The dream of a king reigning over all the tribes of Israel, each working in harmony had long since descended into a nightmare. Disputes between the tribes had never been resolved and, by the time Rehoboam ascends to the throne, civil war is raging.
Discomtent had also been brewing over centralisation of worship – all the building that Solomon did cost the people dearly in taxes and cost the monarchy the good will and trust of the people.
Rehoboam sought counsel for his reign – from the older men who had served his father, Solomon and from his own set of younger friends.
The older men advised loosening the reins a bit, easing up, serving the people, while the younger men advised Rehoboam to assert his power, tighten the reins, become even more oppressive than his father had been.
Those divisions in the kingdom extended beyond tribal divisions to generational divisions, each set looking for something different from their ruler.
Rehoboam opted to listen to his younger friends, ignoring the wisdom of those who had lived long and seen much and thus an even more oppressive regime ensued.
The questions we might pursue in preaching this week:
Whose are the voices to which we listen more than others?
What are the questions that divide the generations?
What might be a goal to which generations will work together?
What dreams are we pursuing at the expense of peace?
Where are we observing those asserting their power rather than biding their time? In the church? In the world?