When things go sideways in our lives, it is easy to assume that God has abandoned us or decided to leave us to our own devices, but in actuality, the opposite could be true. Sometimes, a sign that God is involved in our lives is things go sideways or even upside down. When Rehoboam went to Shechem where all Israel was prepared to make him king, he thought it was going to be a good day. Then Jeroboam showed up and threw a monkey wrench into Rehoboam’s ordination process.
It is clear the people were not happy with the way king Solomon, Rehoboam’s father, had treated them. “So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee” (2 Chronicles 10:3-4). Mainly, the people were upset because Solomon expected them to do all the work while he enjoyed a luxurious life in the palace. The people felt Solomon treated them like slaves and had made their lives resemble the lives they had when they were in Egypt.
Unfortunately, Rehoboam didn’t get it and answered the people in a manner similar to what they would expect to hear from Pharaoh (7186), saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions” (2 Chronicles 10:14). Even though Rehoboam was foolish in his decision making process (2 Chronicles 10:6-10), the bad outcome was not his fault.
It says in 2 Chronicles 10:15, “So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform his word, which he spoke by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.” God had already promised to give ten of the tribes of Israel to Jeroboam before king Solomon died (1 Kings 11:31). It was only because of king David’s faithfulness that the LORD didn’t take the entire kingdom away from Solomon’s son (1 Kings 11:34). Rehoboam’s circumstances were not a result of his father’s idolatry. It was God who turned things in a different direction. God caused Rehoboam to not listen to the people so that his plan could be carried out.