2 Chronicles 11:1-4 – When Reconciliation Ends & Standing On Principle Begins

Posted: August 12, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 11:1-4

Shemaiah’s Prophecy

Opening Illustration/Comments

There was a Church Growth & Revitalization professor of mine that once told us during a lecture that “sometimes, you have to choose who you are going to lose!” That was a pretty profound one-liner. It was an eye-catcher. He went on to say that in churches that often the people themselves are the reason a church is dying not any external factors. He said often there are those in churches who have lost sight of the original vision of a church when it was founded. That vision for all churches regardless of era or regardless of place is quite simple – to deepen the walk of believers with their Master, Jesus Christ, and to drawn non-believers into our midst so that we can share the Good News with them. Ultimately, the two-fold purpose of churches are, in their barest essence, discipleship and evangelism. Many other activities hang off those two pegs of a church but when you boil any of these other activities down to their core – they are can be classified as one or the other. These main two principles are the two-fold purpose of the church – to deepen the well and to broaden the base of those who call the well home.

Sometimes, churches get turned sideways and lose sight of the core of what churches are supposed to be all about, then, division can set in. Why? Because once we lose sight of our main two purposes, church can then become about serving ourselves and what we want and what we think we need. Once we lose sight of our main two purposes, a church can begin to have an inward focus rather than an outward one. Then it becomes about one’s pet preferences jockeying against other pet preferences. When we have an inward focus, these things can cause us to begin fighting with each other instead of facing outward in unity. Sometimes, God has to shake things up in churches when people refuse to seek reconciliation and keep things stirred up. Just as when the northern kingdom split from the southern kingdom because of Rehoboam’s unbiblical and sinister plan to burden the people even further than his father with more and more taxes, there have been instances in churches where the only solution to regain the two fold purpose of the church was for their to be a split. Sure, we as Christ followers are to seek reconciliation and do that through mutually finding out what God’s will is instead of our own, but there are times when we as sinful people just simply refuse to see anything but our own way. Sometimes, we wrap up our personal opinions in the moniker of the will of God and mistake our own self-interests for the will of God. When that happens, often reconciliation cannot be found.

God has a greater purpose, the two-fold purpose, for every church. To deepen and to broaden the pool of believers in Jesus Christ. When we get sidetracked from that through dissension and in-fighting and prideful refusals to seek reconciliation, then sometimes the only answer is to forge a new road. God has allowed splits in the church when there has been refusal to seek reconciliation and mutually find God’s will such as the split off of the Protestant churches from the mothership original church, the Catholic Church (catholic is Latin for universal). Sometimes, as my professor said, “you have to choose who you lose, sometimes!” Sometimes, God has to clean out that which is impeding the church from its two-fold purpose so that it can get back to the work of the church intended by God.

It is that idea of wondering why God allowed this rebellion, this split up of the united Israelite kingdom to stand that I thought about this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 11:1-4. Let’s read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

Chapter 11

1 When Rehoboam arrived at Jerusalem, he mobilized the men of Judah and Benjamin—180,000 select troops—to fight against Israel and to restore the kingdom to himself.

2 But the Lord said to Shemaiah, the man of God, 3 “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the Israelites in Judah and Benjamin: 4 ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not fight against your relatives. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!’” So they obeyed the message of the Lord and did not fight against Jeroboam.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that Rehoboam’s foolishness divided the kingdom in two and that he was going to try to reunite it by force. We also see that God interceded and allowed the rebellion to take life. It was part of the entire nation’s punishment for beginning to turn away from God (see 1 Kings 11:1). There are several things to take note of here. First, it may have been God’s way of preserving the Davidic royal line from defeat. The two smaller tribes that would become the kingdom of Judah would have been vastly outnumbered by the 10 other tribes that would become the northern kingdom. Though Judah was the largest tribe of Israel and add the smallest in Benjamin, the southern kingdom would have had a good sized fighting force, they would have simply been outnumbered by the collective forces of the 10 other tribes in the north. In allowing the rebellion to stand, God may have preserved David’s line and kept intact His plan for the Messiah to be a descendant of David (see 2 Samuel 7:16).

Although we should always lead with reconciliation where we resolve disputes, sometimes, people are hellbent on creating division. God desires unity and we must seek to work together to resolve our differences such that unity is the result. However, not all attempts at reconciliation will succeed. God, then, at times, will allow a split within a group so that the remaining folks can concentrate of accomplishing God’s will for the group rather than be caught up with inwardly focused struggles that only destroy the witness of God’s people to a community through a local body of believers.

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that we are to seek reconciliation in all conflicts in a loving manner. There should be every attempt made for both sides to come together and have the humility to seek God’s will and not our own. If we are being true to Christ, we will be seeking God’s will instead of our own. However, Satan loves to turn churches sideways with dissension resulting from pride. That way, he distracts us from our main purposes – discipleship and evangelism. There comes a point in our lives, personally and with churches, where one side simply refuses to let go of their own self-interest and seek God’s true will. In those situations, we cannot compromise our biblical beliefs nor the mission of the church. Not all attempts at reconciliation will be successful. Let us all make sure that we have tried to reconcile and that we are not mistaking our own self-will for that of God’s. If we can assure ourselves that we are in alignment with God’s will and with Scripture, then, there are times we have to draw the line in the sand and get back to the business of discipleship and evangelism. Those who refuse to let go of their own self-interest may walk away at this point and that may be OK if we get back to the business of Christ’s church as a result. That’s not to say that the door is closed on that person or that group. We would be remiss as Christians if we did not welcome them back with open arms when they have come around to God’s will. Reconciliation through God’s will is always our aim.

Amen and Amen.

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