DISCERN & ACCEPT God’s WILL behind life-changing EVENTS
May 5 Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles Chapters 10-12
Now when Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled from the house of Judah and Benjamin one hundred and eighty thousand chosen men who were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, “Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “You shall not go up or fight against your brethren! Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me.”’” Therefore they obeyed the words of the Lord, and turned back from attacking Jeroboam. (2 Chron. 11:1-4)
Israel had reached the peak of its glory and grandeur under the rule of Solomon who had a relative time of peace from all wars. Solomon was the wisest king ever to rule Israel, and he had fulfilled his father David’s dream of building a beautiful temple in Jerusalem where the ark of God was housed permanently. However, during his later years, Solomon loved many foreign women who turned his heart away from Jehovah God, and he did evil by worshiping foreign gods being influenced by his wives (see 1 Kings 11:1-8).
So, God became angry with Solomon for transgressing the very first of the Ten Commandments that He had given to Israel through Moses (vv. 9-10). Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of my servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen." (1 Kings 11:11-13)
After the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne of Israel. Sure enough, he took advice from the wrong group of people (2 Chron. 10:1-15), and as a result, the majority of Israel rebelled against the house of David that day (v. 19). Rehoboam’s last-ditch efforts at reconciliation failed, and the kingdom was split into two parts with only the tribe of Judah professing loyalty to the house of David. In order to redeem his kingdom back, Rehoboam raised a huge army, and was preparing to attack the breakaway faction of Israel. It was at that time that the prophet Shemaiah intervened and informed him that he should not move ahead with the battle, for this event originated from God Himself (11:1–4). Only by this divine directive was a civil war averted! (see I Kings 12:21–24)
Rehoboam had not listened to wise counsel before, but he did this time. Not only did he listen, but he accepted God’s will that was spoken by the prophet as well. Rehoboam’s reaction must be seen in the light of God’s sovereign purposes as divine sovereignty extends over the sinful actions of human beings. Even though there was constant strife between the two kingdoms (12:15), but an all-out war was avoided. The expression “all Israel in Judah and Benjamin” (v. 3) refers to all in the southern kingdom who were loyal to David’s dynasty.
Rehoboam was thus able to both discern and accept God’s will behind such a tragic event in his life. In the similar manner, we should also be able to discern and accept God’s will in our lives as well. Since God has both created and redeemed us, God doubly owns us. We therefore have an obligation to fulfill His will as being both His workmanship (Eph. 2:10) and His children (1 John 3:1). God’s will for our lives is always "good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2); therefore it is in our own best interest to affirm His desires at all times, and accept His will even if it is painful for us (as in the case of Rehoboam).
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the best example for us to emulate, as He accepted His Father’s will in the time of His greatest trial and prayed the following: "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42). Let us both discern and accept God’s will today, as He leads us to our final destination.