Shemaiah and Rehoboam

Shemaiah Confronts Rehoboam

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Shemaiah had to give Rehoboam, the King of Judah, and all his leaders, the word that God had abandoned them due to the unfaithfulness of Judah. Use this Shemaiah and Rehoboam lesson to teach about heart change, repentance, and the irreversibleness of salvation.

Scripture Focus: 2 Chronicles 12:1-12

Materials:

  • Bag of chocolate chips
  • Silicone candy mold
  • Microwave safe bowl
  • Spoon to stir chocolate after melting
  • A way to melt the chocolate chips – double boiler or microwave
  • Small pitcher with spout (like a cream pitcher) to pour chocolate into molds
  • Oven mitts to move bowl of melted chocolate
  • (Optional – but suggested) bowl of ice or a refrigerator to cool the chocolate

Rehoboam object lesson

Geography: Southern Kingdom of Judah and Egypt around 920 B.C.

Background: Shemaiah prophesied during the reign of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon at the beginning of the divided kingdoms. He also wrote a book of the chronicles of Rehoboam’s reign. (2nd Chronicles 12:15). The people of Judah had “followed in the ways of David and Solomon” in the first three years of Rehoboam’s reign. However, after Rehoboam became strong, he, the leaders, and the people abandoned God.

It is important to note that this account is the first time an Egyptian king is mentioned by name. Up to this point in scripture, the leaders were always “Pharaoh.” King Shishak of Egypt, who reigned from 945-924 BC, was also known as Sheshonk I. He was from Libyan descent and there is archeological evidence of his existence and of Shishak conquering parts of Israel and Judah.

Object and Bible Lesson for Shemaiah and Rehoboam:

{Show the packet of chocolate chips. Ask:}

  • Who likes chocolate chips? [Allow for answers and excitement to build.]

We are going to do a science experiment with these chocolate chips. We are going to change their form, not once, but twice!

We are going to learn that the prophet Shemaiah had to stand up and confront King Rehoboam and all his leaders. It must have been scary to do that, because the king had the power of life and death over people in those days. But God had given Shemaiah a message, and he counted on God to be with him as he carried out the task.

{Pour the chocolate chips into the microwave safe bowl. Read 2 Chronicles 12: 1-12.}

Rehoboam object lesson

  • When did Rehoboam forsake the law of the Lord? [After he had established himself and was strong]
  • Who came against Jerusalem? [Shishak King of Egypt]
  • Why did he come against Jerusalem? [because the people of Judah had sinned against the Lord]
  • Why do you think all of the leaders of Judah were in Jerusalem? [Allow for answers; King Shishak had taken all of the other fortified cities of Judah and it is possible the leaders were hiding themselves in the safety of Jerusalem.]
  • What was Shemaiah’s message to the leaders? [Because you have forsaken, or forgotten God, He is going to leave you in the hands of Shishak.]
  • How do you think Shemaiah felt, having to tell the king and the leaders that God was going to abandon them and let the King Shishak and the Egyptians destroy them? [Allow for answers]
  • How did King Rehoboam and the leaders respond? [They humbled themselves before the Lord and said He was righteous.]
  • Why did Shishak not treat Jerusalem the way he did the other fortified cities? [God responded and gave Shemaiah a new word saying that He would not destroy Jerusalem, but that Shishak would make them his servants.]
  • What did Shishak do? [He took away the treasures of the temple and the king’s house, even the gold shields of Solomon.]
  • What lesson do you think Rehoboam learned? [Point out verse 12. It was because of humility that Jerusalem and the kingdom were not totally destroyed.]

{Show the chocolate chips.}

These chocolate chips represent the people of Judah and their king and leaders. When we melt them, it is like Shemaiah’s message from God saying He was going to destroy the people of Judah because of their sin.

{Melt the chocolates. Allow children to observe, keeping a safe distance. When melted, stir, then spoon, or pour, carefully into pitcher with spout.}

Rehoboam object lesson

Rehoboam object lesson

Rehoboam object lesson

This is what should have happened to the king and people of Judah. God said He was going to destroy them. We destroyed the chocolate chips.

Then something unexpected happened! The king, together with his rulers, humbled themselves. That means they realized that God alone is in charge, that He alone is worthy of their worship. They recognized they had done wrong in not following God’s law, and had led the people of Judah into doing wrong.

God then changed what He was doing. He was going to remove his protection from Judah and allow Shishak to destroy the place and the people, but when the king and leaders responded with humility, acknowledging God’s righteousness and justice, God responded to them by not allowing them to be totally destroyed.

God reversed His decision because of the humility of the king and leaders of Jerusalem.

{Show the melted chocolate chips. Ask:}

  • Can we reverse what we have done to our chocolate chips? [Allow for answers]

{Carefully pour chocolate from the pitcher into the chocolate molds. Let the children watch you do it. Depending on the age/ability of the children, you could allow them to help pour. Once molds are filled, carefully put them in the fridge or onto a bowl of ice.}

Rehoboam object lesson

Shemaiah and Rehoboam

 

Biblical Application:

God allowed the heart change in King Rehoboam and his leaders to let Him put His protection back over the nation. This is called a reversible change, because God changed what He was doing.  

{Reread 2 Chronicles 12: 9-12. Ask:}

  • What shields did Shishak take? [the gold shields Solomon had made]
  • How did Rehoboam replace them? [He had bronze shields made. Explain that bronze was pretty and shiny like gold, but it was not nearly as precious or expensive. The imitations were not as nice as the originals.]
  • When were the shields used? [They were given to the captains of the guards of the king’s house.]
  • When would the king see these shields? [whenever he entered the house of the Lord]
  • Why do you think he had the guards do that? [Allow for answers; perhaps Rehoboam used those shields as a reminder for what God did for him and to keep him humble; read verse 12 again.]

Rehoboam and the leaders deserved God’s wrath, but instead they turned from their sin. You have sinned against God and deserve His wrath as well. BUT! When you turn away from your sin, turn from your ways to following God’s ways, this shows the change in your hearts. You can make a reversible change.

God sees your reversible change and makes it irreversible. That means it can’t be changed back. When we belong to Jesus, we belong to Him forever and you can’t go back to your old self! Isn’t that good news? That means God will never change His mind about you – He sees you as His child.

{Check on the chocolates. If not fully hardened yet, show them how it is no longer liquid chocolate, but changing form. If they are hardened enough, pop one out of the mold and show it to them.}

Rehoboam object lesson

Rehoboam object lesson

 The chocolate is now hardened back into solid chocolate. The change was reversed! But they don’t look exactly the same. Rehoboam and the leaders deserved to be destroyed because of their sin. We deserve to the destroyed because of our sin. Rehoboam reversed the situation by changing and you can too. 

{Ask:}

  • Can you think of a way that this chocolate could be irreversibly changed – changed in a way that it can’t be changed back to solid chocolate? [Allow for answers. Explain that if the chocolate was grated and baked into a cake with other ingredients, that would be an irreversible change. Or if the chocolate was ground into a powder, added to milk and sugar and heated, that would be hot chocolate, an irreversible change.]

What can we learn from Shemaiah and Rehoboam? God allows us to change. We can change from not following Him to choosing to follow Jesus. That reversable change is repentance. The irreversible change from God is salvation from sin.

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