June 3 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from God, to fulfill the word the Lord has spoken . . . “ ~2 Chronicles 10:15

During the reign of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, the kingdom was divided into north and south. What the Chronicler wants to make clear is that the nation was divided by God’s hand. The readers would have been familiar with Solomon’s own “fall from grace” and the prophecy to rend a portion of the kingdom from him (see 1 Kings 11:29-33). The word of the Lord was now fulfilled.

God’s hand of discipline comes down on the unfaithful. Even Rehoboam’s tone-deaf response to the people’s plea to lighten up on taxes was from the Lord. Sure, Rehoboam was obtuse, but he was also part of God’s plan. To those who wanted to try to fight to keep the nations together, the Lord responded, “Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing” (2 Chron. 11:4).

Of course, statements like this bring up the age-old question of human responsibility versus divine sovereignty. Was Rehoboam responsible for the division, or perhaps Jeroboam, the northern king who led the divisive rebellion? Or was it God? Biblical writers never seem willing to resolve the tension. They simply allow the doctrines of human responsibility (the notion that people make their own choices) and divine sovereignty (the notion that God controls all things) to coexist without explaining how the two are reconciled. Perhaps the reason for this is that both are at work, a mysterious interplay wherein God always takes the lead. Imagine a dancing couple. You won’t see one person dragging the other (at least not if they are both good dancers) because both move in tandem. However, one is leading, although, at times, he may allow his partner to manage their movements.

God is sovereign, but He does give His creatures responsibility. And when they are unfaithful to Him, He does respond with discipline. Indeed, Rehoboam faced further discipline at the Lord’s hand because “he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the Lord” (2 Chron. 12:1-5). But Rehoboam also responded to the Lord’s discipline and humbled himself! The message the Chronicler wants to convey to the exiled community is clear: discipline comes into our lives when we disobey the Lord, but He responds in mercy to the humble. He emphasizes that the path to blessing is through obedience to the Word of God. May God help us to follow Him and obey Him for our good and for His glory! And if we have disobeyed, may we avoid His sovereign hand of discipline by humbling ourselves before Him. For, as Solomon proclaimed, “He is good; his love endures forever” (2 Chron. 7:3).

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.