We know the story well. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, rather than listening to wise counsel when responding to the northern tribes’ complaints, said to them, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions” (10:14). How foolish! And, certainly, equal to other things, maybe even more, shouldn’t a king have compassion for his people and desire the best for them? Foolish, foolish, foolish! And so, Rehoboam got about what he deserved; he lost the ten tribes. And even Judah and Jerusalem, which he kept, were his because of the Lord’s faithfulness to David, certainly, not because of Rehoboam’s faithfulness: “When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him” (12:1).
Abijah followed Rehoboam in Jerusalem, and though king after king did evil, there are encouraging anecdotes along the way. At one point, when the Lord saw that the leaders in Jerusalem humbled themselves (12:7), he gave them deliverance from Shishak. Jeroboam of Israel was fighting against Judah, and the report was: “the men of Judah prevailed because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers” (13:18). They prevailed because they relied on the Lord!
Asa declared, “The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side” (14:7). From these stories an important lesson: When trust in the Lord, we can be confident of his faithfulness and deliverance.
Far down the ages now,
Much of her journey done,
The pilgrim church pursues her way,
Until her crown be won.
Still faithful to our God,
And to our Captain true,
We follow where he leads the way;
The Kingdom in our view. -- Horatius Bonar (19th century)