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Lesson Title: The Kingdom Divides - Afraid Israel might split, King Rehoboam chooses his friends’ advice over that of wise elders, leading to the very split he wanted to avoid. Jeroboam, leader of the northern kingdom, also listens to unwise advice, resulting in idol worship.
Scripture: 1 Kings 12
Wonder Truth: God wants us to follow godly advice.
Foundational Building Block
Two kings, Rehoboam and Jeroboam, were the first to lead the divided kingdom of Israel. King Solomon’s son, Rehoboam—the natural born king—would rule the southern kingdom, and Jeroboam—son of one of Solomon’s officials—would rule the northern kingdom.
Big decisions have big consequences, so when Rehoboam neglected to listen to the wise elders, Israel's united kingdom became divided. Because he listened to his young friends, the country broke out in civil war, and this book records the history of two kings, two capitals, and two religions.
The divided kingdom refers to the southern kingdom—called Judah—which continued to be ruled by David’s family line and included the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and the northern kingdom—called Israel—which included the other 10 tribes of Israel.
The kingdom of Israel was established under King Saul, strengthened under King David, and reached the height of its glory under King Solomon (David's son). Solomon, however, turned away from God, making the division of the kingdom inevitable.
With the kingdom on the brink of division, Rehoboam does the right thing by asking the experienced elders for their advice. Had he followed their godly advice and served the people, the kingdom may have stayed united.
Relationships can’t happen without communication, and our God is a relational God. He knows us and wants to be known by us. He is a God who speaks. Throughout His story, we see our Father talking to His kids. Whether in an audible voice or a gentle whisper, or through the godly advice of others, God speaks. And His words are always worth listening to. As you explore in this series the Old Testament stories of people who listened (and didn’t listen) to God’s voice, may you and the kids you lead tune your ears to the kind voice of our loving Father.
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