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Plenty of Blame to Go Around

Daily Reading: 1 Kings 12

Scripture Focus: “Thus says the Lord, You shall not go up or fight against your relatives the people of Israel. Every man return to his home, for this thing is from me.” So they listened to the word of the Lord and went home again, according to the word of the Lord. (1 Kings 12.24)

Devotional Thought: “There’s plenty of blame to go around…” That could be the title of today’s chapter, 1 Kings 12.

This chapter records the division of Israel into two nations:

· Judah, the southern kingdom, following the line of King David, worshiping in the Jerusalem temple, led by Solomon’s son Rehoboam

· Israel, the northern kingdom, breaking away from the Davidic reign, worshiping in Bethel and Dan, led by Solomon’s adversary Jeroboam

It was a sad day in the history of Israel. Who was to blame for this division? As is typically the case when there are problems between God’s people, there was plenty of blame to go around:

· Solomon was partially to blame. He did not adjust his policies when he saw what was coming.

· Rehoboam shared in the blame. He could have lightened the load of taxation upon the Israelites.

· Rehoboam’s young advisors were quick to exert their influence and show their power.

· The people of Israel were not innocent in the matter, as they were eager to rebel against the heavy hand of Rehoboam.

· Jeroboam bore some of the blame, with his unbridled ambition.

In the midst of all this blame, there is a bright spot. When Rehoboam mustered his army to reclaim the northern tribes, God said, “You shall not go up or fight against your relatives” (v. 24). Finally, wisdom (and obedience) prevailed, and Rehoboam did not intensify the conflict. Even when we have irreconcilable differences, we must not become hateful and hurtful toward our brothers and sisters with whom we disagree.

There are times when we may be technically right, but we can choose to set aside our pride and our "rightness" and come together for the sake of God's Kingdom.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, when I have grieved your heart by insisting on being right, when I could have been loving. Help me to be more like you! Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 120.1-7

1 In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. 2 Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.

3 What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue? 4 A warrior's sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree!

5 Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! 6 Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. 7 I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!

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