The Dangers of a Divided Heart & Fighting Against the Word of the Lord

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of First Kings, which not only describes the days of Solomon king of Israel, but it also describes the days of the nation and kingdom of Israel which would be divided into the northern and southern kingdom during the days of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twelve through fourteen of this Old Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the reign of Solomon having come to an end after reining in Jerusalem on the throne of his father David for forty years. In order to understand the narrative of Rehoboam, which was Solomon’s son and the one who would succeed him upon the throne, it is absolutely imperative to consider how the life of Solomon ended. If you read the eleventh chapter of the book of First Kings you will quickly discover that this man whom the LORD appeared to on two separate occasions—once in Gibeon where the Tabernacle of the congregation of Moses was set up, and once in Jerusalem where the new Temple was set up—and this man whom the LORD instructed as he set out to build the Temple would spend the latter years of his life with a heart that was divided. As you study the life of Solomon king of Israel you will find that this was a man who not only experienced two distinct visitations from the LORD—the first vision in the place of what was, and the second vision in the place of what is—but he also experienced the glory of the LORD completely filling the Temple which had been built in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. What’s more, is that not only did Solomon experience the glory of the LORD as it filled the Temple, but he—together with all Israel—also experienced the fire of the living God coming down from heaven and consuming the sacrifice and burnt offering that was upon the altar. It is absolutely astonishing and remarkable to consider the fact that this man experienced a manifestation of the living in the place of what once was, and in the place of what now is, as well as experiencing both the fire and the glory of the living God. How absolutely remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that this son of David who sat upon the throne of his father in the city of the Great King would be responsible for building the first Jewish Temple which would be the resting place for the Ark of the Covenant. I am absolutely captivated with and by the fact that this son of David was responsible for building the Temple where the priests and the Levites would minister before the LORD, and where the people of God would bring their offerings, their gifts and sacrifices before the LORD. Before you consider the events which are written and recorded in the eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings, it is first necessary to consider the narrative of the LORD’s interaction with Solomon—not only how the LORD appeared to him on two separate occasions, but also as the LORD demonstrated and manifested Himself in the sight of all the people through the fire and glory. Consider if you will the following narratives which describe the LORD’s interaction with Solomon, as well as with the children of Israel:

“And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the LORD, until those days. And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar. In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father a great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or com in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understand heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because tho hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked for the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statues and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants” (1 Kings 3:1-15).

“And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly. Then Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundred, and to the judges, and to every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers. So Solomon, and all the congregation with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation of God, which Moses the servant of the LORD had made in the wilderness. But the ark of God had David brought up from Kirjath-jearim to the place which David had prepared for it: for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem. Moreover the brazen altar, that Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, he put before the tabernacle of the LORD: and Solomon and the congregation sought unto it. And Solomon went up thither to the brazen altar before the LORD, which was at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it. In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead. Now, O LORD God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: For thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great? And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge, over whom I have made thee king: wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like” (2 Chronicles 1:1-12).

With these particular passages we encounter and come face to face with the absolutely incredible reality that early on during the reign of Solomon who was the son of David and the king of Israel the living God appeared to him by dream during the night. It would be this first encounter with the living in the place of what once was the LORD would invite him to invite him to ask of the LORD whatever he would. In response to the invitation of the LORD, Solomon would ask for a wise and understanding heart in order to discern between good and evil, and to effectively govern the people of God. Essentially, that which Solomon recognized was that it was truly the LORD who was able to lead and govern His people, and that although he was sitting upon the throne of his father David, he would need the wisdom, the understanding and knowledge of the LORD his God in order to faithfully govern the people of the living God. In response to Solomon asking for a wise and understanding heart rather than asking for riches, or length of days, or even the heads of his enemies, the LORD not only gave Solomon that which he asked for, but the LORD also gave Solomon that which he hadn’t asked for—namely, riches, wealth, as well as peace and rest from his enemies round about him. It would be after this visitation of the LORD Solomon would not only respond by offering countless burnt offerings and sacrifices, but also engaging in the assignment and task of building the house of the LORD. It’s important that we recognize and understand that Solomon would indeed sit upon the throne of his father David, and it would be his position upon the throne of his father David he would be able to oversee the building of the Temple of the living God which would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. After the living God appeared to him by a dream during the night we find him returning to Jerusalem, and it would be there in Jerusalem he would undertake the tremendous responsibility of building the house of the living God. What I find it be so absolutely astonishing is when you consider the fact that the Temple which Solomon would build would not be built in the place where the Tabernacle had been set up, but it would be built within the city of Jerusalem—in the city of the Great King, and in the city where the throne of David his father was found. In both the book of First Kings, as well as the book of Second Chronicles you will find the account of Solomon building the Temple—and not only the narrative of Solomon building the Temple, but also the subsequent dedication of the Temple before and in the sight of all the people. It’s important for us to recognize the reality that Solomon himself built the Temple of the living God, for in both the book of First Kings, as well as the book of Second Chronicles we find the narrative of the living God appearing unto him by night after the Temple itself was completed. Consider if you will the narrative as it is written and recorded within the book of First Kings, as well as the book of Second Chronicles:

“And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he was pleased to do, that the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon. And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and judgments: then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. But if ye shall at all turn from following. Me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people: and at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss: and they shall say, Why has the LORD done thus unto this land, to this house? And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil” (1 Kings 9:1-9).

“Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king’s house: and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected. And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. IF I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humbled themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attention unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statues and my judgments; then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenant Ed with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverbs and a byword among all nations. And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hast the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house? And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them” (2 Chronicles 7:11-22).

In each of these passages we encounter the same undeniable and indisputable reality concerning Solomon king of Israel—namely, that the LORD God of his father David, and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob appeared unto him a second time after appearing unto him at first in Gibeon. It would be this second time the LORD would appear unto Solomon that He would not only declare and speak of His consecrating and sanctifying the house which was built in the midst of the city, but He had also placed His name there in the house. What’s more, is you will find and discover the tremendous reality that the words which the LORD spoke unto Solomon not only concerning the house, but also whether or not both he and those who would come after him followed the LORD with all their hearts. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the words which the LORD God spoke unto Solomon, for the words which the LORD spoke unto him would actually come into play later on during his life. When you consider the narrative of the life of Solomon the son of David and king of Israel, you will undoubtedly notice that he was given a very stern and strong warning concerning his walking in faithfulness before and unto the LORD. It is clear from the earlier years of the reign of Solomon that he loved the LORD and wholeheartedly walked with and followed him. It would be this reality that would further serve as the foundation for the words which the living God had spoken unto Solomon. As Solomon prepared to build the house which his father David had sought to build we find the living God speaking unto him and giving him a strong and powerful word of caution concerning his life and the condition of his heart: “And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: and I will dwell among the children of iSrael, and will not forsake my people Israel” (1 Kings 6:11-13). These words—together with the words the LORD spoke unto Solomon in the city of Jerusalem after the completion and deviation of the Temple stand as a strong and powerful word of caution given unto Solomon concerning the condition of his heart, and whether or not he would truly follow the LORD and walk in his statutes. The LORD clearly spoke and declared unto Solomon that if he walked in his ways and his statutes as his father David did, then the LORD would perform the word which he had spoken unto David. Moreover, the LORD also promised that He would dwell among the children of Israel, and would not forsake them. If, however, Solomon would forsake the LORD in turning away his heart after strange and foreign gods to worship and serve them, the LORD would forsake him and would turn his back upon him. What’s so incredibly interesting to think about and consider is that what would begin with Solomon in turning his back on the LORD by worshipping and serving strange gods would ultimately take and lay hold of the people. Before getting into the words which are found in the eleventh chapter concerning Solomon’s heart turning from the LORD, it’s necessary to consider another reality concerning Solomon—namely, how he witnessed and experienced the glory, the presence and fire of the LORD being manifested in the midst of Jerusalem upon completion of the Temple. Consider if you will the words which are written in both of these Old Testament books concerning Solomon’s encounter with the glory, the presence and fire of the living God:

“And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD” (1 Kings 8:10-11).

“It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God” (2 Chronicles 5:13-14).

“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).

With all of these passages we not only encounter the reality that the living God appeared to Solomon in Gibeon—in the place of what once was—but we also encounter the reality that the living God appeared to Solomon in the city of Jerusalem in the place of what now was. It’s absolutely astonishing to think about and consider the fact that the living God would appear to Solomon in the place which represented the way the people of God worshipped the LORD in the past, and the living God would appear before and unto Solomon in the place which represented how the people would worship Him from that day forward. The living God would not only appear before and unto Solomon in the place that once was, but the living God would appear unto Solomon in the place that now was—the place which the living God had consecrated and sanctified with His glory, with His presence, and with His holy and consuming fire which would come down from heaven. It’s quite remarkable to think about the fact that within the narrative of the life of Solomon—not only did the LORD appear unto Solomon on two separate occasions—once in Gibeon in the place that once was, and in Jerusalem in the place that now was—but the LORD also spoke unto him and instructed him to walk before Him in righteousness, in faithfulness and in obedience in His sight. Not only this, but Solomon would also hear the voice of the LORD speaking to him as he set out to build the Temple and instructing him to walk in the commandments, statutes and ways of the living God. When the LORD spoke unto Solomon He not only invited him to ask of Him what he would, but He also invited him to walk in His statutes, in His commandments, in His ways, and in His decrees as David his father had done. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing reality, for to do so would be to miss out on why his transgression and iniquity before the LORD was so gross and so grievous. What made Solomon’s iniquity, idolatry and spiritual adultery so gross in the sight of the LORD was considering His experiences with the glory, the presence and fire of the LORD, as well as His experiences with the LORD appearing to him on two separate occasions. As you read the narrative which is found in the books of First Kings and Second Chronicles you will find that in the latter years of the life of Solomon he allowed his heart to be turned away from worshipping, serving and following the LORD, and now worshipping and serving idols and false gods. What’s more, is that we also find Solomon building and setting up high places in the midst of the same city where he had built the Temple. If and as we study the history of the kingdom of Israel, as well as the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel we must recognize and understand that idolatry in the midst of the land during the days and times of the kings of Israel and Judah did not begin with Jeroboam son of Nebat, nor did they begin with other kings, but they began with Solomon son of David—the one who had built the Temple of the living God. Consider if you will the narrative that describes his gross and grievous iniquity and idolatry before the living God:

“But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods” (1 Kings 11:1-8).

It’s interesting to note and consider the words which are found in this particular portion of Scripture for this same Solomon son of David and king of Israel who had experienced two distinct visitations from the LORD, and this same Solomon who was instructed and invited by the LORD to walk faithfully in His statutes and commands would now be older and advanced in years. It would be during the latter years of his life that his wives would turn his heart away from following and serving the God of his father David—even the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What you read and what you find in the eleventh chapter of the book of First Kings makes the struggles and temptations which Samson the judge of Israel look like a drop in the bucket. The eleventh chapter of the book of First Kings begins and opens with the declaration that Solomon loved many strange women in addition to the daughter of Pharaoh. Moreover, Scripture describes how this son of David loved women of those nations which the living God instructed the children of Israel not to—namely, women of the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Edomites, the Zidonians, and the Hittites. The LORD was very clear when speaking through His servant Moses that the children of Israel should not give themselves in marriage unto the sons and daughters of the nations round about them, nor take unto themselves the sons and daughters of the nations around them unto themselves, for by doing so they would open themselves up to being led astray by them. This was the greatest sign in the plains of Moab as Balak enticed Balaam to curse the people of God. When Balaam realized that he could not curse that which the living God had blessed, he would advise Balak that while he could not curse the living God, it was possible to get the people of God to make the LORD their God angry—namely, by taking unto themselves strange and foreign wives, and by sacrificing meat unto idols. When we come to the narrative of Solomon we not only find him cleaving to foreign and strange women in love, but we also find that his wives turned his heart away from following the LORD his God. Scripture is very clear that when Solomon was old and advanced in hears that his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and that his heart was not perfect with the LROD his God, as was the heart of David his father. Scripture goes on to describe how Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goodies of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. What makes this narrative so incredibly gross and severe is that Solomon was the first king to have it recorded of them that they did evil in the sight of the LORD. Solomon—the son of David, the king who sat on the throne of David, and the one who built the Temple of the living God—would do what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and would not go fully after the LORD, as David his father did. Solomon would allow his lusts and his passions to be seduced, and it would be those lusts and passions—when seduced and given into—would ultimately result in his heart being turned away from the LORD his God. If there is one thing the life of Solomon reveals unto us it’s the danger of a divided heart—a heart that is not fully and wholly committed to walking with and following the living God.

As you continue to read the words which are written within the eleventh chapter of the book of First Kings you will find that not only did Solomon go after Ashtoreth and Milcom, but he also built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, and did so in the hill that is before Jerusalem. Moreover, Solomon would also build a high place for Molech the abomination of the children of Ammon. The narrative of Solomon during the latter years of his life reveal just how dangerous a divisive heart is—one that is not fully and completely committed to the living God. Moreover, the latter years of Solomon reveals just how critically the lusts, the desires, the passions, and those things we allow ourselves to cling to within our hearts can truly impact our hearts and our lives. Solomon was a man who was once referred to as one who loved the LORD and who walked in the commandments and statutes of his father David, however, in the latter years he was referred to as one who did evil in the sight of the LORD, and who went not fully after the LORD. Moreover, Solomon would be referred to as one who in his latter years would allow his heart to be turned away from following and walking with the LORD. Even more than this, Solomon’s heart would initially be overtaken and consumed with lust, with desire and passion, and it would be that reality within his heart that would eventually and ultimately lead to his turning away from following and serving the LORD his God, and from walking with Him faithfully as did his father David. What’s more, is that Solomon would be on who would at one point build the Temple of the living God, however, in the latter years of his life we find the same one who built the house of the LORD building high places unto strange and foreign gods—gods which the living and eternal God warned His people not to worship, follow or serve. What makes this even more intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that the LORD would grow and become angry with Solomon because of his idolatry and iniquity before Him in His sight. It would be because of the anger of the LORD toward Solomon that he would not only speak to him again, but would also raise up adversaries and enemies that would provoke and agitate the people of Israel. The nation and kingdom of Israel that had experienced peace, rest, safety and security would now experienced adversaries which would be raised up against them. Moreover, the LORD would also rend and tear the kingdom away from Solomon and would give a portion of it unto another—namely, Jeroboam son of Nebat. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the remainder of the eleventh chapter concerning Solomon king of Israel, and how the LORD responded to the evil which he had done in his sight:

“And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded Him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen. And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom. For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom; (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom) that Hada fled, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child. And they arose out of Midianites, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land. And Hadad found great fav our in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh. And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country. Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise. And God stirred up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled form his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: and he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus. And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he arbor horned Israel, and reigned over Syria” (2 Kings 11:25).

In order for us to understand the narrative of Rehoboam the son of Solomon, it’s necessary to understand the events that predicated and set in motion the events that would take place during the days of his reign. What is truly interesting and unique to think about and consider is the fact that it would be Solomon’s actions during the days of his reign that would directly impact the days of the reign of his son when he sat upon the throne of David. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if Solomon spoke to Rehoboam before he would become king over the nation of Israel and would sit upon the throne and prepare him for what would take place. Did Solomon—when he came to the end of his life—pull Rehoboam aside and speak to him concerning the events that would take place during his reign, and what the LORD had spoken unto him? I can’t help but wonder whether or not Solomon would prepare Rehoboam for the events that would take place during the days of his reign—namely, that the kingdom would be rent from his hand and ten tribes would be given unto another. It’s actually quite intriguing to think about and consider this reality, for it presents us with the events that would take place during his reign. We know and understand the narrative of Solomon and his son, and how the LORD was going to rend the kingdom from Solomon and would give it to one of his servants. We even know that the LORD would not do it during the days of Solomon for the sake of his father, but would do it during the days of his son. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this reality and concept, for essentially Rehoboam would pay for and would experience the LORD’s judgment and wrath upon his father for his actions. It’s quite interesting to think about and consider this reality, for there would be another king who would experience a similar message to that which Solomon experienced—namely, Josiah king of the southern kingdom of Judah. It would Josiah who would be the final righteous king that would sit upon the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem, and it would be Josiah who would hear and receive of the LORD that the wrath which would take place within and upon the land would not take place during his days, but would take place during the days of his son. Consider if you will the words which were written and recorded in the twenty-second chapter of the book of Second Kings beginning to read with and from the fifteenth verse of the chapter:

“And she said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. But to the king of Judah which sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. Behold, therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the veil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again” (2 Kings 22:15-20).

The more I read and the more I study the narrative that is found in the life of Solomon and his son Rehoboam, the more I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that Solomon was the first king in either the northern kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah who would do evil in the sight of the LORD. We know and understand this narrative to be done within the days of the judges, for this Old Testament book reveals the tremendous reality that during the days of the judges the children of Israel would do that which was evil in the sight of the LORD. Each time the children of Israel would do what was evil in the sight of the LORD the LORD would deliver them into the hands of their enemies and adversaries. Time and time again the children of Israel would do that which was evil in the sight of the LORD during the days of the Judges, and time and time again the living God would deliver them into the hands of their enemies and adversaries. It’s important for us to realize and recognize this, for during the days of Saul and David we would not find the living God delivering the people of Israel into the hands of their enemies and adversaries, however, during the days of Solomon we find that towards the end of his life the LORD would raise up adversaries against him who would provoke him all the days of his life. What’s more, is that as you continue reading the eleventh chapter of the book of First Kings you will actually read and discover that one who would indeed become king over what would be the northern kingdom of Israel. If you begin reading with and from the twenty-sixth verse of the eleventh chapter of this Old Testament book you will find the following words which were written concerning this man Jeroboam son of Nebat who would become the king of the northern kingdom of Israel:

“And Jeroboam the son of NEbat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant, whose mothers’ name was Zeruiah a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Mello, and repaired the breathes of the city of David his father. And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; they were two alone in the field: and Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: and he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give thee tribes to thee: (but he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel) because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and MIlcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father. Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: but I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that they soul desire the, and shalt be king over Israel. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever. Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon” (2 Kings 11:26-40).

The words we find within this passage of Scripture highlight and reveal the tremendous narrative that not only surrounds Solomon’s son Rehoboam, but also Jeroboam son of Nebat whom the LORD would give ten of the tribes of Israel to be king and ruler over. It’s quite remarkable and astonishing to think about the fact that during the days of Solomon—not only did the LORD declare unto Solomon that he would rend the kingdom out of his hand and give unto his servant ten of the twelve tribes of Israel, but the LORD would actually send one of His servants the prophets unto Jeroboam while Solomon still sat on the throne. It would be the prophet Ahijah who would find Jeroboam and would reveal and declare unto him that he would become ruler over the kingdom of Israel, and would essentially be king in the midst of the land. We dare not miss and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing reality, for this reality brings us face to face with the fact that through Solomon’s rebellion and iniquity before the LORD his God, the LORD would tear the kingdom out of his hand and would give it unto one of his servants. That servant would indeed and would in fact be Jeroboam who Solomon himself would give a charge in the midst of the land and in the midst of the kingdom. It would be unto Jeroboam whom the living God would give ten of the twelve tribes of Israel to ruler over as king, and it would be this fact that would threaten and intimidate Solomon during the days of his reign—so much so that Scripture reveals that Solomon sought to kill him. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that not only did Solomon do evil in the sight of the LORD by turning from following the living God, and not only did he walk in idolatry before the living God, but when the LORD began to bring about that which He had spoken unto Solomon, he would become threatened by this one who would become king over a divided kingdom of Israel and would seek to kill him. The eleventh chapter of the book of First Kings ends and concludes with Jeroboam son of Nebat ultimately fleeing from the city of Jerusalem and unto the land of Egypt in order that he might escape the murderous hand and threat of Solomon. It’s absolutely astonishing that not only would Solomon’s actions result in the rending of the kingdom, but it would also result in Solomon seeking to kill Jeroboam—a similar action to Saul who sought to kill his father. Undoubtedly Solomon was aware of the earlier years of David when Saul sought to kill him, and now here we find him seeking to kill another individual whom the LORD had specifically called and chosen to bring about the fulfillment of what he had spoken. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for it is absolutely astonishing and remarkable when you think about it, for we find a king who turned his heart from following and walking with the LORD, and who would even seek to murder that one whom the LORD had chosen to reign as king over ten of the twelve tribes of Israel.

You cannot truly or properly understand the narrative of Rehoboam son of Solomon without understanding the events which took place in the eleventh chapter, for it is in the eleventh chapter where you understand that which was purposed and determined of the LORD to take place during the days of Rehoboam. In fact, if you read the words which are found in the fifteenth verse of the twelfth chapter you will find the following words which were written by the author of this particular Old Testament book: “Wherefore the king heartened not unto the people; for the case was from the LORD, that He might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat” (1 Kings 12:15). It’s worth noting that this wasn’t the only confirmation that what was taking place during the days of Rehoboam were according to the word which the LORD had spoken directly unto Rehoboam father’s, Solomon. As you continue reading the words which are written and found within this chapter you will come to the twenty-first verse where you find Rehoboam mountain one-hundred and eighty thousand men, which were warriors to fight against Israel to bring the kingdom back under his rule and his authority. When, however, you come to the twenty-second verse of this chapter you will quickly encounter the words of the LORD coming unto one by the name of Shemaiah, for it was this man Shemaiah who would proclaim unto Rehoboam and unto all those who were with him that they ought not lift up their hand against Jeroboam son of Nebat, nor go out to wage warfare and conflict against them. The word of the LORD which came to Rehoboam when he sought to engage Jeroboam and Israel in battle was one that strongly advised and warned them not to go up again as them in Attleboro. IF you begin reading with and from the twenty-second verse of the twelfth chapter you will find the following words which were written by Shemaiah the man of God: “But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying, Thus saith the LORED, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They heartened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart” (1 Kings 12:22-24). The words which Shemaiah the man of God spoke unto Solomon which are recorded in this passage of Scripture are indeed the second confirmation that the events which took place during the days of Rehoboam son of Solomon were indeed from the LORD.

If there is one thing I can’t help but recognize and consider when reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, it’s just how little we can contend with the word of the LORD. I have long believed that there are two main ways the living God speaks to us with the first being according to His divinely inspired Word which is contained in Scripture. The second way the living and eternal God speaks to us is according to what Scripture calls “The word of the LORD”—that which in Scripture came through and according to prophets and men of God. I am convinced that even if the living God never spoke unto us according to the word of the LORD which is spoken unto our hearts and spirits, and we only had the divinely inspired Word of God it would be enough. There is not a doubt in my mind that when preachers and ministers stand before a congregation or group of people it is possible that they can preach and can preach from the divinely inspired Word of God, however, that doesn’t mean that what they are actually preaching is the word of the LORD. I am convinced that virtually anyone can preach the word of God, and all it takes is a certain amount of charisma, personality and the willingness to speak in front of people and you can speak in front of and before the people. There is, however a vast difference between simply preaching the Word of God and actually preaching according to the word of the LORD. What I mean by this is that there are ministers who will simply preach the Word of God and will preach of their own thoughts, their own imaginations, and their own ideas, and have not preached according to the word of the LORD. Perhaps the single greatest reality surrounding any type of proclamation of the word of God is when the divine Word of God has at the very heart and foundation of it the word of the LORD—that which the living and eternal God has indeed spoken and revealed unto your heart and spirit through prayer and devotion before Him. With that being said it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that the only way to lay hold of and preach the word of the LORD is to spend time before the LORD in prayer and intercession, and to enter into your secret closet and shut the door behind you. There are those who would stand behind the pulpits of our churches and would merely preach from the Word of God, and things might happen when they preach from the Word of God because the eternal God can and will honor His Word in order that He might speak and minister to the hearts, the minds and spirits of men and women. Even though the living God would honor His word—although it might be preached by men who have not stood in His presence nor inquired of Him—that doesn’t mean that what that particular individual is preaching is the word of the LORD, and is the very heart and mind of the LORD. There is something about the preaching of the word of God, however, there is something truly powerful and truly astonishing concerning the Word of the LORD, and when men and women proclaim that which the living and eternal God is speaking.

Upon reading the words which are written and found within these chapters it is quite astonishing to think about how the word of the LORD came unto Solomon during the days of his reign, and how the LORD was going to rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and would give it to his servant. The LORD, however, declared that He would not do it during the days of Solomon for the sake of his father David. Instead of doing it during the days of Solomon, the LORD would do it during the days of son Rehoboam, and it would be the next generation that would not only face the judgment of the LORD, but would also face the word of the LORD being manifested among them in their midst. WHEN THE NEXT GENERATION FACES THE WORD OF THE LORD! WHEN A FUTURE GENERATIONS IS CONFRONTED WITH THE WORD OF THE LORD SPOKEN IN PREVIOUS GENERATIONS! WHEN FUTURE GENERATIONS ARE FORCED TO CONTEND WITH THE WORD OF THE LORD SPOKEN IN TIMES PAST! I read the words which are written and recorded in these chapters and I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that when Rehoboam ascended to the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem—whether he was aware of it or not—he would find himself coming face to face with the word of the LORD which had been spoken through Ahijah the Shilonite. When Rehoboam would ascend to the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem he would find himself encountering more than simply the people of Israel, but the word of the LORD itself. It is absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that the word of the LORD came during the days of Solomon king of Israel, and yet it would be his son—his own flesh and blood—who would only be confronted with the word of the LORD, but would also experience the fulfillment and manifestation of that word. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the fact that when Rehoboam ascended to the throne of Israel there was a word that had been spoken in the generation and days of his father that would directly impact and affect the days of his reign. Because of the word of the LORD which Ahijah had spoken unto Solomon king of Israel, the days of the reign of Rehoboam son of Solomon would be directly impacted. What we must recognize and understand is that the events which took place in Israel during those early days when Rehoboam was made king over Israel weren’t what impacted his reign. It wasn’t the children of Israel that directly impacted the reign of Rehoboam king of Israel, but rather it was the word of the LORD. It was the word of the LORD which had been spoken in a previous generation that would be brought to pass and fulfilled during his days. What’s more, is that there was absolutely nothing Rehoboam could do to prevent and hinder the word of the LORD from being brought to pass and from being fulfilled. There was absolutely nothing Rehoboam could do to contend with the word of the LORD, and even when he engaged and enlisted one-hundred and eighty thousand men to fight against Israel—he would be fighting against more than just his brethren, but would be fighting and contending with the word of the LORD.

WOULD YOU DARE CONTEND WITH THE WORD OF THE LORD? WOULD YOU DARE FIGHT AGAINST THE WORD OF THE LORD? WOULD YOU DARE FIGHT AGAINST THAT WHICH THE LORD HAS SPOKEN? WOULD YOU DARE ATTEMPT TO LIFT YOUR HAND UP AGAINST THE WORD OF THE LORD? What I find to be so incredibly challenging and convicting when I read the words written and recorded in this passage of Scripture is that when Rehoboam enlisted one-hundred and eighty thousand men to fight against Israel in order to somehow restore the kingdom of Israel unto himself, he was doing more than simply fighting against his brethren, for there was something deeper and greater at work than the hearts and minds of the children of Israel in the northern ten tribes of Israel. We must recognize and pay close attention to the fact that when Rehoboam sought to engage the northern kingdom of Israel in battle in order that he might restore it unto himself, he wasn’t merely fighting against flesh and blood, but he would be fighting against the word of the LORD which had been spoken in a previous generation. We read and we understand in the New Testament through the words of the apostle Paul that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against rulers of darkness, and against spiritual wickedness in high places, however, we must also recognize and understand that it is also possible that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the word of the LORD which He Himself has spoken—whether in our generation, or whether it had been spoken in previous generations. IN the case of Rehoboam the son of Solomon he wouldn’t merely fight against the children of Israel in battle, but he would be fighting against the word of the LORD which had been spoken in the days and generation of his father. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing reality, for to do so would be to miss the tremendous significance and importance of it. Pause for a moment and consider the implications if Rehoboam and those one-hundred and eighty thousand who were with him had chosen to ignore the word which had come through Shemaiah, and had instead chosen to go out against the children of Israel in battle. Scrip[true is unclear as to what would and what could have happened had Rehoboam and all those who were with him ignored the word of the LORD which had been spoken unto them, but we can be sure that they would have been guilty—not only of rebelling and fighting against the word of the LORD which had been spoken in a previous generation, but also rebelling against the word of the LORD which had been spoken during their own generation.

CONFRONTED WITH THE WORD OF THE LORD SPOKEN IN PREVIOUS GENERATION AND FACING THE WORD OF THE LORD SPOKEN IN THIS GENERATION! WHEN THE WORD OF THE LORD SPOKEN IN PREVIOUS GENERATIONS COLLIDE WITH THE WORD OF THE LORD SPOKEN IN THE PRESENT GENERATION! It is truly unique to think about and consider the fact that when Rehoboam and all those one-hundred and eighty thousand who were with him went out to engage the children of Israel in battle to somehow try and restore the kingdom of Israel unto David, he was attempting to fight against the word of the LORD. Whether or not Rehoboam and all those who were with him knew and understood that what they were about to do was contend with the word of the LORD is altogether and entirely unclear. What we do know from Scripture is that Rehoboam and all those mighty men who were with him were confronted with the word of the LORD which had been spoken during their generation. Oh please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely remarkable and astonishing reality, for within and during the days of Rehoboam—not only was there the manifestation of the word of the LORD which had been spoken in previous generations, but there was also the word of the LORD which had been spoken in that present generation. Let us recognize and understand that it is possible for the word of the LORD spoken in a previous generation to directly collide with the word of the LORD spoken in a present generation—particularly and especially when men think and perceive within themselves that they can somehow contend with the word of the LORD. Rehoboam might very well have thought and believed that he was merely fighting against flesh and blood, however, through the words which Shemaiah had spoken unto him, he came face to face with the fact that his attempt to go out to battle with the children of Israel would have been an attempt to wage war against the word of the LORD. Oh we dare not miss the tremendous implications of this truth, for there are countless men and women who would not only dare resist the word of the LORD, but would also seek to fight and wage war against it. There are countless men and women who would dare think and believe that they could indeed and could in fact fight against and contend with the word of the LORD—whether or not they are aware of what they are doing or not. In the case of Rehoboam we must understand and recognize that he perhaps was unaware of his fighting against and contending with the word of the LORD when he marched out against the children of Israel, however, that was simply not the case when the word of the LORD came unto him through Shimaiah the man of God. It would be through Shemaiah the man of God that Rehoboam would come face to face with the events which took place during his days and during his generation were ordained by the living God, and that the word of the LORD was actually being fulfilled during his generation.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close it’s important for us to recognize and understand that it is an incredibly dangerous thing to contend with and fight against the word of the LORD. There would be those who think they can somehow contend with and fight against the Word of God which we know as the Scriptures, and there are some who would think they could contend with and fight against the Word of the LORD which has been spoken in previous generations, and even which would and could be spoken in their present generation. If there is one thing we must recognize and consider when reading the words which are written and recorded in this passage, it’s that when Rehoboam enlisted and engaged one-hundred and eighty thousand mighty men to go out in battle against the children of Israel, he was doing more than simply fighting against flesh and blood, but he would in all reality be contending with and fighting against the word of the LORD. Oh, it’s one thing to fight against flesh and blood, but it’s something else entirely to find yourself fighting against the word of the LORD. In all reality, I would dare say that the greater evil and the greater danger which Rehoboam and all those who were with him faced was not fighting against flesh and blood, but against fighting against and resisting the word of the LORD. The word of the LORD would come unto Rehoboam and all those with him during those days declaring unto them that they ought not engage their brethren in battle, for that thing which had taken place was of the LORD, and was the desire and will of the living God. Oh please don’t miss, and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely astonishing and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss out on a tremendous warning and word of caution unto us within our generation—namely, that we guard ourselves against fighting against and resisting the word of the LORD which He Himself has spoken—regardless of whether or not that word has been spoken in previous generations, or whether it has been spoken in our generation. Rehoboam found himself not only coming face to face with the word of the LORD when the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled against him and aligned themselves with Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also found himself coming dangerously close to fighting against the word of the LORD when he set out to wage war against his brethren. Stop for a moment and consider those two realities—facing the word of the LORD and fighting against the word of the LORD—for it’s one thing to come face to face with the word of the LORD, yet it’s something else altogether to fight against the word of the LORD> It’s one thing to experience the fulfillment of the word of the LORD, however, it’s something else entirely and altogether to experience the fulfillment of the word of the LORD, and to set out to contend with and fight against that word. What we find during the days of Rehoboam was not only the fulfillment of the word of the LORD, but also a possible attempt to contend with and fight against the word of the LORD. Were it not for the word of the LORD coming unto Shemaiah the man of God, Rehoboam might very well have found himself fighting against more than just flesh and blood, but actually fighting against the word of the LORD. Oh that we would recognize and understand this incredible powerful truth, for it is one that must be carefully understood within our generation and within our own lives, for we must not only recognize and hear the word of the LORD which has been spoken, but we must also make sure that we do not set out to lift our hand against, contend with, or fight against the word of the LORD in an attempt to somehow contradict it, or even to bring to pass our own agendas, our own desires, and our own plans.

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