Day 38: Listening to Your Elders

Today’s reading: 2 Chronicles 10-19, Ps 57-58

Much of the reading will again sound familiar today, but keep your eyes alert for how the Chronicler interprets certain events along the way. In a number of places, if you pay close attention you will notice how he often casts a favorable light on Judah and its kings; they represent the “faithful remnant” of a nation that has gone astray. For two examples, you might go back and read the brief accounts of Kings Abijah and Asa from 1 Kings 15 in comparison to what the Chronicler tells us about their reigns.

Our reading begins today with Rehoboam, son of Solomon, who from all indications has inherited the throne of a wealthy nation in relatively stable circumstances. There is, however, the matter of Jeroboam that requires his immediate attention. From 1 Kings, we know that Jeroboam had risen as an adversary late in Solomon’s rule and had fled to Egypt for asylum. Now, as Rehoboam takes the throne, he appears ready to come home, offering himself and all his many followers in service to the new king.

Rehoboam consults the elders, whose sage advice sounds like it could have come right out of a Stephen Covey book–“think win-win,” they tell him. Then he chats with his old school chums to see what they think, and they puff him up with arrogant bravado. Any attempt to consult God is strangely absent from the episode–you would think Rehoboam would have learned from his father’s prayer for wisdom and knowledge as king.

He ends up choosing pride over compassion. And in one rash, ill-advised decision, he loses over 90% of the kingdom. The culpability for a nation that will remain divided for generations to come rests squarely on Rehoboam’s shoulders. Oh, if he had only listened to his elders.

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