1 Kings 14:29-15:8 (Part 1) – A Nation Divided: To Heal It, We Must Begin in Our Homes

Posted: February 2, 2019 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 14:29-15:8 (Part 1 of 2)

Abijam Rules in Judah

Yesterday, we talked about our nation and the lost art of compromise and the elevation of individual rights over and above the needs of society as a whole. When I read today’s passage, 1 Kings 14:29-15:8, it kind of made me sick to my stomach as we see history repeating itself before our very eyes in today’s America. The key thing that I keep coming back to when I read this passage is the theme of civil war between Judah and Israel during this post-Solomon period of the reigns of Jeroboam in the north and Rehoboam and his heir and son, Abijam in the south. The author of this passage makes it clear that there was constant military action between the now separate nations of Israel and Judah both between Jeroboam and Rehoboam and then Jeroboam and Abijam. All this did was to weaken each nation and make each one susceptible to invasion by foreign powers such as Egypt, Assyrian, and Babylon.

The civil war between the north and the south of Israel was about arrogance and pride. There was no art of compromise between the nations. Rehoboam was so arrogant that he did not pay heed to the fact that the entire nation was weary of the building projects and the taxation programs of Solomon in his latter years. He should have given the nation a rest from taxes. But he took the arrogant route of taking the suggestions of lowering taxes as being an affront to him personally. He felt his power being questioned and wanted to prove a point. Likewise, Jeroboam who led the split of the northern kingdom instead of letting his people worship in Jerusalem set up an alternative religion. Each one became entrenched in their positions and were unwilling to compromise for the sake of the nation. Add on top of that, the started internal wars between the two related but now separate nations. These actions used up resources that could have been used to defend the nations from outsiders. It’s like two brothers fighting each other while thieves steal them blind in the background.

That is the place that we find ourselves as a nation at the moment. We are at war within and we are weakened by it. We have lost the art of compromise and elevated individual desires above all else. When we worship the things that we want, we lose the ability to see that crushing our brother is no victory. We simply have become weaker as a nation when that happens and grows the discontent among those who see their ideals slipping away. When we demonize the opposition, it is impossible for us to compromise. When we see our way as the only way, we are at war internally. Bullets are not being fired in this war, but the nation is weakened when we must completely obliterate the opposition, even if its politically and not militarily.

After writing about the similarities between ancient Israel/Judah and the United States, let us now read about there was constant civil war between the two sides of the tribes of Israel:

29 The rest of the events in Rehoboam’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 30 There was constant war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 31 When Rehoboam died, he was buried among his ancestors in the City of David. His mother was Naamah, an Ammonite woman. Then his son Abijam became the next king.

Chapter 15

1 Abijam began to rule over Judah in the eighteenth year of Jeroboam’s reign in Israel. 2 He reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother was Maacah, the granddaughter of Absalom.

3 He committed the same sins as his father before him, and he was not faithful to the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had been. 4 But for David’s sake, the Lord his God allowed his descendants to continue ruling, shining like a lamp, and he gave Abijam a son to rule after him in Jerusalem. 5 For David had done what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and had obeyed the Lord’s commands throughout his life, except in the affair concerning Uriah the Hittite.

6 There was war between Abijam and Jeroboam throughout Abijam’s reign. 7 The rest of the events in Abijam’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. There was constant war between Abijam and Jeroboam. 8 When Abijam died, he was buried in the City of David. Then his son Asa became the next king.

After reading the passage, and thinking about our nation as it stands at this integral moment in its history, the rush that came over me is that we must change this from the ground up. The reason that our nation has come to point of impasse is that we are no longer a nation of people that respects one another’s positions as having any validity. And it begins in our homes! We must change in the most basic unit of our society – the home. We have become a nation where what I want is the most important thing and that includes how we interact in our homes. Our divorce rate in America reflects the fact that each of us place our personal desires above those of our spouse and of our children. Everyone must adapt to what we want. No longer are we willing to work through marital problems. No longer are we willing to see our spouse’s rights and needs as equally as valid as ours. If we don’t like it, we just divorce and try on a new spouse.

As a politicians, our leaders should do what is best for the nation as a whole. But our politicians are reflection of us. In our homes, we must begin to make our marriages greater than ourselves. Maybe, we should begin by placing God in charge of choosing our mate rather than our personal fleshly desires. Maybe then, we can have marriages where we recognize the God-given validity of the needs of our spouses. Maybe then, we can have marriages where we really want to honor our spouses. Maybe then, we can love our spouses so much that we want them to thrive. Maybe then, we can have marriages where we both are concerned about meeting the needs of the other spouse. Maybe then, we can have marriages that will survive disagreements because we are both working to do what is best for the marriage as a whole and not just ourselves. Maybe then, we can let our children see that and they will grow up the same way. Maybe then, we will have children who become leaders who will see across the aisle and respect the opposition. Maybe then, we can do what is best for the country rather than our political affiliation. Maybe then, we can become a united nation again!

If we are to change the course of the nation, we must begin in our homes!

Amen and Amen.

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