KING REHOBOAM ASKS FOR ADVICE
Scripture: I Kings 11:28-43; 12:1-24; Proverbs 1:7
Memory verse: Proverbs 1:7
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
Talk about the fact that bad advice brings us down. It doesn’t guide us to a right decision. We must be careful to listen to good advice from good sources.
Tell the class this week’s lesson is about a king who received good and bad advice. Encourage them to listen and find out what happened to him.
Hearing God’s Word
Solomon was a very wealthy king. He was also very wise just as God promised. But many years later, when Solomon was old, he stopped doing what he knew was wise. Instead he began acting selfishly. He stopped worshipping the one true God and began to worship false gods in order to please his heathen wives. He also made the people pay high taxes in order to pay for his expensive palace.
Ahijah Speaks To Jeroboam
One day a prophet named Ahijah met Jeroboam, a boss over Solomon’s workers. Ahijah tore his new cloak he was wearing into 12 pieces. He promised that Solomon’s kingdom would be split. He said Jeroboam would be the king over 10 tribes of Israel.
Solomon found out what Ahijah said to Jeroboam. It made him so angry he wanted to kill Jeroboam. Jeroboam fled to Egypt to hide.
The People Complain
After King Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became the new king. When Jeroboam heard that, he came back from his hiding place in Egypt. Many of the people were glad to see him. They had grown tired of King Solomon’s unfair taxes. They thought now perhaps there would be a change for the better. They chose Jeroboam to be their spokesman. Together they would go to the new king and complain. Maybe he would listen and be a good king.
“Your father made us work hard. Please make our work load lighter and our taxes less. We’ll be good servants to you if you’ll do this,” the people told Rehoboam.
Ask: “How do you think Rehoboam should have responded to the people’s request? How would you have answered?” (Allow responses.)
What was Rehoboam’s answer to the request? (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 12:5.) “I’ll think it over. Come back in 3 days,” he told them.
Rehoboam Seeks Advice
Rehoboam was faced with a hard decision. He was new at this job of being king. He didn’t want to make any mistakes. If he did, the people would not like him any better than they had his father Solomon after he became harsh.
King Rehoboam decided to get some help with his decision. (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 12:6) He asked advice from the older men of the kingdom who had experience and wisdom.
Ask: What do you think the older men said? (Allow response.) Ask a student to read 1 Kings 12:7
“You’d better listen to what the people are saying,” the older men said. “If you will think of yourself as a servant instead of a king and if you will be good to the people and say good things to them, they will serve you forever.”
But Rehoboam wasn’t convinced. It seems that wasn’t the advice he wanted to hear. Rehoboam might have seemed very sure of himself, but he really was a coward. He knew what he wanted to do and he was trying to find someone to agree with him. That way he thought he wouldn’t be totally responsible if the people decided to rebel. He could put part of the blame on someone else.
People are like that sometimes. It’s always easier when there is someone to share the blame for a mistake. We can always defend ourselves by saying, “My sister did it too” or “My brother made me do it.” But God gave each of us a mind and the ability to know right from wrong.
Next, King Rehoboam sent for some young men who had grown up with him. “I have a problem,” Rehoboam said. “Some of the people, led by Jeroboam, came and asked me to lighten their work load and lower their taxes. What do you think I should do?”
The young men felt very important. They decided to tell the king to be tough. Their advice was a lot different from that of the older men. They said, “If they think your father made them work hard, then you should make them work even harder. Your father beat them with whips, you should beat them with scorpions.” Rehoboam liked what he heard from the young men. He decided to follow their advice.
When the third day came, Jeroboam and all the people gathered to hear what King Rehoboam had to say. But the king’s message wasn’t what they had expected to hear. “Oh, people, my royal subjects, hear this,” Rehoboam began. “My father made you work hard. But you haven’t seen anything yet. Now your yoke will be harder than before, and punishment for not obeying my laws will be even more severe. Don’t expect things to be any easier.”
The people were upset at what King Rehoboam had said. They shouted, “Why are we even bothering with this man? Let’s go home! Let Rehoboam be king of his own family!” Then the people left. They had rejected Rehoboam as their king.
Soon after this, King Rehoboam sent a man named Adoram to the people to collect taxes from them. But the people refused to pay. They had decided if the king was going to be harsh like his father, they would quit paying taxes. The people even stoned Adoram to death to prove their point.
Too late Rehoboam realized he had made a big mistake. He knew the people would never be his servants now. He fled to Jerusalem and made plans to fight Israel. But God spoke to him and the people. God said they must not fight against their brothers. So Rehoboam’s army went home.
Jeroboam Rules 10 Tribes
There were 10 tribes of Israel who rejected Rehoboam as their king. These tribes formed their own government and asked Jeroboam to be their king. They became known as the Northern Kingdom and kept the name Israel.
The tribes of Judah and Benjamin continued to let Rehoboam rule over them. These two tribes together were called Judah or the Southern Kingdom.
How different Rehoboam’s life would have been if he had listened to wise counsel! The experience of the older men could have been very valuable to him in his reign as king. But because of Rehoboam’s foolishness and selfishness, many people suffered. Rehoboam would have been much happier if he had lived by the words of our memory verse this week. (Review the memory verse.)
Disobedience is like that. It often doesn’t affect just one person; it affects many others too. This makes it important to listen to people we know we can trust to lead us the right way.
Accepting God’s Word
Remind the students that our best source of wisdom is God. Wisdom is found in His Word, the Bible. Stress that the wisest thing the Bible tells us to do is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. It is very wise to be sure our eternity is secure with God.
Explain the plan of salvation. Pray individually with each one who wants to accept Jesus. Then instruct them in the basics of Christian living and encourage them to share their decision for Jesus with someone this week.
Presenting the gospel to the Hausa requires one to learn their language. Shortly after our arrival, my wife and I were placed at a Hausa-speaking Bible school. Immediately we began studying the language. I also began teaching at the Bible school, relying upon Yohanna to interpret for me. He was a Hausa believer; a man I learned to respect and depend on in presenting biblical truth to the students.
Yohanna's oldest son was attending the Roman Catholic secondary school. One day I suggested to Yohanna that it didn't look good for him to be working at the Bible school and his son attending a Roman Catholic school. He explained that if his son attended mass on Sunday morning, he was permitted to attend school without paying any school fees. He agreed with me, but finding money for school fees was difficult.
I arranged with Yohanna for his son to work in our yard every day after school and paid him for his labor. The son was 13-years old. I began reading the Bible and praying with him often. It was my privilege to disciple this young man, teaching him to tithe, have daily devotions, and to be a witness of his faith in Jesus Christ. Later he went to Bible school, became a pastor, and today serves as an important leader in the national church. Thank God for the privilege of helping to shape the life of a Hausa believer!
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Hausa Chiefs
1. Every Hausa chief to have personal contact with a born-again believer.
2. Chiefs to accept and permit believers in Christ Jesus to own property, live under their rule and be free to worship publicly.
3. Farmers in rural areas to receive the seed of God's Word and be saved.
"Ask the Lord of the harvest...to send out workers into his harvest field" (Matthew 9:39).
Study8 | God's Character/O.T. Kings | africaatts.org/go-teach