The story of Israel and Judah is mostly a sad one. King after king rejected God, with disastrous consequences. David’s example of passionate obedience became the “gold standard” against which all the future kings were measured—and most were found wanting.
Solomon, with all his wisdom, still married foreign wives, who brought their pagan idols into their marriage and into the popular culture. It’s therefore no surprise that his son Rehoboam became an idolator. Consider 2 Chronicles 12:
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.
Don’t we do this? As long as we think we need God, we’re happy—desperate—to seek Him. But the moment we think we have life all figured out, when we believe life is something we can handle on our own, we wave good-bye and head off on our own. But what does God want from us above all else?
Ourselves. He created us to fellowship with Him. He wants to be with us. He wants us to be with Him.
Because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam…. Then the prophet Shemaiah … said to them, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.’”
If we only pay attention to Him when we’re in trouble, well, it’s only understandable that He’ll go out of His way to allow us some trouble!
The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is just.”
When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands.”
What is the difference between serving God and serving others? Who has our best interests at heart? Who wants to bless us, not curse us? Who has the power to make all things work for our good? Who loves us to the point of sacrifice? God doesn’t want our company so He can be mean to us. He wants us so He can bless us. Most of all, He blesses us with Himself.
Yet, we run off to serve other kings. We work ourselves to death for the lord of materialism. We neglect others so we can rise in influence and position. Instead of serving God, we serve our gods. Most of all, we serve ourselves.
How often, when God asks something of us, do we tell Him no? We’re too busy, we don’t have enough resources, that person annoys us.
What will I give the most important Person on my Christmas list? There’s only one thing he really wants from me.