The FISHERS Magazine (Issue 219)

Anchored on the Rock

Christian Living


2 Chronicles 10:1-19

The Bible gives an account of a man whose life was stacked with so many advantages but who squandered them all so that none of those precious advantages bore fruit in his life. This man was Rehoboam, son of Solomon, the first king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

Promising Potential
Rehoboam was born with a golden spoon in his mouth, in the year before his father Solomon ascended to the throne of Israel. Israel was at peace with all her neighbours and was a world superpower in the ancient Near-East of that time.

Rehoboam was Solomon’s favourite son, to whom he handed the kingdom at his death. So, Solomon must have greatly influenced Rehoboam in grooming him to succeed him; but what was Solomon like?

2 Chr 9:1-7 states that Solomon was legendary. He was the epitome of a man; he had the highest IQ in the world and unlimited wealth. Architecture and construction were his hobbies, and he surpassed everyone else in his day in building projects. He loved music, he was the foremost botanist of his day, foremost zoologist, foremost engineer, foremost economist, richest man, greatest ruler, and also sage and poet.

In spiritual matters Proverbs was Solomon’s written manual for the instruction of his sons. As you read Prov 1-9, you see the wisdom, the affection and the love of a father for his naive, untaught son. So, Rehoboam was taught by the wisest man who ever lived (bar Jesus of Nazareth), and the curriculum Solomon used was the inspired Word of God. How much better can it get?

With all these advantages, it was thus, not surprising, that high hopes were laid on him. The name Rehoboam means “the enlarger of the people” the one who would grow and expand the kingdom, the one who would exceed what had been for the nation. His name reflected Solomon’s hopes for him to bring Israel to greater heights of glory. Rehoboam should lead Israel to even greater covenant obedience to Yahweh, so that Yahweh can bring about the blessings of Deuteronomy 28 to an even greater degree!

Pitiful Prodigality
However, Rehoboam’s life did not turn out like this. 2 Chronicles 12:14 gives the divine verdict on his life, “He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.”

Throughout the 17 years of his reign, he achieved much as pointed out in 2 Chronicles 11:5-12, 23. There was a period of three whole years when the Southern Kingdom of Judah, led by Rehoboam, walked in covenant obedience (vv. 13-17). So, he was not all bad, but he was certainly nowhere near as righteous as he should have been.

All his worldly achievements did not figure in the verdict of his eternal judgment. God did with Rehoboam what He will do with you and with me. Divine judgment is not based on the yardstick of human achievements, but on how much we have glorified God in our lives.

Many Christians live for the praise of men; but God judges based on actual realities, not on the flimsy opinion of men. Our judgment is not based on what might have been, but on what really is. No matter what is said at your funeral or inscribed on your tombstone – what is most important is God’s actual verdict on your life. So, are you one that does what is evil and wicked in the sight of Yahweh, or one that does what is good and right in the sight of Yahweh?

Possible Primers
What caused Rehoboam’s failure? Here are some influences in his life.

An Inconsistent Father
Solomon had unequalled wisdom and wealth, but despite this, and despite having seen God twice, he wasted much of his advantage, and Rehoboam saw his father step away from God. Solomon married foreign wives, and they stole his heart, and Rehoboam had that conflicted example right in his home, right before his eyes (1 Kgs 11:1-8).

An Idolatrous Mother
His mother Naamah was one of the many idolatrous ladies Solomon married, whom he should not have taken for a wife (2 Chr 12:13). She was from Ammon, where they worship Molech, who required the sacrifice of innocent children. This practice plagued Israel for many years. So Rehoboam had a mother who influenced him to compromise his faith in Yahweh.

Imbecile Companions
2 Chronicles 10 relates how Jeroboam had laid down a demand for Rehoboam to reduce the heavy yoke of servitude that Solomon had laid on the people of Israel. Rehoboam asked for time to consider and consulted Solomon’s counsellors who advised conciliation, kindness, and compromise. However, Rehoboam rejected this counsel and “consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him” (v. 8). These foolhardy friends advised Rehoboam to add to their yoke and intensify their suffering. So Rehoboam insisted on being foolish even though Solomon had said in Proverbs 13:20, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” And with that decision, Rehoboam lost his reign over ten of the twelve tribes of Israel.

The Real Cause of Spiritual Failure
The above are some influences in Rehoboam’s life, but when it comes to pinpointing the real reason for the moral and spiritual failure of Rehoboam’s life, the Bible does not indicate any of the above as the reason. What was the definitive reason for Rehoboam’s colossal failure? 2 Chronicles 12:14 says, “He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.”

God’s omniscience gives us the reason for Rehoboam’s spiritual failure. God judges by facts and realities, He sees the motivations of our hearts, and He judges us based on how we chose morally. God holds us accountable for our actions based on the moral choices we make. He will not assign our guilt to anyone else.

Sin originates in the sinful human heart and not with circumstances. And so, God judges accordingly – He pointed out that Rehoboam’s sins are due to His failure to set his heart on God.

But what does it mean to “set” one’s heart on God and to seek Yahweh? Not doing that was Rehoboam’s sin, and we must learn to do what is right.

Persistent Perseverance
To “set” one’s heart means to firmly establish and to steadfastly anchor one’s heart in a position and posture of seeking Yahweh. Is your heart so fixed on the Lord that it will not be moved and that nothing will veer you away from God?

There was a time when Rehoboam followed God and walked in the way of his fathers. But that did not last long – he was following God until temptation came, and he gave up. So, he failed to stay the course and he was all too easily moved.

Is it possible for anyone to be so strongly anchored upon Yahweh the Rock? In Psalm 57:7, David in a time of trouble used these same words to describe himself – he was resolved, immovable, his heart was steadfast upon God.

To walk with God means to walk the way God is walking, it is not for God to walk the way you are walking. It is all about we giving up our wills to do God’s will, it is not God giving up His will to do ours.

Not only have you to decide to do this, you have to decide to do this daily! In 1 Corinthians 15:31 Paul says that he dies daily because, even though he is born again and the Holy Spirit is resident in his heart, it is still not a natural tendency with him to hate his own will and do God’s. So, he has to die daily, to himself, to his desires, to his flesh, to his wants, to everything he naturally seeks to do, in order to do what God wants him to do. That is what it means to be resolved, to have your heart set to seek the Lord.

You and I need to purpose this in our hearts, we need to wake up every morning, and re-tune, re-direct, even re-subjugate our hearts to submit to God’s will. There is no room for partial obedience and part-time piety – these are but failures to set the heart fully on God.

Take a long hard look at your heart and at all the opportunities that God has given you for Bible study and prayer; you have a Bible you can read, tons of solid sermons on the Internet, and access to an endless array of good Christian books. Are you going to be like Rehoboam, languishing in Hell one day, gnashing your teeth in acute regret because you know full well that you have had these opportunities, but squandered them? This, because you did not set your heart on God and did not pile the foundations of your heart on to Christ the Rock.

Purposeful Preparation
2 Chronicles 11:14-17 relates another example of setting one’s heart to seek the LORD. Jeroboam had set up an alternative golden calf worship to prevent Israelites in the Northern Kingdom from going down to Jerusalem to worship Yahweh. In his temples, he set up an alternative priesthood and would not let the Levites serve as priests. The Levites loyal to God did not want to be involved in idolatry and together with the people who “set their hearts on seeking the LORD God of Israel” – same verbal phrase here – uprooted themselves from their homes, and went to live as migrants in Jerusalem, just so that they could continue worshipping Yahweh God.

So, to “set your heart” means to prepare yourself, to get yourself ready, to position yourself in a strategically advantageous position to receive something. These people were willing to give up their homeland and their allotted inheritance in order to place themselves in a posture of worshipping Yahweh.

Rehoboam, on the other hand, did not put himself in a position to pursue God; he did not seek God nor wish to hear from God. He did not take advantage of the opportunities given to him, esteeming God lightly. He despised the grace of God, and the means of God’s grace; thus he wasted his life away.

What are you doing to position yourself strategically for maximum spiritual advantage? Do you allow your life to be squandered away chasing after things of this world, or do you consciously die to self, and constantly refuse to let certain opportunities pass you by? Do you resolve firmly to read the Word daily, to pray daily, to avail yourself of good Christian literature, to seize opportunities to fellowship, to provoke one another to love and good works? Or do you let these pass by you, or worse still, to come and participate in these activities without the right heart motive, and so gain nothing from them in the end?

It frightens me to find Christians who think lightly of attending Sunday worship services because they so take for granted the preaching they hear regularly. Having great blessings from God in abundance, they begin to be nonchalant about God’s grace, and are less and less keen to connect with God’s means of grace to them. They start to fill their lives with worldly pursuits that lead them to no good whatsoever. Are you like this? Are you beginning to be nonchalant toward God? Or have you set your heart to pursue God, firmly orchestrating your life so that you are in a position of maximum advantage to receive from God all that He has to give you?

Problematic Pattern
What are some tell-tale signs of a heart not set upon the Lord? After all, Rehoboam had seemed to walk with the Lord for 3 years. But what are some problematic patterns in his life, some warning signs?

Forsaking the Word of Yahweh
With success and prosperity in life, Rehoboam began to forsake God and His Word. He had the Word of God, and he consciously turned away from it, deliberately neglected it, rejected it, turned a deaf ear and a stiff neck against it.

Fishing for the Wisdom of Men
In 2 Chr 10:5, when Rehoboam asked for three days to consider the people’s request, he should have sought counsel from God and listened to Him. Instead he turned to men because he despised the wisdom of God. Contrast this with Paul, who after his conversion, sought time with God alone (Gal 1:15-17).

Do you go to man first or do you go to God first? We go to men because we are anxious to get a solution to our problem. But we go to God first when we are anxious to please God. Have you ever gone before the throne of grace, and asked God, “God, what do you think about this major for my degree, or this university, or this career choice, or this potential life partner?”

Finding Satisfaction in the Flesh
Rehoboam took sixty concubines who exist only for the fulfilment of the flesh and so, he did not seek satisfaction from God (2 Chr 11:18-21). He married for political expediency and entered into alliances with other nations to consolidate his rule. But he needed only Yahweh to protect him (Who had already made the Davidic Covenant that guaranteed his reign!).

You are not setting your heart to seek the Lord when you have a lifestyle pattern of seeking satisfaction in fleshly lusts. You do not allow God to satisfy you, you seek a satisfaction independent of God, a satisfaction that requires offending God to attain.

So, where is your satisfaction? Is it in God? Have you set your heart on seeking the Lord?

Conclusion
Remember the chilling words of 2 Chr 12:14, “He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.” Pray that the Lord will help each of us to set our heart to seek Him daily, in all that we do, to persevere and stay the course in faith, even when temptation and persecution come our way. Be like David, and resolve to be immovable, with our heart steadfast upon God, daily dying to self and giving up our will to do God’s will. Ask for God’s grace to anchor our heart on Christ the Rock so that our heart will be right with Him and that we will live our life glorifying Him.


Tan Soon Yong
- Tan Soon Yong is a pastor of The 'Fisherman of Christ' Fellowship and an editor of Fishers.

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