Everything was gone. All gone.
He looked out at the burning remains of his kingdom. The black clouds of billowing smoke looked strange against the cloudless blue sky. Red fires randomly dotted homes and fields, giving everything a red tint.
"I did everything right. I repented. I humbled myself before the Lord. He still abandoned me and my people," Rehoboam muttered.
He could still here Shemaiah saying, "Thus says the Lord, 'You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.'" When Shemaiah the prophet had come to him, and told him what the Lord had planned, his response had been immediate. He and the princes of Judah had humbled themselves before the Lord and declared Him righteous.
Shemaiah had come to him a few days afterwards saying that God had seen how they had humbled themselves, but basically it wasn't good enough, or something like that. God wasn't going to "destroy" them anymore, but Rehoboam and his people were still going to end of servants to Shishak. Now, Shishak and come and gone, and in his devastating wake, he had taken everything with him.
What was the point? What good had it done him? All this proved was that he had been right to begin with by turning from the stifled religion of his father and grandfather. He wouldn't trust in the God of his father, ever again.
Based on 2 Chronicles 12:1-9
"When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah; 'They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.'"
2 Chronicles 12:7-8
Rehoboam turned from following God. Eventually, God got fed up with it, said enough is enough, and was prepared to deal with him and the nation for the ways they were sinning. God told this to a prophet, and the prophet told Rehoboam. Rehoboam honorably repented, and God saw that. However, God didn't turn aside their punishment. God decided not to make it as severe as he originally intended, but He still disciplined His people.
Because God is awesome with forgiveness and second, third, and fourth chances, sometimes it's easy to think that if we pray for forgiveness, then the bad punishment will be taken away from us. Not always the case. Now I don't know if that was actually Rehoboam's heart attitude, but based on his lack of devotion to the Lord, I decided to make this point.
"And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? 'My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." Hebrews 12:5-6
"Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him."
God has to discipline us because He loves us. A parent has to discipline their child, or they will grow up to be terrors! God disciplines us for the same reasons. It's out of love, not vengeance or because your repentance wasn't good enough. It's not because He has abandoned you or that He hates you. You need to understand that it is purely because He loves you and wants to teach you more then this.
"For the moment all discipline seems painful, rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11
Discipline is hard, but it's always meant to teach a lesson. If we learn from it rather then turning from God because of it, then we will grow in righteousness.
V. Joy Palmer