It all comes down to this: We must worship God and God alone.
My take away from the sermon today, February 7, 2021, is that throughout history we have collectively been in a perpetual cycle of finding God, turning our back on him, and returning to him in repentance.
It amazes me how we refuse to look at the mistakes our forefathers have made and how we fail to recognize that we are doomed to repeat them. As I read through the Bible, I see how history repeats itself as kings rise and fall as a reflection of their faith. Are we so different?
The sermon centers around 2 Chronicles 12:1-12 as we continue our look into Rehoboam’s reign as king of Judah.
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. Because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam. With twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand horsemen and the innumerable troops of Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites that came with him from Egypt, he captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem.2 Chronicles 12:1-4
Rehoboam trusted in God as long as he felt he needed him, but when his kingdom was strong, he became confident in his independence of God instead of becoming more dependent on Him. This left him outside of God’s protection. Isn’t this what happens to us when take credit for all the blessings God has provided us? We don’t go to him in prayer and ask for guidance. We make big decisions without consulting him thinking, “we’ve got this”.
But it’s not just asking for guidance. We deny God the worship that he deserves. This usually happens on a national level. Rehoboam was so used to being on top that he was in shock when Shishak attacked with an overwhelming army.
Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fear of Shishak and he said to them, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.'”2 Chronicles 12:5
If we choose to forsake God and turn our worship to pagan gods, why should we be surprised when God turns his back on us? Think we don’t have someone or something that we have as idols? It’s something that we as weak humans have to make a constant effort to keep our focus on the one true God.
When Jesus hung on the cross, he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Matthew 27:46
Jesus took all sins to the cross, every sin ever committed and every sin in the future. God is righteous and cannot be in the presence of sin.
The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is just.” – 2 Chronicles 12:6
This repentance initiated by the leaders of Israel brought about a great move by God’s Spirit. When it is done with sincerity and humility God has been faithful. In this case, they didn’t blame someone else. They admitted that they deserved the situation they found themselves in.
Since they humbled themselves, God decided not to destroy them, but gave as subjects to Shishak. They would get to see what is was like to serve another master.
In five short years, Rehoboam burned through the vast amount of wealth that Solomon had left to him. Shishak took all of the treasures from the temple and the palace, including the gold shields Solomon had made. Rehoboam replaced them with bronze shields. A cheap imitation compared to the gold. This is an example of the emphasis of image over effectiveness that began with Solomon. Gold was too heavy and too soft to be effective on the battlefield. The bronze was shine over substance as the shields could be shined to resemble gold, but were a cheap replacement.
Taking all of this in leaves us with a few thoughts.
- Do we go to God when things are going well?
- The danger of telling God to “leave me alone” is that someday he may give answer your prayer.
- Living a sinful life is both expensive and painful
- We reap what we sow.
In David’s reign, he was known for his unwavering commitment and passionate love for God. But with each generation, there was less passion and commitment. It began to disappear during Solomon’s reign, and all but disappeared during Rehoboam’s. There was death of the spirit of worship and even the temple was looted and the symbols of worship, gone.
Because Rehoboam humbled himself, God’s anger turned from him so he wasn’t totally destroyed. There was still good in Judah.
We need David’s heart of worship. Humbling ourselves before God is a start. God knows how much humbling we’ll need. Sometimes it’s difficult to admit that things we didn’t realize were sins, are actually that. It may be something as simple as thinking we are better than someone else. But that’s not a very humble way of thinking. We need to look into our hearts and ask God to help us see ourselves the way he does. He loves us, but he’ll show us where we fall short or what we need to work on.
God was a shield to David because he had a heart worth protecting.
Is your heart completely, and solely, God’s? God’s and no one and nothing else? When it is…He is our shield.