Rehoboam, Jesus' Death, and Serving Others

9:24 PM

The other day I realized that I've never done holiday-themed posts.  I had just gotten back from Bible Bee Nationals the week before Thanksgiving, and for Christmas, I was too busy celebrating it to write about it.  Then this week, I wanted to write something about the death and resurrection of Jesus, but I didn't really know what to say (too much to choose from, I guess).

Currently, I'm reading through 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles in chronological order.  It's given me a whole new perspective on the kings and also helped me to put all the pieces together.  Well, when I was thinking about writing something for Resurrection Sunday, I thought that I might know what to say if I read about it in the Gospels, but I wanted to continue with reading about the kings, and since I didn't think about this until a few days ago, I wasn't sure that I would have time to read a Gospel in addition to what I'm already reading.  Oh, well!  I thought, I guess I just won't write anything for this holiday, either.  I don't see how I could get anything about the resurrection out of 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles.  Well, guess what happened?  This morning, I read about Rehoboam (and now you're probably thinking, How could Rehoboam possibly relate to Jesus' death and resurrection?, but hang in there, and I'll explain what I mean).  After Solomon died, Rehoboam became king.  Israel came to him at Shechem to make him king, and they asked him to "lighten the hard service of your father".  Rehoboam told them to come back in three days, and he would have an answer.  He went to some elderly friends of his father for advice.  They said, "If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.”  Apparently, Rehoboam didn't like this advice, because he also went to his young friends, who said, "Thus shall you speak to this people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us,’ thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father's thighs. And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’”  I'm guessing that you already know the story: Rehoboam followed the counsel of his young friends, and as a result, ten of the tribes of Israel were taken away from Rehoboam and give to Jeroboam.  

I've always wondered why Rehoboam didn't follow the advice of the older, wiser men.  I mean, didn't he know that it wasn't a good idea to say that to Israel?  But as I read it today, I noticed something that I hadn't really paid attention to before.  The elderly men said to Rehoboam, "If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them..."  Now I understood: Rehoboam didn't want to serve.  He didn't understand that "whoever would be great among you must be your servant" (Matthew 20:26).  Suddenly, I could sympathize with Rehoboam a little bit more; not because what he did was at all okay, but because my attitude is similar to that many days.  This got me thinking: do I have a heart to serve?  Sure, I enjoy serving when it's something fun, like holding a happy baby so that a young mom at church can fix her other child's plate, or doing something that others will see and praise me for, but then there are other things that I don't volunteer to do so quickly.  There's the little day-to-day opportunities for service that I pass up, just because I don't really enjoy it and I know someone else will do it.  Those little things don't seem very important, and I know that if I want to serve, I'll get another chance tomorrow, but is that what Jesus would do?  Would Jesus Christ neglect to serve others when He had an opportunity to?

In Mark 10:45, Jesus tells His disciples, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Jesus came to serve sacrificially.  His wasn't the easy kind of service, but the kind for which he was despised and rejected by men.  He suffered mocking, flogging, having lies told about Him, blasphemy, and all kinds of things that I don't have room for in one post.  What was far harder than all of those things was that He suffered the wrath of God.  We can't even begin to grasp the weight of this.  He was forsaken by God, so that we would be reconciled to Him.  His life was truly given "as a ransom for many".   He's the kind of servant that I want to be.

So now, in light of all this, we have two choices: will we be like Rehoboam and leave opportunities to serve undone, or will we be like Christ and lay down our lives to serve others?  Will we fail to show sacrificial love to others, or will we glorify the Lord through lovingly serving one another?  Let's serve the Lord.    

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."
Romans 12:1

Posted by Anna Moss

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  1. That's a great connection back to the OT. Truly thought-provoking. Thanks for posting!

  2. This is really good! The story of Rehoboam has been brought up quite a bit lately, and I love how you contrasted it with that of Jesus:)


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