord.
What can we learn from this? Guard your time with God. Guard your time in church. And guard the condition of your heart. Part of humbling yourself before God is recognizing that you need to carefully guard what God has given to you against the enemy’s attacks. That’s why Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
2 Chronicles 12:13-16 (NIV) 13 King Rehoboam established himself firmly in Jerusalem and continued as king. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put his Name. His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite. 14 He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the LORD. 15 As for the events of Rehoboam’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer that deal with genealogies? There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 16 Rehoboam rested with his fathers and was buried in the City of David. And Abijah his son succeeded him as king.
On verses 13-16: Why is Rehoboam generally known as a weak king, despite some good things he did? It’s because Rehoboam’s trust in God was inconsistent. When things were comfortable, Rehoboam turned away from God. Only when Rehoboam felt he was in trouble would he turn to God. What can we learn from this? If you want to avoid a reputation like Rehoboam’s, remind yourself every day that you are desperate for God, even when things are relatively comfortable and easy. Don’t be a chameleon and let your outside circumstances dictate whether you will be hot for God or not. Remember that apart from God we can do nothing (John 15:5). So treat every day as a day to call on His name, no matter what your outside circumstances look like.
Heavenly Father, whether the circumstances around me are comfortable or challenging, may I always remember that I am constantly in need of You, and that apart You I can do nothing. May my hope always be in You and not in my circumstances. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!