Script for the May 30th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast.
Welcome to the May 30th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast. I’m Matt Ellis, and I’m the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida.
Today’s reading is in 2 Chronicles 10-12 and John 11. Hopefully, you’ve already spent time in God’s Word so let’s get started.
2 Chronicles 10
King Saul, the first king of Israel, has reigned and died. Then, King David ruled for 40 years and died. Then, his son, Solomon, reigned for 40 years and died. Now, it is time for the fourth king of Israel to ascend to the throne. But disaster will soon strike.
2 Chronicles 10:1 (CSB): “Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king.”
But Jeroboam, who had previously fled to Egypt to get away from King Solomon, has returned. He essentially acts as a spokesman and comes to speak with Rehoboam.
2 Chronicles 10:4 (CSB): “Your father made our yoke harsh. Therefore, lighten your father’s harsh service and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”
Solomon’s kingdom had been glorious, but it had been built on the backs of the people of Israel. They had been taxed to death and were physically and emotionally weary. They wanted a reprieve. And they asked that Rehoboam be the one to give them the rest they needed.
Rather than wisely acknowledge that their request was valid, he told them he would return with his answer in three days.
He consulted the elders, and they told him that he needed to grant the people’s request if he wanted to secure his right to rule. But Rehoboam’s younger peers told him that he needed to take the “strong guy” approach and let the people know that if they thought his father, Solomon, was harsh, they hadn’t seen anything yet.
It’s never really good to judge someone’s motives, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. Rehoboam chose to go the route that his younger peers advised, and I wonder if it is because of the ego boost it gave him. It made him look like a tough guy. But he apparently had no clue how weary the people were and how his response would split the kingdom of Israel in two.
2 Chronicles 10:15-17 (CSB): “The king did not listen to the people because the turn of events came from God, in order that the LORD might carry out his word that he had spoken through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat. When all Israel saw that the king had not listened to them, the people answered the king: ‘What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. Israel, each to your tent; David, look after your own house now!’ So all Israel went to their tents. But as for the Israelites living in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.”
Rehoboam sent a man who was in charge of forced labor to talk tough and get the northern tribes into subjection. But they stoned him to death.
When Rehoboam finally realized the gravity of the situation, he jumped into his chariot and raced back to the security of Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 10:19 (CSB): “Israel is in rebellion against the house of David until today.”
The kingdom had been split. Stupid leadership did it. Israel will now be the nation for the ten northern tribes. Judah will be the name for the southern two tribes.
Character and competence are two non-negotiable attributes in leadership. If someone in leadership has one and not the other, trouble lies ahead.
2 Chronicles 11
Rehoboam was not finished. He was a tough guy and would not let the kingdom fall apart under his leadership, even if he was the one who caused the problem. So, he rallied an army.
2 Chronicles 11:1 (CSB): “When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mobilized the house of Judah and Benjamin—one hundred eighty thousand fit young soldiers—to fight against Israel to restore the reign to Rehoboam.”
The Lord brought this to a halt by speaking through a prophet. He told Rehoboam to disband the army and tell everyone to go back home. Even though Rehoboam’s incompetence caused this rift, it was also from the Lord.
2 Chronicles 11:4 (CSB): “… So they listened to what the LORD said and turned back from going against Jeroboam.”
As Rehoboam started to reign, we are told in verses 5-12 that he built up many cities in Judah and Benjamin. He “strengthened their fortifications.” He “also put large shields and spears in each and every city to make them very strong.”
So, Israel not only had a new king, but the tone of the new monarchy was different. Saul and David were men of war, so there was much fighting during their reigns. Then, under Solomon, Israel reached an era of glory. We aren’t led to believe that there was any significant fighting because there was a general feeling of safety within the kingdom. Yet, under Rehoboam, the language sounds like he’s focused on defending what belongs to him. The world has become unsafe again, and he is focused on protecting what is his. How soon the glory of Solomon’s day has passed.
In verses 13-17, we are told that the priests and Levites went to Judah to live. Jeroboam, who was the new king of the northern kingdom of Israel, wouldn’t let them serve as priests of the Lord. He created his own pagan religion in order to keep the people under his reign from going to Jerusalem. These few verses make it clear that the northern kingdom immediately dove into idolatry while the southern kingdom still had some hope.
In verses 18-21, we read that Rehoboam, king of the southern nation of Judah, had eighteen wives and sixty concubines and was the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters. Once again, he is following in the ways of his father, Solomon, and grandfather, David. Not only is this in violation of God’s law, but it also proved to be a source of much trouble.
As this chapter comes to an end, we read that Rehoboam at least demonstrated some discernment. He intended to make his first son, by Absolam’s daughter, the next king. So, he made it clear by appointing him to a position of prominence among his brothers and then sent his brothers to live in the land of Judah and Benjamin. He also gave them plenty of provisions so that they would be satisfied with their place away from Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 12
We learn in 2 Chronicles 12 that even when Rehoboam had fortified his cities, disobedience would expose him to God’s discipline.
2 Chronicles 12:1-4 (CSB): “When Rehoboam had established his sovereignty and royal power, he abandoned the law of the LORD—he and all Israel with him. Because they were unfaithful to the LORD, in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, King Shishak of Egypt went to war against Jerusalem with 1,200 chariots, 60,000 cavalrymen, and countless people who came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Cushites. He captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem.”
But it is also in this text where we realize that the Lord has a soft spot in His heart for people who turn from sin. When someone, who was in defiant disobedience to Him, recognizes their sinfulness, repents, and turns back to Him, the Lord is often moved to restore the repenter.
2 Chronicles 12:7-8 (CSB): “When the LORD saw that they had humbled themselves, the LORD’s message came to Shemaiah: ‘They have humbled themselves; I will not destroy them but will grant them a little deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. However, they will become his servants so that they may recognize the difference between serving me and serving the kingdoms of other lands.’”
Friend, take note of this. Repentance is one of the most beautiful words in the Bible because it is the key to God’s heart. Therefore, repentance is a beautiful word.
However, repentance does not necessarily mean that God will protect us from the consequences of our sinful choices. Even though King Shishak of Egypt didn’t defeat King Rehoboam, he did “seize the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple and the treasuries of the royal palace.” Just a few chapters ago, we read of how Solomon had used gold to make golden shields. Well, those shields are gone now. Rehoboam remade them of bronze. The glory of Solomon’s reign is fading quickly.
Then, as soon as it started, Rehoboam’s reign came to an end. He “was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem.”
So, what was the final assessment of his life?
I have written a lengthy document in which I wrote what I wanted to be said of me when my life comes to an end. I have determined the sort of things that I greatly want to be known for and wrote those down so that I can continue to live in such a way that they are true of me.
If you want to create your own document, then check out the book, “Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want” by Michael Hyatt.
But one of the things I can essentially guarantee is that if King Rehoboam had written his own life plan, it wouldn’t have been what was said about him after his death.
2 Chronicles 12:14 (CSB): “Rehoboam did what was evil, because he did not determine in his heart to seek the LORD.”
I think he just drifted. He didn’t take his walk with the Lord seriously and just lived a self-centered, unfocused life. But the end of it was that he did “what was evil, because he did not determine in his heart to seek the Lord.”
Friend, why not determine in your heart to seek the Lord! What actions do you need to write down and commit to that would enable you to make good on that resolve? Write it down, get someone to hold you accountable, and then get busy. We only have one life to live, and then comes the judgment. Don’t mess your life up.
In this chapter, we are introduced to the humanity of Jesus. We learn some very fascinating truths about Him. So let’s pay attention to a very familiar story.
John 11:1-3 (CSB): “Now a man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair, and it was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent a message to him: ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.’”
Bethany was about two miles due east of Jerusalem, over the Mount of Olives. It was in this city where Jesus’ dear friends lived. And it was in this city where we learn not only about Jesus but also about what we are to think of “natural evil.”
Moral evil is when someone does something bad, especially to someone else. What further characterizes moral evil is that the act was intentional or it was an act of negligence. So, because of someone’s actions, or lack thereof, someone got hurt.
Natural evil is when bad things happen but not because someone intended to do them or their negligence caused it to happen. Examples of natural evil are sickness, tornadoes, famine, natural death, and other such things. So, we’re going to observe “natural evil” as Lazarus gets sick and then dies. But his sickness and death teach us volumes. Let’s listen and learn.
When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he didn’t immediately go to help. Now, if a paramedic or someone else with the ability to help Lazarus had heard that he was sick and they refused to go help, they would be guilty of moral evil. Their negligence would have been a factor in his death. But Jesus, as God, was not negligent. He was intentional and knew that Lazarus’ sickness had a very specific purpose.
John 11:4-7 (CSB): “When Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was sick, he stayed two more days in the place where he was. Then after that, he said to the disciples, ‘Let’s go to Judea again.’”
His disciples really struggled with his resolve to go to Judea. Some of the people there wanted to kill Jesus. So there were at least a couple of factors for why Jesus wasn’t racing to the area of Jerusalem.
At some point, Jesus knew that Lazarus had died. Yet, He talked about it as if it were merely sleeping. Lazarus’ death was like sleep in that it would be temporary and not final. But Lazarus’ death, as traumatic as it was for those who loved him, would be for God’s glory and their ultimate good.
John 11:13-15 (CSB): “Jesus, however, was speaking about his death, but they thought he was speaking about natural sleep. So Jesus then told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died. I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.’”
So God was going to allow natural evil to enable some people to believe even more deeply in Jesus. God wasn’t going to spare loved ones from pain from the natural evil. But He was going to enable folks to grow in their faith as a result of the natural evil and Jesus’ power to raise the dead.
John 11:17 (CSB): “When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.”
Lazarus has been wrapped in linen strips, and his corpse has been lying lifeless in the tomb for four days. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Lazarus was dead.
As Jesus neared Bethany, Martha went out to meet Him. She was grieving, and the presence of a dear friend provided some comfort. Then, she said words that conveyed her inner turmoil and attempted to place a bit of guilt on Jesus.
John 11:21-22 (CSB): “Then Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Yet even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.’”
Based on Martha’s reluctance for Jesus to roll the stone from the tomb in verse 39, it doesn’t seem that her words in verses 21-22 meant that Jesus could raise Lazarus. I think she was essentially saying: “Jesus, if you had shown up earlier, you could have healed my brother. Why didn’t you come when we sent someone to get you? Yet, even now, I haven’t lost faith in you, Jesus. I still believe that the Father gives You what you ask Him for. I just wish you had come earlier.”
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again,” to which she responded that she believed in the final resurrection. And then Jesus took her from an abstract belief in the final resurrection to a present-day trust in Jesus who could provide her the comfort she so desperately needed.
John 11:25-27 (CSB): “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she told him, ‘I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.’”
Martha heard these words, and we aren’t sure what her emotional response to them was. Did she understand? Was she comforted? All we know is that she left Jesus and went and told her sister, Mary, that Jesus wanted to speak to her.
Mary visited with Jesus and essentially said the same thing: “Jesus, if you had shown up earlier, Lazarus wouldn’t have died.” The implication seems to be, “Why didn’t you come when we called for you?”
Then, we come to a very, very profound verse. There’s a meaning hidden in the Greek, the original language in which this was written.
John 11:33 (CSB): “When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, he was deeply moved in his spirit and troubled.”
The words “deeply moved” mean that He had a strong emotional response, typically associated with anger or indignation.
Jesus was angry?! Why?! It seems to me that the only answer that makes sense is that Jesus saw his dear friends crying over the death of a loved one, and He became angry at sin. If Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned, there would have been no death, and there would be no weeping. I think he was angry at sin and sin’s consequences that were harming His dear friends.
Then, Jesus walks to the tomb and cries. Honestly, I find it so comforting that Jesus cried. In fact, I believe that since God cried at the agony of others while on earth, I suspect that Jesus might still cry when He observes the agony of His followers. It may not only be our tears that get wiped away on the last day.
In verse 39, Jesus told them to remove the stone. Martha couldn’t help but speak up. She didn’t want to see her brother’s decomposing body nor smell it’s stench. That would be more trauma than she could bear.
But Jesus tells her to trust Him.
John 11:40 (CSB): “Jesus said to her, ‘Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’”
Then, to glorify the Father and demonstrate that Jesus was heard by the Father, Jesus prayed out loud and then said, “Lazarus, come out!” Lazarus did. He was unwrapped and went home with his family and friends.
So what was the result with the crowds?
John 11:45-46 (CSB): “Therefore, many of the Jews who came to Mary and saw what he did believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.”
Some believed in Jesus. They saw His power and trusted in Him. But we are also told that some went to the Pharisees. They didn’t necessarily have malicious intent. Many of them may have merely wanted the Pharisees to come to see Jesus and give their affirmation of Him.
The Pharisees weren’t excited about Him, though. Not at all! They said that if they allowed Him to continue doing all of the miracles, everyone would believe in Him. For some reason, they said that the Romans would “take away both our place and our nation,” something that doesn’t make any sense. They were so blind with hate for Jesus that they just wanted to do away with Him.
Then, we read Caiaphas’ comments, who was the high priest at that time. His words were powerful, and he didn’t realize he was speaking prophetically.
John 11:49-52 (CSB): “One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all! You’re not considering that it is to your advantage that one man should die for the people rather than the whole nation perish.’ He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to unite the scattered children of God.”
So what was Caiaphas really saying? He was essentially saying: “Guys, you’re knuckleheads and don’t know anything! Don’t you realize that it would be OK for one man to die, namely Jesus, rather than allowing upheaval to overwhelm the whole nation of Israel? So it’s OK if we work to get Jesus out of the way so that the rest of Israel can be saved.”
Yet, Caiaphas didn’t realize that his words were prophetic. When Jesus died, His death and resurrection would be what would save everyone who placed their trust in Him.
This chapter ends with the acknowledgment that the Passover is near. This was the Jewish celebration of how God had protected and saved the Israelites when God’s death angel killed so many Egyptians. The salvation during the first Passover came when a lamb was killed, and its blood was painted upon the doorposts and lintels. That pointed to Jesus as the final Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. So it was fitting that Jesus would be sacrificed during the Passover.
Lord Jesus, thank You for being the Passover Lamb. Thank You that Your death and resurrection have spared me the righteous anger and judgment of God. Thank you for enabling me to trust in You for salvation so that I am completely forgiven and made righteous in the Father’s eyes. Now, help me, Lord Jesus, to live like who I am. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.
I hope today’s episode has helped you to understand and enjoy God’s Word so that you can apply it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
If looking over the script for this podcast would be beneficial to you, hop on over to my website at mattsmusings.net. I will provide a link in this episode’s show notes.
The “Enjoying the Bible” podcast is a ministry of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida. Check us out at fbcpolkcity.com. See you tomorrow!