Mike Hodge spent years raising and training lions at the Marakele Predator Center in South Africa. Without warning, he was attacked last May by a lion named Shamba that he had bottle-fed as a cub. Shamba dragged Hodge into the bush, but miraculously he survived with a few broken bones and lacerations. The attack was a sobering reminder that even trained big cats are still natural predators and not domesticated pets.
Scripture says that Satan is like a roaring lion that seeks to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). When all seems to be going well—our family life is stable, our ministry is successful, we are enjoying peace and prosperity—we can let down our vigilance against temptation. We loosen our dependency on Christ. Before long, we have been mauled.
Rehoboam had led Judah to be strong and his rule was established (v. 1). And then Rehoboam abandoned the law of the Lord. As commentator Matthew Henry notes, “As long as [Rehoboam] thought his throne tottered he kept to his duty, that he might make God his friend; but, when he found it stood pretty firmly, he thought he had no more occasion for religion; he was safe enough without it.”
When the word of judgment came from the prophet, the king and his princes humbled themselves (vv. 5–8). The full wrath of God was averted as their repentance invited the mercy of God. Yet even after learning that obedience to God’s rule is better than judgment, Rehoboam persisted in evil. He appeared to think that God was a convenient resource for rescue but not sovereign over all life who requires obedience. The final verdict on Rehoboam’s reign was that, unlike his grandfather David, “he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord” (v. 14).
“Be alert and of sober mind” in the face of temptation (1 Peter 5:8). “Watch and pray” to avoid falling prey to temptation (Matt. 26:41). And “God is faithful: he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” (1 Cor. 10:13). Choose one of these verses to memorize as a way to build your fortifications against temptation.