«When Rehoboam had established the kingdom and had strengthened himself, that he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel along with him» (2 Chronicles 12: l).
STUBBORN AND INSOLENT, that’s how author Herbert Lockyer described King Rehoboam. And his description of the son of Solomon and Naamah, the Ammonite, seems very accurate (see 1 King 14:21).
These undesirable character traits were exhibited by Rehoboam at the beginning of his reign when he had the precious opportunity to ease the burdens Solomon had imposed on the people. On that occasion, moved by pride and blinded by the desire to exercise his authority, he preferred to ignore the advice of the elders in order to follow that of the young princes who had grown up with him. And so, instead of reducing the yoke his father had imposed on the people, Rehoboam increased it. The result was the division of the kingdom; two tribes, those of Judah and Benjamin, came under his command, while the other ten formed a separate government under the command of Jeroboam.
Nevertheless, the matter did not end there because following his fathers bad example, Rehoboam made the grave mistake of taking multiple wives (see 2 Chronicles 11:21). In addition, he made sure that his sons who were scattered throughout the territory of Judah and Benjamin, did the same thing (see 2 Chronicles 11:23). This was a direct violation of the Lord’s command in the sense that a king was not supposed to have many women so that his heart would not turn away from the Lord (see Deuteronomy 17:17, NLT).
What was the result of his going astray? Today’s verse clearly points out the following: Rehoboam «forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel along with him.» The effects of his wicked example were not only felt within his family circle, but they also spread throughout his kingdom: idolatry, sodomy, and abominations similar to those practiced by the pagan nations God had cast out (see I King 14:24).
How appropriate, therefore, are Ellen G. White’s words! «None perish alone in their iniquity. . . . We lead others either upward to happiness and immortal life, or downward to sorrow and eternal death. «—Prophets and Kings, ch. 6, p. 94.
Where are you leading others by your influence? «Upward» to immortal life or «downward» to eternal death?
Loving heavenly Father, please prepare me to be a positive influence today on the people with whom I relate, starting with my own family. Above all. in such a way that my testimony is a source of glory and honor to Your name.