“Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam.”
II Chronicles 11:4
Rehoboam was the son of Solomon and the heir to the throne of David. Soon after Rehoboam succeeded his father as king, the kingdom was divided. Because of Rehoboam’s decision to take heed to the counsel of his peers and ignore the counsel of the aged, the majority of the families and tribes rebelled, rejecting Rehoboam as their king, and followed after Jeroboam. Thus, Rehoboam was the king of Judah and Jeroboam became the king of Israel. As soon as Rehoboam was able, he assembled a great army to attack Israel and bring those back into the kingdom who had left him. However, God sent a prophet to give Rehoboam a message, which is recorded in our text. Judah was not to attack their “brethren” because God said, “this thing is done of me.” God had a hand in this division of the kingdom, and He did not want Rehoboam seeking to reunite those who defected. This must have been a very painful day in the lives of those who witnessed this great schism. Families and friends were torn apart, yet God said about the division, “this thing is done of me.”
The seeds of rebellion and idolatry were already producing an unholy harvest in Israel. Those who revolted and followed Jeroboam became even more openly idolatrous. Jeroboam produced two calves of gold and urged the people to worship them. He made priests of those who were not qualified to serve. As painful as the division was that divided Israel and Judah, it provided a separation that proved beneficial. Those who were comfortable with false worship and rebellion were content to follow Jeroboam. There were some who were earnest in their desire to seek the Lord and actually returned to Jerusalem, Judah, and Rehoboam. God used the separation for good.
Sometimes when things happen that we don’t understand, we can only imagine that harm and loss can come of it. What we fail to recognize, at least initially, is that God is able to use things in ways that we never dreamed possible. We ought to trust Him to work His will out, even in life’s most painful occasions. As children of faith, we want to rely on Him completely, refusing to lean on our own understanding.