May 6 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“What share do we have in David,
what part in Jesse’s son?
To your tents, Israel!
Look after your own house, David!”
~1 Kings 12:16

Solomon, though wise, did not wholeheartedly follow the Lord in his old age. His love for beautiful foreign women became his undoing, although perhaps the unraveling of his faith practice shouldn’t be a surprise since God repeatedly warned Israel about intermarriage. Think about it: the man or woman you marry almost always becomes the most influential person in your life! And when you fall in love with someone who is not a God-worshipper, you are placing your heart in a compromising position. Putting himself on such shaky ground was the great failure of King Solomon the Wise. Though some of his marriages were political alliances with foreign kings, he also loved many of the women he married and accommodated their pagan practices in order to please them.

God’s punishment for Solomon tarnishes the king’s legacy and significantly reduces his heirs’ kingdom (1 Kings 11:11-13). The problems begin as soon as Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, comes to the throne. Like all of the kings before him, he hails from the tribe of Judah, which presented particular political challenges. (Even David did not have strong political support from the other eleven tribes.) Within this unstable political environment, enemies have been biding their time waiting for Solomon’s death. In addition, the people are growing restless under the tax burden still supporting Solomon’s lavish public works. They want relief.

Rehoboam lacks the wisdom to deal with this complicated political world. Should he show strength? Flexing some muscle often kept kings in power. Or should he opt for appeasement, reaching across the political aisle to give his opponents a place at the table. Rehoboam listens to the wrong counsel, and his decision to flex when he should have reached rips the already fragmented nation into pieces. Of course, this is all part of God’s plan, His punishment upon Solomon for his wayward heart. It is God who raises up rival claimants to the throne, and it is God who befuddles the advice of the elders in Rehoboam’s mind. God often uses sinners and their sinful choices as discipline for the sinful choices of sinners. Isn’t it interesting how He goes about things?

The lesson here is that the choices we make have consequences for years and, in some cases, generations to come. The things I do now impact my life tomorrow, and will conceivably impact my children’s lives, and their children’s lives. May God help us to follow Him wholeheartedly so that what ripples outward from today is a blessing rather than a curse. May God help us to serve Him; to walk in His ways; to guard our hearts; to obey His Word; and to worship Him, and Him alone, all of our days. Do not forget Solomon’s painful discovery: wise people are capable of failing to heed their own wisdom.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.