His Will, His Way
We often want things our own way. Sometimes, we catch ourselves not fully grasping what it means in Proverbs when Scripture assures us that although we will plan our steps, The Lord is the one who establishes them. (Proverbs 16:9)
Instead of taking Scripture for what it says and trusting it word for word, we sometimes, maybe even unknowingly, think our plan could be better. Our passion for other things can sometimes override our desire to please Christ and trust in His plan for us. We forget the goodness and faithfulness of Christ because we’ve moved our eyes to other things. And before we know it, we’re worshipping idols instead of The One True King.
That’s what we see happen to Solomon in 1 Kings. Solomon was the third and last king of a united Israel. During Solomon’s reign, we see great things unfold. The Kingdom was thriving! She was at her peak in size and glory. But then, we watch Solomon’s eyes begin to move to other things. His love and passion for pagan wives causes division within his relationship with God and even the kingdom he was overseeing, Israel. His desire to worship and please God was no longer his only mission. His heart was divided, and therefore, the kingdom would be, too. No longer a united kingdom, Israel was now considered the north and Judah was the south.
Despite the faithfulness of God within Solomon’s reign, Solomon’s eyes began to shift from the goodness of God to the things of this world. His obsession with women became an idol and before long, he was worshipping the gods of his many wives. Naturally, this made God angry. But, even still, He was a God of mercy. David, Solomon’s father, was a devoted king prior to Solomon’s reign. He loved the Lord with all of his heart and because of that, God left one tribe to the Davidic line, Judah.
Next, we know that God used the prophet Ahijah to speak to one of Solomon’s servants, Jeroboam. Ahijah took off his new cloak, tore it into twelve pieces (representing the tribes), and told Jeroboam to pick up ten of those pieces. Those ten tribes would one day be under the reign of Jeroboam. God assured Jeroboam that if he remained faithful to God, God would remain faithful to him. Solomon became angry over this prophecy and wanted Jeroboam killed, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt.
Later, Solomon died. Many of Israel’s descendants who had fled to Egypt returned to Israel, including Jeroboam, and at this point, Solomon’s son was to take reign. Solomon’s son was named Rehoboam and as soon as he took over, he had a choice to make. The people had been heavily taxed by Solomon and hoped that through Rehoboam’s leadership, that load could be lightened. Although Rehoboam sought wise counsel from the elders, he ultimately listened to his young, more inexperienced, advisers who told him to actually RAISE the taxes even more.
Ultimately, this led to the kingdom split. Rehoboam would now reign over the lands of Judah and Jeroboam would be king over the other ten tribes, which was now the nation of Israel.
Although God had given great promises to Jeroboam, Jeroboam eventually turned his back on God and began to build temples and altars to God and the other gods of his people. Jeroboam feared that if he did not do this, the people would go to Jerusalem to worship and never return. Jeroboam’s heart was now taken over by idolatry.
In the southern kingdom, Rehoboam was also turning people away from God. He reigned for seventeen years before his death. Some of the kings who reigned after Rehoboam tried to lead the nation back to God, and other kings did not.
We can see from this great divide that our plans work best when we walk hand in hand with our Father. Trusting and believing that even when it doesn’t make sense, His plans are for our good. And even when we can’t see it, His promises remain true. How could we ever want anything more?
Follow our Contributing Writer - Hannah Dunaway