1 Kings 12:1-20 (Part 2) – One Big Circle Higher Than The Two Smaller Circles

Posted: January 7, 2019 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 12:1-20 (Part 2)

The Northern Tribes Revolt

Yesterday, we talked about the fact that Elena and I are passionate about mentoring couples who are either about to get married or whose marriages are in a tough place. There is an old saying in Christian circles that says, “God takes our mess and makes it our message!” That is certainly true in our case. We both have been down the paths of which we speak to our mentored couples about. We both have been through divorces. There is another saying in the counseling arena that says, “it takes two to get a divorce.” In both Elena and my case, we are people whose default behavior patterns are “just to get along.” We tend to not stand up for ourselves when others with more forceful personalities are involved in our lives. That was the case in each of our previous marriages. We pushed our feelings down and said nothing of the things that hurt us or made us feel less than when it came to our former spouses. We just went along to get along. Just accepting things that were against our desires or against our best interest. One thing that time and healing have showed us is that people will fill the vacuums that you leave open to them. We have learned that going along just to get along is no way to be married. We cannot be afraid to express our feelings. If the other person in your marriage values you, they will be willing to hear you and respect your feelings as being valid.

We came to learn that we played a role in our own demise in marriage. We never spoke up. Ground was ceded to the other partner to the point that it was no longer a marriage but one person getting their way to the point of crushing the spirit of such as ours. We were both so determined to be accepted, approved and liked that we lost ourselves at the altar of the approval of others. When you make approval and the lack of conflict your god, you lose who you are and the other person in the marriage will by default believe that this is the way things are supposed to be and live in that place of choosing their own path and us reacting to that. We know that marriage should be a place where both people are valued. Marriage should be a place where both spouses see the marriage as greater than their own individual needs and desires. That means that since two people make up a marriage we must actually care about the feelings and desires and rights of our spouse and respect them. We saw ourselves as victims for a long time but over time and through the work of the Holy Spirit we came to see that we played a role in our own demise. It is tendency of any of us to blame the other spouse fully for a divorce but we each play a role when a marriage falls apart.

So often today, in our culture, we are taught to look at for number one and that our own personal rights are paramount to anything and everything else. We carry this cultural mandate into our marriages. We think that our needs are the most important and that our spouse should naturally understand that and comply. I want what I want and you deal with the fallout is the attitude with which we often enter marriage. It is the American way. We are individualists. And particularly in today’s era in which we live, individual rights are considered more important than anything. No longer is the good of society considered in social issues. The needs of society today are placed below the full flower of self-expression of individual will. Thus, marriage in today’s culture pits the individual against the group – the group being the marriage of husband and wife.

That was the thing that I thought of this morning as I read through this passage once again – how we place our individual rights today in marriage above the needs of the marriage itself. Let’s read how this idea of placing my own needs about the needs of others plays out in 1 Kings 12:1-20:

Chapter 12

1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt,[a] for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. 3 The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. 4 “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.”

5 Rehoboam replied, “Give me three days to think this over. Then come back for my answer.” So the people went away.

6 Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”

7 The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”

8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. 9 “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?”

10 The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered. 13 But Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors 14 and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!”

15 So the king paid no attention to the people. This turn of events was the will of the Lord, for it fulfilled the Lord’s message to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.

16 When all Israel realized that the king had refused to listen to them, they responded,

“Down with the dynasty of David!

    We have no interest in the son of Jesse.

Back to your homes, O Israel!

    Look out for your own house, O David!”

So the people of Israel returned home. 17 But Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah.

18 King Rehoboam sent Adoniram,[b] who was in charge of forced labor, to restore order, but the people of Israel stoned him to death. When this news reached King Rehoboam, he quickly jumped into his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. 19 And to this day the northern tribes of Israel have refused to be ruled by a descendant of David.

20 When the people of Israel learned of Jeroboam’s return from Egypt, they called an assembly and made him king over all Israel. So only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the family of David.

In this passage, we see that both Jeraboam and Rehoboam did what was good for themselves, not what was good for their people. Rehoboam was harsh and did not listen to the people’s demands. Jeroboam established new places of worship to keep his people from traveling to Jerusalem, Rehoboam’s capital. Both actions backfired. Rehoboam’s move divided the nation and Jeroboam’s move turned the people away from God. We must always consider the health of our marriages or any group of which we are a part above our own personal desires. Making decisions in marriage or any other group setting that bring advantage only to you will cause you to lose more than if you had the welfare of others in mind.

In marriage mentoring or in counseling with other married couples, we often use the visual of making a circle with our hand and placing it up in the air slightly above our head and telling the other couple that it represents their marriage. Then, making two smaller circles in the air just below that, and saying that represents each of them. Notice that the circle representing the marriage is higher than the circles that represent them. We say that they should always place the marriage above themselves. Is this action I am going to take going to benefit the marriage and keep that circle above the individual circles? When we think that way, we must consider what our actions are going to do to our spouse or consider how it is going to make them feel. When we think that way, it changes our perspective. When both spouses begin to think that way, they gain new respect and love for the other. We get so caught up in our own view of life, it takes intention to think of the needs of the marriage and thus our spouse before we just run off and act the way we want. Just as Jeroboam and Rehoboam were both selfish in their acts, so too can we be in our marriages. Jeroboam and Rehoboam’s acts destroyed what was once a mighty and united nation. In the weakness the came after their selfish acts, they were susceptible to the attacks of the other nations in the region. Similarly, our selfish acts in marriage can bring about a similar fate.

When I think of how we should be toward our spouses in our marriages, I think of Jesus. Here he was – God in all His glory. He set aside His rights. He is the Creator of the universe but He so loved us that He gave up what He had a right to have and came to earth and lived among us. He loved us so much that He sacrificed Himself on the cross for us. He did not have to do that. He has the ultimate set of rights as the Ruler and Creator of the Universe. If anyone had a RIGHT to be selfish, it is the Creator of All Things. However, He set aside His rights so that He could give us something eternal – a way to be reconciled to God. His great love for us was such that He set aside His glory to give us what we needed at the cross. If the Creator of All Things can do that, we must treat our marriages the same way. We should consider the needs of our marriage before we consider our own rights. It is the willing love for our spouse that we lay down of selfish needs and desires and make sure that they are taken care of. When we do that, something amazing happens – the other person reciprocates. Just as we love Jesus immensely for what He did willingly for us on the cross, so too can our marriages be made stronger by two people seeking to meet the needs of the others.

Amen and Amen. ){o._previousl

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