Settling for cheap imitations in exchange for the real thing is a poor way to live. In every area of his life, Rehoboam consistently traded what was real for what was counterfeit. Given wise and unwise counsel by his advisers at his coronation, he chose to grab for power and control rather than to take patiently the counsel of those older and wiser than to abandon God. These unwise decisions made him weaker rather than stronger. As a result, he was invaded by the Egyptians and stripped of the riches he inherited from David and Solomon. To replace them, he had cheap bronze copies made.
Throughout the early part of his reign, Rehoboam fluctuated between obeying God and going his own way. Outward appearances were kept up, but his inward attitudes were evil. Following in the tradition of David gave Rehoboam many opportunities for real greatness. Instead, he ended up with a divided and broken kingdom.
How much of real living have we exchanged for the things that do not last? We trade healthy bodies for momentary excitement, personal integrity for fast-fading wealth, honesty for lies, God’s wise guidance for our selfish ways. We sin when we willingly give little value to “the real thing” God has already given us.
Our counterfeit lives may fool some people, but they never fool God. Yet in spite of what he sees in us, God offers mercy. Are you a self-managed enterprise, counterfeit at best? Or have you placed yourself in God’s care? Do the decisions you must make today need a second consideration in the light of Rehoboam’s example?
Strengths and accomplishments:
- Fourth and last king of the united nations of Israel, but only for a short time
- Fortified his kingdom and achieved a measure of popularity
Weaknesses and mistakes:
- Followed unwise advice and divided his kingdom
- Married foreign women, as his father Solomon had done
- Abandoned the worship of God and allowed idolatry to flourish
Lessons from his life:
- Thoughtless decisions often lead to exchanging what is most valuable for something of far less value
- Every choice we make has real and long-lasting consequences
- Where: Jerusalem
- Occupation: King of the united kingdom of Israel, and later of the southern kingdom of Judah
- Relatives: Father: Solomon. Mother: Naamah. Son: Abijah. Wife: Maacah
- Contemporaries: Jeroboam, Shishak, Shemaiah
Key verse: “After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 12:1).
Rehoboam’s story is told in 1 Kings 11:43-14:31 and 2 Chronicles 9:31-13:7. He is also mentioned in Matthew 1:7.