When you look at the world around you, how do you understand the times we are living in? If there is hardship, or things aren’t going in the way you think is right, how do you come to a conclusion about the reasons for the circumstances you see? Many of the Old Testament books explain the why’s behind the things that happened. There were a lot of times God sent His prophets to explain the times to the kings who were responsible for leading Israel. We don’t have that luxury, but we can study history and see patterns that still apply to us today. When they were successful, it because they were faithful to God. When they ended in ruin, it was because they did what was evil in God’s sight. God always made sure that His people knew and understood His standards, and He consistently modeled compassion by warning them and giving them opportunities to repent. Certainly, the same principles apply to us today?
After Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam became king. The people told him that if he would lighten the heavy load of service that his father had put on them, that they would be dedicated to him. Solomon had taxed the people heavily for all of his years of building the temple, his houses, etc. They wanted relief.
Rehoboam asked the advice of the elders who Solomon used to consult. They told him to do as the people requested and that the people would serve him, but Rehoboam wasn’t content with that. He consulted young advisors who told him to tell the people he would use an even heavier hand than his father had. He chose to follow the foolish advise of the young and inexperienced men, rather than the sound advice of the elders. It divided the nation. He decided to try to unite the nation by force, and pulled together 180,000 warriors, but God sent a messenger to tell give them all direction. “You shall not go up or fight against your relatives; return every man to his house, for this thing is from Me.”
When I read this account, what stands out is that statement that God made: “This thing is from Me.”
It was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Solomon that the kingdom would be torn from his son’s hand because of Solomon’s unfaithfulness in his later years. In 1 Kings 11:13 says, “…but i will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” Granted, Rehoboam’s years as king are recorded as “folly,” but he came into his position without God’s blessing and wisdom to rule because of his father’s immoral choices. If Solomon had made the decision to remain faithful to God, Rehoboam’s options would have looked a lot different.
A lot of times, we never think about how our decisions will impact others. Did you know that science has found that some of our decisions actually change our DNA? The individual who makes choices that lead to a first generation addiction, for example, experiences changes in their DNA so that any children they have will inherit a stronger disposition toward that addiction. It isn’t all environment. The individual who makes choices to overcome inherited traits experiences favorable changes in their DNA that will provide their children with a disposition which is less prone to temptation in that area. It takes several generations to completely heal the genetics.
If you need wise counsel, do you know where to go? Sometimes, in our ministry, we hear a young person say they are going to do something that is blatantly against the guidelines God gives us in the Bible. If confronted on their decision, their justification is to say, “Well, I prayed about it!” Really?
- Did you listen for God’s answer?
- Did you remember that God won’t give you direction that is different from the guidelines for living that He put in the Bible?
- Did you look at what the Bible says about your situation?
- Did you ask a trusted, Godly leader for counsel? Or did you go to friends who you knew would agree with you?
There are always people who can make us feel good about any decision, but the approval of men doesn’t make our choices right. The decisions that are in agreement with God’s word are right, and typically, when we make morally right decisions, the options that follow are much more favorable.
God isn’t likely to send a prophet to give us specific directions the way He did for Rehoboam, but He doesn’t need to if we look at the examples He has given us in the Bible and learn to understand the times and our circumstances. As much as no one ever likes to think about “bad” or “hard” being from God, we need to understand that sin has consequences. And when we do wrong and bad things are the result, instead of blaming God or others, we can accept the responsibility for our choices, our actions, and repent. Godly sorrow, followed by true character change, is what brings healing and restoration every. single. time.
Are negative consequences loving? Yes. If I don’t correct my children when their behavior is destructive to themselves and others, I am not loving them. It’s when I am willing to allow them to endure some consequences while helping them understand why their actions are wrong that I am loving them. Because if they continue to act destructively, someday their “house” will fall apart, like Solomon’s did. But if their lives are built on Jesus Christ, and they make the wise choices to follow Him, their lives will be very blessed, now and eternally. That’s love.