Took their stand with him

And from all their territories the priests and the Levites who were in all Israel took their stand with him (Rehoboam). For the Levites left their common-lands and their possessions and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them from serving as priests to the LORD. Then he (Jeroboam) appointed for himself priests for the high places, for the demons, and the calf idols which he had made. And after the Levites left, those from all the tribes of Israel, such as set their heart to seek the LORD God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the LORD God of their fathers. So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong for three years, because they walked in the way of David and Solomon for three years (2 Chronicles 11:13-17).

Jeroboam, the first king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, began making significant religious changes. This left the faithful people of God in that kingdom in a serious dilemma. They continued to follow God’s law and to stand for God, and because of this they were “rejected.”

God’s faithful remnant needed a new home, a welcome place to serve and worship the God of Israel. Notice the priests and Levites left all their property and possessions behind. This property was God-given to the priests and Levites (Numbers 35:1-8), but they were forced to leave it. Maybe King Jeroboam seized their assets as part of his religious intimidation. At any rate, they left for Jerusalem to worship the God of Israel. Just like the Hebrew Christians, being faithful to God was more valuable than holding on to possessions (Hebrews 10:32-34).

Many of the people of Israel who were faithful to the Lord also left and came to Jerusalem. These citizens of Israel had “set their heart to seek the Lord God of Israel.” During this brief time, for 3 years, they found a welcome home with King Rehoboam in Jerusalem. They helped the King and Judah stay faithful and strong.

Took their stand with him

So, with whom are we making our stand? It is clear that not everyone left Jeroboam in Israel. Most folks stayed and lived with the changes. They took their stand with Jeroboam. Their choice was to be safe rather than sound.

Are we willing to leave behind precious possessions and relationships in order to be part of a congregation that holds fast to God’s word?

Is our congregation a welcome home for the faithful? Even in this culture where many churches are abandoning God’s word for better entertainment and political correctness, there are still believers who care more about being faithful to God’s word. But what about our congregation? Are we more concerned with revenue, numbers, and drawing in the crowds? Or are we focused on the spiritual matters, simply following what Jesus and the apostles told us to do?

Jesus was rejected by men, just like those faithful few in Jeroboam’s kingdom. But to God, He is chosen and precious (1 Peter 2:4). May the same be said of us. We don’t belong here anyway, our hearts should be set on the heavenly kingdom. Let’s learn a lesson today from these rejected priests and Levites who took their stand with God and His faithful people.

Chapters of Bad Advice

I got this idea from hearing a sermon by Russ LaGrone. He preached a sermon, giving three examples from 1 Kings 12-13. Russ titled this section of 1 Kings, “Chapters of Bad Advice.” Not that God gave bad advice, but that these 4 men all followed bad advice. It resulted in disaster. I’m going to add one more example from 1 Kings 11 (Solomon).

  1. King Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-8). He listened to his pagan wives who turned his heart from God.
  2. King Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:1-16). He listened to the young men who grew up with him instead of the elders who had advised his father Solomon.
  3. King Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:25-33). He listened to his own heart (vs. 33).
  4. The Young Man of God (1 Kings 13:1-34). He listened to an older prophet who claimed that an angel spoke to him.

Chapters of Bad Advice

What I noticed about each of these men is that the answers/truth were right before them. The truth was not hard to find. Good advice was not far away. They all simply chose not to follow good advice.

  1. King Solomon knew the commands of God about marrying wives from idolatrous nations. It wasn’t that he was confused about God’s expectations; he had God-given wisdom that surpassed any who ever lived.
  2. King Rehoboam had great advice from seasoned and experienced elders. The truth wasn’t far away, he just didn’t want to hear it.
  3. King Jeroboam had the priests and Levites who faithfully taught the truth right before him, but he rejected them and gave them the boot (2 Chronicles 11:14).
  4. The young prophet in 1 Kings 13 repeated God’s clear commands twice (vs. 9,16-17). God wasn’t vague on what he expected the young man of God to do. The truth was clear. He chose to listen to a “religious authority” instead of listening to God (Galatians 1:8).

Great Advice and Truth is Close by you

Moses made this very point in his final speeches to Israel.

“For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).

The word is very near you. It is not mysterious, nor is it far off. Men, let’s take inventory of who is advising us, and whose advice we follow. God promised the right answers if we truly seek for it, but He will not shelter us from bad advice, either. Both options are laid before us: both truth and error, good advice and bad. Choose wisely.

Trading Gold for Bronze

So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king’s palace. He took everything; he even took the golden shields which Solomon had made. Then King Rehoboam made shields of bronze in their place and committed them to the care of the commanders of the guard who guarded the door of the king’s house. As often as the king entered the house of the LORD, the guards came and carried them and then brought them back into the guards’ room (2 Chronicles 12:9-11).

Gold shields replaced with bronze shields. Gold in the Bible, and throughout history, is known for its great value and preciousness. Bronze is shiny and pretty, too, but it isn’t gold. Because Rehoboam had left God, God gave him over to Egypt, and things that were gold were now bronze. King Rehoboam traded God’s sacred things for lesser things. He gave up the holy things, the precious things, for things of much lesser value.

The Olympics are going on right now, and we can clearly appreciate this principle. Can you imagine Michael Phelps trading his 23 gold medals for 23 bronze medals? Would we be making such a big deal if he won 23 bronze medals? Nope. Interesting fact, he has won more Olympic gold medals in his lifetime than 62 other countries have won in the Olympics!

Fathers, this is a principle we can be teaching our children. Use the Olympics and this passage from 2 Chronicles 12 to show how Rehoboam traded gold for bronze.

Trading Gold for Bronze

This is a sermon I preached last Sunday, and here are the things I found in the Scripture about Rehoboam trading gold for bronze.

  1. He traded God’s ways for his own ways (2 Chronicles 12:1,14).
  2. He traded God’s strength for his own strength (2 Chronicles 12:1).
  3. He traded the wisdom of the elders for the wisdom of his peers (see 2 Chronicles 10:8,13). Those wise men had grey hairs for a reason, and he chose not to listen to them. His peers gave him the advice he really wanted to hear anyway, and he went with it.
  4. He traded the holy things for lesser things (2 Chronicles 12:9-11). He put bronze shields in the place of the gold shields. Think of how we do that in our lives today! Our minds are to be holy, fill them with gold. Our bodies are to be holy, they belong to God, treat them like they’ve been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). Don’t trade down…don’t settle for things of lesser value.
  5. He traded serving God for serving man. God let him experience the “difference” between serving God and serving the masters of men (2 Chronicles 12:8). Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light. We often do not learn that until we see how cruel the masters of this world are to us.

Don’t trade gold for bronze. Just like Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of stew, we can give up very special things for things that in the end are of no value at all. Go for gold!