Tuesday: The Division of the Hebrew Nation

The path of apostasy, and its dire consequences, didn’t happen overnight. But the wrong choices and decisions that accumulated over the long centuries finally led to some terrible consequences for God’s people.

Read the story of King Rehoboam in 1 Kings 12:1-16. What caused this terrible division among God’s people?

Division of the Kingdoms

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“Had Rehoboam and his inexperienced counselors understood the divine will concerning Israel, they would have listened to the request of the people for decided reforms in the administration of the government. But in the hour of opportunity that came to them during the meeting in Shechem, they failed to reason from cause to effect, and thus forever weakened their influence over a large number of the people. Their expressed determination to perpetuate and add to the oppression introduced during Solomon’s reign was in direct conflict with God’s plan for Israel, and gave the people ample occasion to doubt the sincerity of their motives. In this unwise and unfeeling attempt to exercise power, the king and his chosen counselors revealed the pride of position and authority.” – Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 90.

What do the following statements say about the need for wisdom in making the right decisions? Where is the source of true wisdom?

Prov. 4:1-9

Prov. 9:10

James 1:5

The story of Rehoboam and his rash and unwise decision to impose more conscripted labor on his people is a sad event in the life of the kingdom of Israel. The king sought counsel from two groups of advisors, but his final decision to follow the counsel of less-experienced young men his own age brought a catastrophe on the kingdom that his father Solomon and grandfather David had built during the preceding 80 years. The advice that the king should intimidate the crowd by declaring that he is tougher than his father was foolish counsel. The young advisors believed that to be sympathetic of the people’s demands for less-rigorous labor was not the leadership style the king should adopt. He should, they said, present himself as ruthless and cruel instead. In the end, he showed himself to be a bully and undeserving of his people’s allegiance and faithfulness. Hence, a division occurred among God’s people that never should have been there and that was never God’s plan for His people.


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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons