Small Group Curriculum

Rehoboam: The Great Divider

12.13.15 | Sermon Series: Family Tree


SMALL GROUP CURRICULUM  (Download PDF)

PREPARATION

Spend the week studying 2 Chronicles 10:1-19. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.

Determine which discussion points and questions will work best with your group.

Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their receptivity to God’s Word.

Focus on the Main Point. We should have compassion on the head strong and wayward members of our family and pray for them regularly.

INTRODUCTION

Who is your favorite sports team? Who is their rival? How do you feel about that particular rival? Is it heated, healthily competitive, or fun?

Would you consider yourself to be more go-with-the-flow or more outspoken? How does this present itself in your life most often?

Do you know anyone who seems to be disagreeable or contrary just for the sake of being disagreeable and contrary? Why are these people so hard to get along with?

Rivalries between sports teams are meant to bring out our sense of competition. We enjoy these match ups because the stakes are so high. Interaction between fans should be good-natured and fun, but what happens when it is not so good-natured? We all know those people who will go out of their way to make a snide remark about the other team—who can’t seem to let a comment pass them by. Maybe they even have a seat at your holiday table. Do you have family members who want to breed conflict? Jesus had some of those, too. Rehoboam, the great divider, ignored the wise counsel of his elders to plow his own path of destruction, which divided the kingdom of Israel. His failure to exercise compassion hurt his family. Today we will consider how to deal with our own Rehoboams.

LEARN

Select 3-5 questions to discuss as a group.

HAVE A VOLUNTEER READ 2 CHRONICLES 10:1-19.

After the reign of Solomon the united kingdom of Israel would be divided into two with Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Jeroboam and Rehoboam became the first kings of the divided kingdom, respectively, and this story led to that split.

Who are the characters in this story and what do they want from each other? Why does conflict often start with one person making a request from another?

To whose counsel did Rehoboam choose to listen? How did Rehoboam fail to exercise and demonstrate compassion to Jeroboam’s request? What roles does wise counsel take in subduing conflicts?

Do you know anyone who always has something to prove? What is the best way to respond to someone like that? Discuss possible resolutions with your small group.

Why was Rehoboam insecure? How does insecurity lead to people being combative?

Solomon was harsh on the people in the north and so Jeroboam came to Rehoboam to ask for leniency in his dealings with them. He faced the choice to follow the wisdom of his elders to be gracious to them or the wisdom of his peers to assert himself and prove stronger than his father Solomon. Rehoboam was young and insecure, so he chose the latter and caused conflict within the formerly united kingdom. Rehoboam’s failure was one of compassion. We cannot control our family members, but we can take the high road and respond to them with compassion.

Read 2 Chronicles 12:13. How do we inherit our parents’ or relatives’ desire for conflict? What must we do to rise above their mistakes in the present?

How can family drama actually shape you for God’s good? Does anyone have a story of how they have been shaped by conflict that they would be willing to share with the group?

The Scriptures suggest that Rehoboam was influenced by his mother. Many of us come to be disagreeable because we were raised to be disagreeable, but we all face the choice to follow our drama-loving relatives’ choices or to do what is good and honoring to the Lord. If conflict is ingrained in our personality, then choosing obedience to God might not be easy, but it is possible through His strength. God used Rehoboam’s conflict to keep a people for Himself and bring the Messiah into the world. He can use your family drama for His glory as well.

LIVE

Select one question from this section to answer.

As we have talked about Rehoboam, is there a Rehoboam in your family who comes to mind? What would it look like to show him or her compassion?

Is there any area where you are being a Rehoboam in your family? Do you need to seek peace in your family instead of conflict? Why is seeking peace a better option?

 LEAD

Select one question from this section to ask your group.

If one of your family members is bent on starting conflict, how can you contribute to peace instead? How would pursuing peace with this person possibly lead him/her to see Jesus more clearly?

Do you have any friends from inside or outside the church who are dealing with familial conflict? How can what we discussed this week help you help them to exercise wisdom and compassion in these conflicts? What opportunity might that present for sharing the gospel?

PRAY

Praise God for being a God of unity and peace. Pray for those in your small group and in our church who have to deal with this kind of tension and division during the holidays. Ask God to fill their hearts with compassion and their mouths with prayer for these people. Pray that as far as it depends on you, you will live at peace with even the most difficult of family members this season.

FOLLOW UP

Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:

  • What is one way you can be compassionate to the dividers in your family?

  • Memorize 2 Chronicles 10:8.

 


COMMENTARY

2 CHRONICLES 10:1-19.

10:1. Some of the kings throughout the rest of 2 Chronicles have similar names. Some of these kings appear under different names in 1 and 2 Kings. For this reason whenever a king is mentioned for the first time from this point on, we will give a quick summary of his identity.

Rehoboam: First king of Judah; son of Solomon; the king under whom the united kingdom split into the north (Israel) and the south (Judah). Initially there seemed to be little doubt in anyone’s mind that Rehoboam should become the next king. He was the son of Solomon, and everyone knew that the descendants of David should occupy the throne. There seemed to be little question about Rehoboam’s readiness for the kingship at 41 years old, so all Israel went to Shechem for his coronation.

10:2. Jeroboam: First king of Israel (where Israel refers only to the northern kingdom); leader in the revolt of the 10 northern tribes against Rehoboam; instituted official idol worship in the north. Jeroboam, from the tribe of Ephraim, at one time had been the leader of Solomon’s labor force in Jerusalem (1Ki 11:26-40). One day when he was outside the city walls, the prophet Ahijah approached him and told him that he would be king over the 10 northern tribes (1Ki 11:29ff). Realizing that he had now been officially designated as a future traitor and that Solomon would execute him, Jeroboam fled to Egypt and remained there for the rest of Solomon’s reign. As soon as Jeroboam heard about the impending coronation of Rehoboam, he made his way back from exile in Egypt to join the assembly.

10:3-4. Jeroboam’s talent for leadership was known to the people, who immediately appointed him to be their spokesman and to convey to Rehoboam their desire for a reduction in forced labor.

10:5-7. King Solomon had been known for his wisdom and his ability to decide difficult questions (1Ki 3:28). His son, however, was unable to decide how to respond to this simple request. First he went to the older counselors, those who had served alongside Solomon, and asked them what he should do. They replied with the obvious answer: when you are confronted with an ultimatum from the populace and your entire kingdom is at stake, and you have it in your power to give in to the ultimatum with little difficulty, give the people what they ask for.

10:8-10. Rehoboam did not like the advice of the elders, so he consulted his peers, who are identified as young men (a comparative term, since they were roughly the same age as Rehoboam). They were in their forties, and they had been forced to wait for a long time to have any influence in the kingdom. These younger men saw the opportunity to assert themselves, and they suggested to Rehoboam that he speak sharply to the people. They coached their befuddled ruler into repeating an absurd saying that would have alienated even a person who had meant to support Rehoboam.

10:11. The HCSB correctly translates the word that is literally “scorpions” as barbed whips—a common instrument of discipline in the ancient Near East.

10:14. The king made the exact abusive speech that his younger advisers had programmed him to give (vv. 10-11).

10:15. The Chronicler makes it clear to his readers that in the final analysis Rehoboam was only carrying out what God had already prophesied through the prophet Ahijah—that Rehoboam would lose almost all of his kingdom. Thus, even though Rehoboam was responsible for his actions, he was fulfilling what God had planned as punishment for Solomon’s and Israel’s unfaithfulness (1Ki 11:33).

10:16. When the people (all Israel) realized that Rehoboam was not willing to listen to their reasonable request, they turned their backs on him and went home (to their tents).

10:17. Rehoboam did not lose all his territory, but his kingdom was restricted to the tribe of Judah. Technically, this region also encompassed the area of Simeon, but this tribe had been assimilated into Judah over the centuries (though not entirely; see 1Ch 4:41). The tribe of Benjamin, once the fiercest opponent of the house of David, was now also fully integrated into Judah.

10:18-19. Still at Shechem, Rehoboam thought he could force the rebellious people to submit to him. He assigned Hadoram, his minister of labor, to call the Israelites back to their duty. The people of the northern tribes expressed their dissatisfaction with rocks and killed their would-be supervisor. Rehoboam managed to escape, but the kingdom was split for good.