Politics and religion, two subjects we are told NEVER to talk about... I have always maintained that if you remove those two topics from te discussion list, there's nothing left to talk about!
In our text for today (2 Chronicles 11-14), politics and religion are the central theme. Upon Solomon's death, his son Rehoboam imprudently ends up dividing the nation of Israel with his impolitic burdensom demands upon the people. As a result, his political competetor, Jeroboam leads the Northern Tribes in seccesion from the nation, leaving Rehoboam with only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. For mostly political reasons, Jeroboam leads the Northern Tribes into immediate idolatry, while Rehoboam intially maintains his faithfuness to God. After a period of about five years, Rehoboam turns away form the Law of the Lord and finds himself threatened by Shishak, king of Egypt. Recognizing the error of his ways, Rehoboam repents, and returns to his devotion to the Lord- sparing Judah from Egyptian conquest. At the end of his life and reign, this was his epitaph: "Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah." (2 Chronicles 12:12)
Rehoboam was succeeded by his son Abijah. During his reign, Jeroboam once again sought to subjugate the tribes of Judah and Benjamin through military conquest. Wisely, Abijah sought to dissuade them through reason and diplomacy, but upon their failure "cried out to the Lord" for his deliverance. Abijah's faith and obedience resulted in God's deliverance that day: "The Israelites were subdued on that occasion, and the people of Judah were victorious because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors." (2 Chronicles 13:18)
Abijah was succeeded by his son Asa. During most of his reign, Judah lived under the blessing of God:
2 Chronicles 14:2 Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles.[f] 4 He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his laws and commands. 5 He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him. 6 He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest.
The point is simple: when a nation humbly follows the leading of God, blessing follows. Our own nation has lived most of its history under the reality of this principle. In our generation however, we have forsaken God. Evidence of the terrible consequences of such a foolish decision is all around us. The only question that remains is this: "Will we now, in our hour of national desperation, wisely return to the Lord?"
May we humble ourselves, turn from our sin, seek the face of God, and allow Him to lead us once again!