It’s a hard act to follow when your grandfather was a military hero who instilled terror in his hearts of his enemies, while still finding time to pen the songs that instilled God’s love in the hearts of his nation. And what do you have to offer when your father is smarter than Einstein and richer than J.D. Rockefeller? Well, you do what every spoilt kid does when you’re out of your depth, you put on your bling, call together your posy and go gangsta! I wish I was exaggerating (check out 1 Kings 12). But sadly, that is only the beginning of the reign of King Rehoboam (grandson of David, and son of Solomon). The newly crowned 41-year-old inherited a successful and wealthy kingdom. But spiritually it was bankrupt. Not to be outdone by his super-famous forebears, he decided that a ‘Hard-Man’ image would cement his rule. He ignored his father’s wise counsellors when they told him to let the people enjoy the fruits of his father’s success. He instead listened to his young friends. His infamous last words were: “My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions” (1Kgs.12:14). God saw this coming. He had prepared another leader, Jeroboam, to lead the 10 Northern Tribes that broke from Rehoboam’s rule. David chose faith, Solomon chose wisdom—Rehoboam, having neither, chose bravado. Everyone, one way or another, is placed in a position of leadership or influence. Looking back at previous examples can be helpful. However, it is only faith in God that will get God’s desired outcomes achieved. A thousand years later the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church who were also choosing bravado over faith. He said: “My message and preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (1Cor.2:4-5).
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