Recently, Rodney King, the subject of a police beating that resulted in rioting and unrest in Los Angeles in the early nineties was in the news again. One of the most recognized phrases ever quoted was from Rodney, when during the rioting he said, “Can’t we just get along!” This reminded me that God is one that wants us to “get along with one another.” In fact, His direction to us, His commands, are geared toward that end.
In the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles, chapter 10, we read about the division that came about within the sons of Israel. The tragic and sad episode in the history of God’s children is only another in a long line of times when people fail to put God’s design to work.
King Solomon had died and his son Rehoboam was now king. A past rival of Solomon, Jeroboam returned and requested that the burden placed on the children of Israel be lightened. This may seem a bit bold since they were in fact serving the king. But if we look back at Deuteronomy 17, we see specific instructions with regard to the king as to what he should and shouldn’t do. These instructions obviously fared no better than many of God’s other instructions in that both Solomon and now his son ignored them and continued to gather great wealth at the expense of the children of Israel.
When Rehoboam increased their load and promised greater punishments, Israel saw his disregard for compassion and dealing fairly with others. Ten tribes of Israel withdrew from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin with Jeroboam as their first king. They failed “to get along” using the guidelines God Himself set up. We need to understand also that this was no surprise to God or to His followers. God, through Ahijah, the prophet had foretold this to Jeroboam causing him to become a rival to Solomon. Our text in 2 Chronicles indicates that this took place “to establish His word which He spoke through Ahijah.”
Aren’t we doing the same thing today? We use our own wisdom and understanding to direct us rather than God’s with the same result. We separate and divide over things that would be of no consequence if we only operate on God’s standards. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Sound familiar?
Copyright © 2003, Nolan P. Rutter