Let us read, for our instruction, part of the story of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon.
2 Chronicles 11:1-4. And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam. But the word of the LORD came to Sheniuiah the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam.
So far, so good. There was some degree of the fear of God in the minds of men when, at the bidding of a single prophet, a king would disband his troops, and cease from war.
2 Chronicles 11:5-15. And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defense in Judah. He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa, and Bethzur, and Shoco, and Adullam, and Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph, and Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah, and Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities. And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine. And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side. And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts. For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s once unto the LORD and he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.
No wonder, therefore, that Rehoboam’s kingdom was strengthened by the advent of these men, who were, doubtless, the best men in the whole country, men who feared the Lord,-men who knew the law, and who knew how to teach the people what they should do.
2 Chronicles 11:16. And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.
“Birds of a feather flock together,” so those in Israel who feared the Lord went where their ministers had gone; this movement would bring about an emigration of some of the best of the population, to reside near to the sacred shrine where Jehovah was worshipped; and it must have tended still further to the strengthening of Rehoboam’s little kingdom.
2 Chronicles 11:17. So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three year: for three year they walked in the way of David and Solomon.
That was well while it lasted; but, alas! it did not continue long.
This exposition consisted of readings from 2 Chronicles 11:1-17; 2 Chronicles 12.