2 Chronicles 11-12 & Revelation 2

2 Chronicles 11-12

    When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled the house of Judah and Benjamin, 180,000 chosen warriors, to fight against Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God: “Say to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, ‘Thus says the LORD, You shall not go up or fight against your relatives. Return every man to his home, for this thing is from me.’” So they listened to the word of the LORD and returned and did not go against Jeroboam.

    Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem, and he built cities for defense in Judah. He built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron, fortified cities that are in Judah and in Benjamin. He made the fortresses strong, and put commanders in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine. And he put shields and spears in all the cities and made them very strong. So he held Judah and Benjamin.

    And the priests and the Levites who were in all Israel presented themselves to him from all places where they lived. For the Levites left their common lands and their holdings and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons cast them out from serving as priests of the LORD, and he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat idols and for the calves that he had made. And those who had set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the LORD, the God of their fathers. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam the son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.

    Rehoboam took as wife Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David, and of Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse, and she bore him sons, Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. After her he took Maacah the daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. Rehoboam loved Maacah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and concubines (he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters). And Rehoboam appointed Abijah the son of Maacah as chief prince among his brothers, for he intended to make him king. And he dealt wisely and distributed some of his sons through all the districts of Judah and Benjamin, in all the fortified cities, and he gave them abundant provisions and procured wives for them.

    When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen. And the people were without number who came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians. And he took the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the LORD, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.’” Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is righteous.” When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”

    So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. He took away the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king's house. He took away everything. He also took away the shields of gold that Solomon had made, and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king's house. And as often as the king went into the house of the LORD, the guard came and carried them and brought them back to the guardroom. And when he humbled himself the wrath of the LORD turned from him, so as not to make a complete destruction. Moreover, conditions were good in Judah.

    So King Rehoboam grew strong in Jerusalem and reigned. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put his name there. His mother's name was Naamah the Ammonite. And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.

    Now the acts of Rehoboam, from first to last, are they not written in the chronicles of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer? There were continual wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David, and Abijah his son reigned in his place.

(2 Chronicles 11-12 ESV)

Revelation 2

    “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

    “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

    “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

    “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

    “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

    “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

    “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

    “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

(Revelation 2 ESV)

Something to Consider

2 Chronicles 12: As soon as Rehoboam gets comfortable as King and no longer feels threatened by Jeroboam, he (along with the rest of Israel) forgets about God. Throughout the course of human history, God's people have struggled under circumstances of freedom and power. If we're not careful, the comforts of success have a way of carrying us away from communion with God.

While suffering and struggle awaken our desperation and need for God, success and strength can awaken false assumptions of self-sufficiency. 

 

Revelation 2: The church in Ephesus had experienced great spiritual success and would be considered an extremely fruitful and faithful church in our eyes today. But as worldly success caused Rehoboam to forget His God (2 Chronicles 12), spiritual success was causing the Ephesians to forget their God as well.

Sometimes we can begin to love the fruit of our ministry so much so that we forget about the One who produces that fruit through us in the first place. We become fascinated with the gifts and end up forgetting about the Giver.

A good measure of our Christian condition on whether we've become too comfortable and self-sufficient is an examination of our time in prayer. Are we praying and how are we praying? Our prayers are a window into the position of our hearts.