Parents will often discipline their children by temporarily taking away something they love. For example, a child might not be allowed to play a favorite video game or go to a friend’s house after school. The loss is intended to teach an important lesson. In 1 Kings 14, we see God’s discipline of a king and his kingdom.
Under Rehoboam’s rule the nation followed in the footsteps of his father and violated the first commandment, worshiping other gods. It is important to note that this behavior characterized the nation, not just the king. Rehoboam set an example and his people followed. But they didn’t need to be led astray, they were already prepared to disobey.
Punishment came quickly. Five years after Rehoboam took the throne, Shishak, king of Egypt, attacked Jerusalem and raided the Temple. “He took everything” (1 Kings 14:26). It didn’t have to be this way. Rehoboam could have made a different choice. He responded poorly to the discipline of the Lord. The division of the kingdom was part of God’s plan, but he rejected it. Instead of letting the punishment turn him back to God, he allowed it to drive him further away.
This is the first of many times that the Temple in Jerusalem would be raided, before it was finally destroyed in 586 BC. Why would God allow His “house” to be desecrated this way? Wouldn’t He want to defend His honor? Does this scene say anything about God’s character? Yes, it does! It says that He does not dwell in a house made with hands. Although a Temple was a source of national pride, it was entirely expendable if it prevented people from being faithful to God. The point of this discipline was to make the nation wake up from its idolatrous stupor.
>> Sometimes things are removed from our lives, perhaps a job or a friendship. The loss jolts us out of complacency. What might God be teaching us through this loss? Perhaps it reminds us that our first allegiance is only to Him.
Not every loss is a judgment but each loss is an opportunity to draw nearer to You. In our pain and soul-searching, show us anything we need to repent of. Reveal Your goodness to us and grant us peace in Your loving forgiveness.