After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the Lord. 2 Chronicles 12.1From David King
I have a lot of experience of dieting. In fact, I’m really quite good at losing weight – the only problem is that I am even better at putting it back on! There are two difficult times in a diet. The first is obvious – starting the diet. The second is even harder, when you first see the signs of success and things seem to be going well. At that point it is very easy to think that you can afford a little treat.
Success can be a dangerous thing.
This was true of Rehoboam. We are told in chapter 11 that after a poor start he acts wisely and well. By chapter 12 however, we read the alarming verse above. When he started badly and it had a bad outcome, it caused him to turn to the Lord. But when the Lord helped him and the land settled down, he forgot the Lord again.
3 thoughts from this:
1) Sometimes people will seem to come to faith because of some hardship in their life, but when the Lord rescues them, they then drift away. They weren’t truly after the Lord, but after what he could do for them.
2) When things are going well, we must be more vigilant than ever. That time of ease and comfort comes with real spiritual danger – the devil sees the comfortable Christian as easy pickings. How many times have I known intimacy with the Lord when things are hard. How many times have I daily or even hourly (is there a word ‘minute-ly’?) relied on him, only to find that as the Lord rescues me and things ease, I don’t turn to him as I once did. My prayers become formulaic and my worship dull.
3) Over time, the Christian discovers that hardship is his or her friend. It isn’t any less painful or any more pleasant, but we know that difficult times will bring a blessing that far outstrips the blessings of the easy time. More than that, we begin to trust that denying ourselves (chosen hardship) is the way to true blessing and the best defence against the perils of success.