Division and Downfall of Israel
True to God’s word, Solomon’s excesses and lack of alignment with God dissipate the family, and soon after his death the kingdom is headed for division. (2 Chronicles 7:17-20). Rehaboam, his son, consults the young guns of his age who, against the counsel of elders, urge him to lay a heavy hand on the people. He then announces: “My Father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier. My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions." (1 Kings 12:11)
So just as God predicted (1 Kings 11:31-32), the people rebel and most people follow Jeraboam, their popular leader. The kingdom is divided into the southern kingdom, Judah (Judah, Benjamin and most of Levi) and northern kingdom, Israel (remaining tribes). Rehaboam rule over the smaller piece – the royal line from which Jesus would emerge.
Every one of the kings of Israel are bad kings and allowed worship of foreign gods. Some are slightly better than the rest, owing some allegiance to God. Jeroboam encourages sex and religion shrines and all kings follow suit. In a few hundred years, they are captured by Babylonians.
Among the Kings of Judah, there were two –Hezekiah and Josiah that were good and eliminate all forms of idol worship from the kingdom. The rest are bad kings – again some better than the rest but still follow the herd in promoting and participating in sex and religion worship. They survive a few hundred years after Israel and are eventually captured by Assyrians.
Approximately 40 kings govern the divided kingdom and the prominent factors are:
• God’s grace and patience in the midst of dark evil and rebellion.
• His swift response at the slightest repentance.
• His patience over centuries before handing them over to captivity.
• Man’s total incompetence in ruling for God
• Harsh treatment of prophets, God’s spokesmen, who were killed, pursued and isolated.
Today, God’s kingdom is also in the midst of catastrophe with weak spiritual leadership. We continue to witness complete inadequacy to lead for Christ. In the midst of massive falling out from the word, a few faithful people remain.
Are we prepared to pay the price to speak out and stand out when called to do so? Are we spreading the word to our families and those around us as commanded in Ps 78:5-7 and several other verses? What legacy do we leave?