Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Living Lesons from Dead Kings: Lesson 03 “Rehoboam’s Regretful Rule” 1 Kings 12, 14; 2 Chron. 10-12

Lesson 3

I found myself screaming to myself don’t do that as I read the accounts of Rehoboam’s life.  The questions hit the high and low points of his disappointing reign.  There is one question designed to provoke thought on the mysterious relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s choices.  Thoughts and discussion, not conclusions, so watch out for theological bunny trails.
The questions point the men to think about Biblical leadership, being humble and seeking the Lord, and God’s faithfulness to David through his dealings with Rehoboam.
These two entries from The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament  explore the relationship between the “queen mother” and kings of Judah.  This will be especially relevant again when we study Asa.

What in the world were Rehoboam and his punk friends thinking when they promised the nation heavier burdens?  While some of it was probably wanting to rule with a firm hand, these comments by Andrew Hill in The NIV Application Commentary are very insightful.

“At the risk of oversimplifying a complex sociopolitical situation, a combination of interrelated factors make taxation an issue.  The loss of revenue from satellite states that regained their autonomy during the latter years of Solomon’s decline deplete the royal treasuries (1 Kings 11.14-15).  The support of the multilayered bureaucracy of Solomon’s administration suck vast amounts of resources from the general populace (4:20-28).  Finally, all this is compounded by the extravagance and waste characteristic of Solomon’s social and economic policies (10:14-22).

By definition, centralized government is parasitic; that is, it must exist off the revenues it collects from the people governed.  When faced with a budget crisis, any centralized government has but two options: raise taxes or reduce spending.  But a Selman reminds us, when read as complementary records of the division of the united monarchy, both sources concur that Solomon, Rehoboam, and Jeroboam all share in the blame:  Solomon does impose a “heavy yoke” on Israel (2 Chron. 10:4, 9-11, 14), Jeroboam does lead the northern tribes of Israel in revolt (10:19; cf. 13:6-7), Rehoboam does reject the wise advice of the elders (10:6-8, 13).  (Selman, 2 Chronicles, p 359)"

I have been pleasantly surprised by how very relevant many of these issues are to us today.  I am confident that you will see some issues and applications that I have completely missed.  Feel free to bring them up and have your men interact with them.

Encourage your men to read the text earlier in the week so that they will have time to marinate their thoughts with the text over the next few days before your group meets.

Lesson 03 “Rehoboam’s Regretful Rule” 1 Kings 12, 14; 2 Chron. 10-12
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context: Rehoboam’s life is recorded in both 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles.  Read 1 Kings 12:1-15 and 2 Chronicles 11:1-12:1.  Then read 1 Kings 14:21-24 and 2 Chronicles 12:2-16 to get a “synoptic” account of Rehoboam’s life.  This plan will give you an overview that includes the important facts and interesting details from both accounts.
1.    CR:  (1 Kings 14:21, 31)  Who was Jeraboam’s mother?  How do you think she might have affected him (with her religious orientation probably alluded to in 1 Kings 11:4-7)?
2.    ID:  (1 Kings 12.1-15; 2 Chronicles 10)  Contrast and discuss the leadership styles recommended by Solomon’s advisors and Rehoboam’s friends.  Can you think of Proverbs or NT verses that reinforce the principles?
3.    ID:  (1 Kings 12:15; 2 Chronicles 10:15)  What insight does this verse give for understanding the relationship between people’s choices and God accomplishing His designs?
4.    ID:  (2 Chronicles 11:3-4)  How might you account for Rehoboam’s unexpected wise response to Shemaiah, the man of God?
5.    ID:  (2 Chronicles 12:5-7, 12)  How did Judah avert complete destruction by Shishak?  Why did God not completely deliver them?
6.    ID:  (2 Chron. 12:14)  What does the Chronicler describe as Rehoboam’s core problem?
The WALK: What should I do?
1.    How can we tell if we have surrounded ourselves with wise counselors?
2.    What are the primary objectives for godly leadership?
3.    What does it mean to humble (kana` in 2 Chr. 12.12) yourself before the Lord?  Should we always be humble before the Lord or especially when we are in trouble?
4.    What have you done (or do you do) to “prepare” your heart to seek the Lord?
5.    How do you see God’s faithfulness to his promises in action during Rehoboam’s reign?

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament
comments on the “queen mother.”

2 Chronicles 12:13. Rehoboam’s mother. Since Solomon is known to have married women from many countries, including Ammon (see 1 Kings 11:1), it is not unusual that Rehoboam’s mother, Naamah, should be an Ammonite. Her marriage would most likely represent a political alliance between the two countries. The practice of regularly naming the mother of the kings of Judah may indicate that the office of queen mother was significant (see comment on 1 Kings 2:19).     

1 Kings 2:19. queen mother’s throne. There were three different types of queens in the ancient world. The most familiar to our way of thinking is one who is the primary wife of the king (e.g., Queen Esther). While sometimes these royal consorts were little more than ornamentation, in other contexts (such as among the Hittites of the second millennium) they served as royal deputies with extensive power (compare the role of Jezebel in Ahab’s court). A second type is the wife (or mother) of the king who accedes to the throne after his death and rules in his place (e.g., Athaliah of Judah, Hatshepsut of Egypt). The third is the queen mother whose royal husband has died but who continues to exert significant political influence over the new king, her son (e.g., Sammuramat of Assyria, Maacah of Judah, see 1 Kings 15:13). That is the role depicted for Bathsheba here. The extent to which the queen mother exercised a significant or powerful role in judicial, economic or social matters would have depended on the personality of the individual. The fact that the mother is named for nearly every king of Judah (though not for kings of Israel) suggests that the role of queen mother was an important one throughout the Davidic monarchy.

--Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed.,  (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000).


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