Long Division

And those who had set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the LORD, the God of their fathers. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam the son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon. 2 Ch 11:16–17.

Reading through 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles, one is always left sad. Yes, there are extraordinary high points – like David’s accession to the throne and the early years of Solomon. But it isn’t long after Solomon’s death, that the cracks in the foundation of God’s united people – sown through Solomon’s own spiritual compromise – began to bring disastrous results. The very next generation, under the leadership of Rehoboam brings civil war and division. Long division. One which was never healed. And led both Israel and Judah to their demise.

The nation split, Judah and Benjamin – under Rehoboam and the other 10 tribes under Jeroboam, the real fracture became known. God had made His dwelling place the Temple in Jerusalem. If all the Israelites were to maintain access to the Temple and obey God in His commands regarding the annual feasts and such – they needed to seek a solution to the division. But they didn’t. Neither the leaders nor the people. Though in this case, the people should have taken the lead. Those in Israel, following the example of those cited in the text above should have said: “no matter what goes on politically – we will serve our God as one people according to His commands.” Instead, Jeroboam, in order to keep power, set up a new religious system in Israel. It would stop (he hoped) any who were more motivated to seek the Lord, than to keep blind allegiance to him. And for the most part, it worked.

And so we ask – are there political or social concerns which in any way prevent us from uniting with others we know in Christ are seeking to serve Him well? When men an women who profess saving faith in Christ, are committed to His Word, and to the Gospel, and to growing in holiness, find extra-Biblical conflict keeping us from one another – something’s wrong.

As in our text, yes, those who were determined to worship the Lord aright, and to find that their focal point, ended up also making the throne of Rehoboam more secure. They were not making a political statement. It was not their aim. It just was, what it was. That, they had to let God sort out. For these, the real issue was that nothing would prevent them from joining with those who sought to serve God rightly. The political parties were not the issue. The differences between them were not the issue. God’s people, seeking God sincerely, and together was.

Fidelity to serve God as His people trumped everything else.

Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. Hag 1:5.

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