The plot thickens
The warning given to Solomon was crystal clear. If you stay on track then the Temple will be hallowed and the succession is secure. If not then the House, the Temple and the Dynasty will fall. Actions have consequences. And here is the unfolding of that warning.
Jeroboam is an outsider and the son of a servant and a widow and yet he is handed four fifths of the kingdom on a plate. This is not a whim, flagrant ambition, nor pride but it is the promise of God after the king’s unfaithfulness. Rehoboam, lacking his father’s wisdom, listens to the wrong people, made disastrous choices, and so the Kingdom is divided. The unthinkable has happened. In a few short years we have travelled from the pinnacle of achievement to the break down of all that is familiar. The account has twisted and squirmed. Modern soap operas have nothing on the Hebrew Scriptures’ plots and outcomes.
As we approach Christmas the chances of being stopped on the road by a passing prophet and handed a random gift of most of the kingdom are, thankfully, fairly remote. After all, what would we do with it? Just as Jeroboam accepted the challenge, so too we can be ready for whatever surprises are in store this Advent – and at any other time God chooses. We are not just talking about random acts of kindness but about radical, life changing, encounters that can shape our own destiny and the lives of people around us. Often that happens in the most unlikely and unexpected of places.
And so “Jeroboam promptly fled to Egypt to King Shishak of Egypt and remained in Egypt until the death of Solomon” when it was safe for him to return and claim the Kingdom. Doesn’t that also sound a familiar turn in the story at this time of year when another refugee had to flee from the wrath of a ruler?
The plot thickens once again