Rehoboam, king of Judah, prepared for civil war as Jeroboam and ten tribes separated from his father’s kingdom. He wanted to fight, but God stopped him and said, “This thing is from Me!” Rehoboam obeyed and did not fight. Rehoboam was left with the lands of Judah, forming the nation of Judah. The GREAT NATION was divided. Jeroboam did not want people traveling to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to God because then they might not return. So he built alters and temples to God and other gods in his nation. Jeroboam was not obedient to the Lord, and this began years of turmoil and consequences for these tribes.
Main Events of 1 Kings 16 – 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles:
Let’s begin with Israel – Ten tribes left the leadership of Rehoboam for the leadership of Jeroboam. Throughout the years there were 19 kings and none of them had a heart for God. The Lord became very angry with Israel and told them He would remove them from His presence. This is the time period of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. The prophets during this time included Elijah, who did not see death and was carried through the whirlwind in a fiery chariot up to heaven; and Elisha, who raised the dead and healed the sick. Despite the warnings of the prophets, Israel did not turn back to God and therefore they endured punishment. The Assyrian King conquered Israel and went about his version of ethnic cleansing. He scattered the Israelites either by bringing them back into Assyria, or the Israelites ran to safer nations.
Judah – One tribe remained with Rehoboam, who was the heir to the throne of King David. Throughout the years, Judah had 20 kings in all and 8 of them were described as walking in the ways of David. Because of these 8 kings, God pushed off His punishment and allowed the nation of Judah to stand longer than Israel. Hezekiah was one of the godly kings who, upon his death bad, prayed to the Lord for longer life. God granted it and as a sign to Hezekiah the sun moved backwards. (In other words, the shadow on the sundial went backwards.) Isaiah was a prophet during this time and he received many prophecies about Judah and the coming Messiah. Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son, was one of the most evil kings ever. He built temples in the high places and made his children walk through the fire, which means he sacrificed his children to the gods. One of the last godly kings was Josiah, who walked in the ways of David and rebuilt the temple during his reign. Even though Judah did have some godly kings, God was still going to punish the evil doings of the people. Read 2 Kings 21:12-15. Ezekiel was given a vision. In the vision he watched as God’s glory left the ark of the covenant, moved out of the Holy of Holies, went through the entrance to the temple, and departed Jerusalem. God’s glory had left Judah and His people.
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon descended upon Judah and Jerusalem. He destroyed the city and the temple. He took the people of Judah captive and they went into exile. The first group of people he took were all of the rich, intelligent noblemen. These included Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Nebuchadnezzar attacked a second time and took any craftsmen back to Babylon. The third time, any one who could be a servant was taken. Probably the only people left in Judah were those who were the poor, the crippled, and the elderly. And Judah was in captivity away from her land. (2 Kings 25:21)
Life Application of 1 Kings 16 – 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles:
What has happened to God’s promise to Abraham? The great nation is gone. The land is taken over by pagans. It’s during this time of exile that the people of God began to be called Jews. Assyria, Babylon, and then Persia, Greece, and Rome…all of these kingdoms will own the land of Israel. In fact, when Jesus was alive, Rome was in charge of Israel. This is why Jesus riding on a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday is so significant! The people wanted a king! They wanted their great nation back! They wanted the days of King David back! Yet all Jesus did was hang and die on a cross. The Jews didn’t get it. The Jews didn’t understand that God wanted them to be LIKE King David, not have another king like David. God wants His people to love Him with a whole heart. The only way for that to happen is for God to end the sin issue. Jesus died so that our sins could be forgiven and so we could stand before Him with a righteous, whole heart for God. This brings about the fourth part of God’s promise to Abraham…ALL the people and families of the world will be blessed!