Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for June 23, 2 Chon 10-13

Today's readings are 2 Chron 10-12. Tomorrow's are 1 Kings 15, 2 Chron 13-16. 

Rehoboam's choice of Shechem to declare his kingship is ironic. Shechem lies in the narrow valley between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. Those are the two mountains Joshua gathered Israel upon when they had occupied Canaan (Josh 8).  With half of Israel on one mountain and the other half on the other, they heard and affirmed the blessings they would receive if they obeyed the Lord and the curses the would endure if they disobeyed Him. 

Now, Rehoboam is clearly being corrupted. Still, he returns to the spot of the blessing and curses and beings acting in decidedly ungodly and self-centered ways. 

The northern tribes, now known as Israel, begin to separate from the southern, known as Judah. 2 Chron 1 gives us some additional detail. Basically, Rehoboam is neither a godly man nor a good leader. He seems to have all of the faults of his father and none of his virtues. 

Jeroboam unites Israel in their rebellion against Rehoboam. Rehoboam begins consolidating his power in Jerusalem as the rift between Israel and Judah widens. 

2 Chron 12 begins with a key verse. Rehoboam has abandoned any semblance of godly behavior. A prophet rises up and tells Rehoboam that because he has abandoned God, God will abandon him and turn him over the Pharoah Shishak.

Rehoboam humbles himself. He and Judah repent. God relents. Their riches are lost but God protects and provides from them. 

We see more ongoing lessons here. Self-centered decisions always lead to something less than God's best.  Frequently, they lead to disaster. When sin is revealed, the only remedy to severe consequences is repentance. Even at that, it must be sincere and heartfelt. In other words, there must be some grieving over sin, not just a desire to find a way out of the consequences. 

The tale of Rehoboam's slide away from God is not yet complete. Judah is doing well because they repented. However, Israel is now being led by Jereboam. The kingdom is divided. God's commandment was for them to be united, a reflection of their corporate relationship with God. The twelve tribes are not only supposed to be one, they are also God's messengers on earth. Instead they have been reduced to squabbling. 

Watch what happens as everyone seems to forget the curses warned about on Mount Gerizim in Dt 27-28.

Self-centeredness is a serious stumbling block. Pair it with a willingness to ignore the word of God and you have a recipe for disaster. God is faithful and true. But it is becoming increasingly clear that His intention is not only to bless His people, but the make them holy as well. 

This would be good for us to remember. Our own path to sanctification does not lead only to blessing, but to holiness and godly living. Our loving Father will do whatever is necessary to get us there. 

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