December 18, 2015

2 Chronicles 10-12
Rehoboam traveled to Shechem where all Israel had gathered to inaugurate him as king.  Jeroboam was then in Egypt, where he had taken asylum from King Solomon; when he got word of Solomon’s death, he came back...Jeroboam and all of Israel went to Rehoboam and said, “You’re father made life hard on us...give us a break; lighten up on us and we will willingly serve you.”  “Give me three days to think it over,” said Rehoboam, “then come back.”  

King Rehoboam talked it over with the elders who advised his father...They said, “If you will be a servant to  this people , be considerate of their needs and respond with compassion, work things out with them, they’ll end up doing everything for you.”  But he rejected the counsel of the elders and asked the young men he’d grown up with who were now currying his favor...  The young turks he’d grown up with said, “...tell them this, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist.  If you think life under my father was hard, you haven’t seen the half of it...”

Three days later, the king’s answer to his people was harsh and rude.  He spurned the counsel of the elders and went with the advice of the younger set...he turned a deaf ear to the people.  God was behind this, confirming the message that he had given Jeroboam through Ahijah of Shiloh.  When all Israel realized that the king hadn’t listened to a word they’d said, they rejected Rehoboam and left so that he continued to rule only those who lived in the towns of Judah...Israel has been in rebellion against the Davidic dynasty ever since.  

When Rehoboam got back to Jerusalem he called up the men of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to war against Israel and recover the kingdom.  At the same time the word of God came as Shemaiah, a holy man which stated, “Don’t march out; don’t fight against your brothers the Israelites.  go back home, every last one of you; I’m in charge here” And they did it; they did what God said and went home.

The priests and Levites from all over Israel came and made themselves available to Rehoboam....because Jeroboam and his sons had dismissed them from the priesthood of God and replaced them with his own priests to preside over the worship centers at which he had installed goat and calf demon-idols.  Everyone from all the tribes of Israel who determined to seek the God of Israel migrated with the priests and Levites to Jerusalem to worship there...That gave a tremendous boost to the kingdom of Judah.  They stuck with Rehoboam for three years, loyal to the ways of David and Solomon for this period.

Rehoboam married Mahalath, daughter of David’s son, Jerimoth, and Abihail, daughter of Jesse’s son, Eliab.  Then he married Maacah, Absalom’s daughter...Maacah was Rehoboam’s favorite wife; he loved her more than all his other wives and concubines put together (18 wives & 60 concubines = 28 sons and 60 daughters).  Rehoboam designated Abijah, son of Maachah as the “first son” and leader of the brothers - he intended to make him the next king.  He was shrewd in deploying his sons in all the cities that made up his defensed ...he kept them happy with much food and many wives....By the time Rehoboam had secured his kingdom and was strong again, he and all of Israel with him, had virtually abandoned God and his ways.

In the 5th year of Rehoboam’s reign, because he and the people were unfaithful to God, Shishak king of Egypt invaded as far as Jerusalem...

Then the prophet Shemaiah accompanied by the leaders of Judah came to Rehoboam and said, “God’s word:  You abandoned me now I abandon you to Shishak.”  The leaders and Rehoboam were repentant and said, “God is right.”  When God saw that they were humbly repentant, the word of God came to Shemaiah: “Because they are humble, I’ll not destroy them...What I will do, though, is make them Shishak’s subjects -- they will learn the difference between serving me and serving human kings.”  Then Shishak attacked Jerusalem and plundered the treasury of the Temple and the royal palace...Because Rehoboam was repentant, God’s anger was blunted, so he wasn’t totally destroyed.  

The picture wasn’t entirely bleak--there were some good things going on in Judah.  King Rehoboam regrouped and reestablished his rule...but the final verdict on Rehoboam was that he was a bad king--God was not important to him;  his heart neither cared for nor sought after God. ...There were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam the whole time...Rehoboam’s son Abijah ruled after him. 

Revelations 12
A great sign appeared in Heaven:  
A woman dressed all in sunlight, standing on the moon, and crowned with 12 stars.  She was giving birth to a Child and cried out in the pain of childbirth.  And then another sign along with the first: a huge and fiery Dragon!  It had seven heads and ten horns, a crown on each of the seven heads.  The dragon crouched before the woman in childbirth, poised to eat up the Child when it came.  The woman gave birth to a Son who will shepherd all the nations with an iron rod.  Her Son was seized and placed safely before God on his Throne.  The Woman herself escaped to the desert to a place of safety prepared by God, all comforts provided her for 1,260 days.

War broke out in Heaven.  Michael and his angels fought the Dragon...The great Dragon---ancient serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, the one who led the whole earth astray - thrown out, and all his Angels thrown out with him, thrown down to earth... 

When the Dragon saw that he had been thrown to earth, he went after the Woman who had given birth to the Man-Child.  The Woman was given wings of a great eagle to fly to a place in the desert to be kept in  safety...

Helpless with rage, the Dragon raged at the woman, then went off to make war with the rest of her children, the children who keep God’s commands and hold firm to the witness of Jesus.