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2 Chronicles 12:1-16

DOES GOD HAVE MY VERY BEST?

Intro:  Ill. The historical context of this passage.  When Solomon died, he left a kingdom that was filled with splendor, power and the presence of God.  When he died, he left his kingdom to his son Rehoboam.  Unlike his father Solomon, Rehoboam was a very foolish and wicked man.  He refused to acknowledge the good pf the people of Israel, and as a result, ten of the tribes rebelled against Rehoboam, divided Israel into two kingdoms and formed the Northern Kingdom.  They chose a man named Jeroboam to be their king and the Northern Kingdom left the worship of Jehovah and fell into idolatry.  Rehoboam, who was still king of Judah, or the southern kingdom, had an opportunity to walk with God and enjoy the blessings of the Lord.  After all, Jerusalem and the Temple of the Lord were in his kingdom.  Even the priests and the Levites left the Northern Kingdom and moved to Judah to serve the Lord, 2 Chron. 11:13-17.  Yet, Rehoboam squandered the opportunities that he was given and walked away from God, refusing to serve the Lord like David and Solomon had done.

      As you study of the life of Rehoboam, you quickly learn that his life is a lesson in privilege, pride and the judgment of God.  One of the main problems with Rehoboam was that he simply refused to give God his absolute best.  As a result, Rehoboam and his people paid a terribly high price.

      I just want to remind you that God is worthy of our very best.  Look at Romans 12:1-2.  Verse 1 says that total surrender to the Lord is “your reasonable service.”  The phrase “reasonable service” literally means “spiritual service of worship.”  In other words, the least we can do for the Lord, in light of all that He has done for us, is to give Him the best we have.  Literally, we are to give Him everything!  He deserves our best; does He have it?  If He does, then we can enjoy His presence and blessing.  If He does not, then we can expect His chastisement and His judgment.

      Today, I want to take a look at the life of King Rehoboam.  I want to point out some problems in Rehoboam’s life that prove he was giving God less than his very best.  As we look at this wayward king and see the shortcomings that marked his life, I want you to look at your own life today.  I want you to ask yourself this question: Does God Have My Very Best?  I think you would agree with me that God deserves the best that we can give to Him.  I think you would also agree that He often receives far less from your life and mine.  Let’s see about changing that today. Let’s notice the problems that marked the life of Rehoboam.

  I.  v. 1                THE PROBLEM OF HIS CHARACTER

A.  Verse one is a real eye-opener regarding the character of this man named Rehoboam.  We are told that he operated in pride; that he disregarded the Word of God, and that he led others astray from God as well.  The problem that affected Rehoboam was a problem in the heart.  He believed that neither he, nor his nation, needed the Lord; the Lord’s directions; or the Lord’s involvement!  He seems to be saying, “Thanks for bringing me this far Lord.  I think I can handle it from here.”

B.  This is the perfect example of a life that God cannot bless nor use for His glory!  God is looking for people who are the exact opposite of Rehoboam.  He is looking for people who:

      1.  Realize their dependence upon Him – John 15:5; Phil. 4:13  (Ill.         Jesus – John 5:19-20.)

      2.  Desire to walk in obedience to Him – John 14:15; 1 John 2:3-6.

      3.  Long to see others come to know the Lord – Matt. 5:16. (Ill. Eph. 2:10 – The Lord saved us both to work and to be a statement to others that what He has done in our life can be accomplished also in them.  He sets us forth as trophies of His great grace!) (“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8)

C.  Are you giving God your very best in the area of your character?

 

 II.  v. 2-9          THE PROBLEM OF HIS CHASTISEMENT

A.  These verses tell us that the transgressions of Rehoboam result in the chastisement of the Lord upon him and his people.  Rehoboam and Israel sinned and God used Shishak and Egypt as his method of punishment. 

            Isn’t it interesting to compare verse 9 with Exodus 12:35-36? In Exodus, we are told that when the Israelites left Egypt after the plagues that they “spoiled the Egyptians.”  Now, God sends the Egyptians to take away all their gold and their valuables.  God used the world to chasten His people.

            What we learn here is that a life that must be chastened by God is a life that cannot be blessed by God.  Because he would not walk in the will of God, Rehoboam was guilty of giving God less than his best.

B.  When God saved you and me, He did so to deliver us from our sins, Rom. 6:7.  He did it to make us a new creature, 2 Cor. 5:17.  He did it to transform us into children of God, Rom. 8:15; Col. 1:13; 1 John 3:1-2.  God saved us so that we might “walk in newness of life,” Rom. 6:4; and so that He might use us for His glory, Eph. 2:10; 2 Cor. 4:7.  In other words, God saved us for blessing and not for blistering!

            But, when you are His child and you refuse to walk in His will; He will not hesitate to send chastisement into your life, Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:5-11.  Just as He did in Israel, God will often use this world as His rod.  He will use sickness, financial trouble, etc. to speak to your heart.

C.  If God has to send chastisement into your life, then it is clear that He does not have your very best!  Examine your life right now: Is God blessing you or does He have to discipline your life?

 

III.  v. 1-14           THE PROBLEM OF HIS CONFUSION

A.  Watching Rehoboam is like watching a schizophrenic squirrel running here and there.  In verse 1, he walks away from the Lord.  In verse 6, he repents.  In verse 12, he humbles himself. In verse 14 we are told that “he did evil.”  This is a picture of a life that is up and down; in and out; hot and cold; and on and off.  It is the picture of a confused person who does not have a clear direction or focus in his life.  Again, this is a person who is giving God less than his very best.

B.  That same kind of confusion often characterizes our own lives.  We are up and down.  We are hot and cold.  We are on fire today and cold as a hammer tomorrow.  Paul seems to describe the dilemma we all face in Romans 7:14-25.  Every day we live, we are engaged in battle with the relentless enemies of the world, the flesh and the devil.  The world seeks to press us into its mold, Rom. 12:2.  The flesh seeks to dominate us and keep us in bondage to its foolish and sinful desires, Gal. 5:16-17.  The devil is also looking for an inroad into our lives from which he can attack us and devour all the good in our life and testimony, 1 Pet. 5:7; Eph. 4:27; James 1:14.

            God is looking for stability in your life and mine, Eph. 4:11-16.  God is looking for people who will sell out to Him totally.  He is looking for people who are tired of the rollercoaster and who want to live a stable, focused life for His glory.  Thank God, there is victory in Jesus for those who will look to Him for the help they need, 1 Cor. 15:57; 1 Cor. 10:13.

C.  Look at your life right now.  Is it stable and constantly growing closer to the Lord?  Or, is it filled with stops, starts, reversals, etc.  Does He have your very best; or is it one step forward and two steps back?

IV.  v. 9-11         THE PROBLEM OF HIS COMPROMISES

A.  We are told that Shishak and the Egyptians took the three hundred shields that Solomon had made back in 2 Chron. 9:15-16.  These shields weighed three pounds each.  These shields were worth $21,000.00 each in today’s gold prices.  All three hundred of them were worth some 6.3 million dollars.  These shields hung in the king’s palace. 2 Chron. 9:16 and they were taken down by the king’s guard when he went to the Temple to worship.  The guards would line the avenue leading up to the Temple; 150 guards per side, each holding a solid gold shield.  Imagine the gleam that went up from those shields as Solomon and Rehoboam made their way into the Temple to worship.

            When the shields are taken, Rehoboam commissions the metal workers to fashion three hundred new shields of brass.  When polished, these brass shields would gleam like gold, but when the king passed between the rows of these shields, he knew and the guards knew that they were inferior and that they were poor substitute for the missing shields of gold. 

B.  Gold spoke of power, prosperity and glory.  It was expensive and hard to acquire.  Gold was tempered and durable.  Gold never had to be polished, for it was pure and did not tarnish.  It was a symbol of deity and it spoke of the glory and presence of God in the midst of Israel.

            Brass, or bronze, is not pure.  It is an alloy of copper and zinc.  It is far cheaper; far easier to acquire and far more common than gold.  Unlike gold, brass must be polished constantly because it tends to tarnish.  Whereas gold was tempered and durable, brass was cheap and flimsy.

C.  Instead of facing the people of Israel and telling them that the golden shields were gone, King Rehoboam tried to deceive them by preparing an inferior substitute.  Instead of amassing his army to go and recover what the enemy had taken, King Rehoboam chose the pathway of hypocrisy and compromise. Rehoboam compromised to save face before the eyes of the people of Israel! Again, Rehoboam gave God less than his best.

D.  Before we come down too hard on King Rehoboam, perhaps we need to examine our own hearts for a moment.  I would submit to you that we are often guilty of giving God brass instead of gold.  We offer Him and inferior substitute for our very best.  How do we do this?  There are several ways. (Note: The phrase “Instead of…”  We are guilty of offering God some “instead of” things as well.)

      1.  When we operate in human effort instead of divine power – That is pride and we are often guilty of acting and living like we do not need God or His help.

      2.  When we live carnal lives instead of committed lives – When we run with the world; live like the world; talk, walk and act like the world; dress like the world; seek our entertainment in the world; etc; we are offering God brass instead of gold.

3.  When we live in compromise instead of total commitment – When we do less than our best for God, we are compromising His standards of excellence and we are guilty of giving Him brass for gold.  No preacher should ever come into this pulpit unless he is filled with the Spirit and prepared to preach!  No teacher should take their place before their class unless they have prepared both heart and mind for the task of teaching.

4.  When we are satisfied with the substitute instead of the genuine – When we accept the substitutes this world offers in place of God’s presence and power in our church, we are living a compromised live.  And that is giving God brass for gold!

      5.  When we offer up excuses instead of humble obedience – When we say, “Well, I would do this or that but…” you are offering God brass in place of your gold.  You are offering Him less than your best!

      6.  When we try to keep up appearances instead of humbling ourselves before the Lord in repentance – When we know we are not where the lord wants us to be with Him; and we pretend all is well, we are giving Him brass for gold.

E.  Does God really have your very best?  Does He have the real gold of your true devotion, or the fool’s gold of your “instead of” devotion?  Does God have your very best? Or, does He have less than your best?

 

Conc:  Brass or gold?  Which best describes your life today?  Is you life pure, worthwhile and precious?  Or is it a cheap alloy, where the spiritual is mingled with the fleshly, until both are mode worthless?  Be honest with yourself and with your God today: Does God have your very best?  Or does He have your cheap imitation of the best?  If there are needs, the place to have them taken care of is at His feet.

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