OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 27
1 Kings 12-14; 2 Chronicles 17; 20
- The kingdom of Israel is divided, primarily because of Rehoboam's harsh
- Jeroboam and Rehoboam lead their kingdoms into idolatry.
- Jehosphat leads the kingdom of Judah to follow the Lord and His prophets.
A study of this lesson should encourage us to develop good leadership
qualities so that we can influence other to live righteously.
The Kingdom of Israel Is Divided
- "And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel
was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in
the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead"
(1 Kings 11:42-43).
- READ 1 KINGS 12:3-4. Rehoboam called to lighten
the burden on the people.
READ 1 KINGS 12:6-7. The counsel of the Israelite
elders to Rehoboam.
- WHAT CHANGES DID THE ISRAELITES WANT REHOBOAM TO MAKE FROM THE WAY
HIS FATHER RULED?
- The people were asking that taxes and compulsory service be eased.
They were not asking for an elimination of these taxes and service, only
that the burden be lightened.
READ 1 KINGS 12:8-11. The counsel of the young
men to Rehoboam.
- The reign of the Book of Mormon king, Benjamin, is a wonderful example
of the positive counsel of the Israelite elders.
- In reviewing his reign as king, Benjamin said that he had been kept
and preserved by the Lord "to serve you with all the might, mind
and strength which the Lord hath granted unto me" (Mosiah 2:11).
Benjamin went on to say, "And even I, myself, have labored with
mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden
with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous
to be borne--and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves
are witnesses this day" (Mosiah 2:14).
- This righteous king led the Nephites to greater righteousness. The
words of the people: "And we are willing to enter into a covenant
with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in
all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days"
- WHY ARE WE MORE LIKELY TO BE INFLUENCED POSITIVELY BY A LEADER WHO
IS KIND AND WHO SERVES US?
- The world of work provides interesting examples of this principle.
A negative example: A few years ago we had a manager who became so obsessed
with productivity and numbers that she forgot that the people doing the
work are essential to success. We were treated harshly, almost like disobedient
children. The result was that our productivity continued to decline. Many
good employees quit or transferred. Ultimately, this manager lost her position.
- Several years ago I worked as a district executive for the Boy Scouts
of America. My immediate boss, the Assistant Scout Executive for the council,
was a wonderful leader and his example led me, and others, to do our best.
He was not caught up in his position as a leader. His was an attitude of
service. If there was an event, such as a camporee or Scout show, he remained
to help clean up, "until the last dog is hung" as I often heard
him say. He was always early for events to make sure that everything was
in order. One year, during our summer Cub Scout day camps, we incurred
a financial loss on the operation within my district. Rather than reprimand
or scold me for the situation, we discussed what had happened and the principles
for sound management. I was honored by this man for my work and I worked
diligently the following summer to make up for the loss. He was a wonderful
leader and has inspired many Scouting volunteers over the years as well
as influenced the lives of thousands of youth.
- HOW CAN WE APPLY THIS COUNSEL AT HOME? AT CHURCH? AT WORK?
- As King Benjamin stated, "When ye are in the service of your
fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah
"And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was
come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made
him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David,
but the tribe of Judah only" (1 Kings 12:20).
- WHAT WAS THE RESULT OF REHOBOAM HEEDING THE COUNSEL OF THE YOUNG MEN?
- Israel was divided (see 1 Kings 12:12-17).
- The phrase in verse 16, "Israel departed to their tents"
refers to the ten tribes separating themselves from Rehoboam's kingdom.
- "But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities
of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them" (1 Kings 12:17).
- WHO IS THIS JEROBOAM THAT WAS MADE KING OVER THE TEN TRIBES?
- He was the son of a widow of Zereda, and while still young was promoted
by Solomon to be chief superintendent of the bands of forced laborers.
- The prophet Ahijah had prophesied to Jeroboam, "Take thee ten
pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend
the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee"
(1 Kings 11:31).
- He had formed conspiracies against Solomon, but had to flee to Egypt
in order to protect his life.
- Upon Solomon's death, the ten tribes sent for him to be their king.
Jeroboam and Rehoboam Lead Their Kingdoms Into Idolatry
- Through the prophet Ahijah, Jeroboam was told that if he would "hearken
unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is
right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments" he
would be given a "sure house" or a secure kingdom.
"At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick"
(1 Kings 14:1).
- HOW DID JEROBOAM TREAT THIS PROMISE FROM THE LORD?
- The Lord had told Jeroboam how to secure his kingdom. Jeroboam failed
to trust in the promises from the Lord. "And Jeroboam said in his
heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people
go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall
the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam
king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of
Judah." (1 Kings 12:26-27)
- So what did Jeroboam do because of his lack of faith? (see 1 Kings
- He made two calves of gold (12:28).
- He then led Israel into idolatry, "It is too much for you to
go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out
of the land of Egypt" (12:28).
- He made priests of those not of the house of Levi (12:31).
- High places: altars that were built on hilltops. When the people fell
into idolatry, they desecrated these altars and used them for idol worship.
- He ordained a new feast day and made sacrifices unto the golden calves
READ 1 KINGS 14:21-24. The wickedness of Rehoboam
- Jeroboam knew that his false gods had no power and so he sent his wife
in disguise to the prophet Ahijah (14:2-3).
- Ahijah was blind by age, but the Lord told him that the wife of Jeroboam
would come to visit him "to ask a thing of thee for her son"
- Ahijah told Jeroboam's wife:
- "I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam" (14:10).
- Their child would die (14:12).
- "...the LORD shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall
cut off the house of Jeroboam" (14:14).
- READ 1 KINGS 14:15-16. The Lord to smite Israel.
- Groves: places of pagan worship where people sometimes engaged in immoral
- Consider the curse that Jeroboam brought upon Israel because of his
own wickedness and leading the people into false worship.
- WHAT WAS THE EVENTUAL RESULT OF THE WICKEDNESS OF THESE KINGS AND THE
KINGDOMS OF ISRAEL AND JUDAH?
- They were scattered or carried away captive many years later. Israel
was taken captive by Assyria and Judah by the Babylonians.
- HOW CAN ONE WICKED LEADER HAVE SUCH A PROFOUND EFFECT ON SO MANY PEOPLE?
- We again see the effect that a wicked king has on his people in the
story of King Noah. Eventually, the group of Nephites he led where taken
into bondage to serve the Lamanites. A leader sets an example. Noah led
his people to sin. Benjamin led his people to a commitment to righteousness.
Leaders make a difference.
- We hear discussion in the media today that it doesn't matter what kind
of personal life a leader lives, so long as he gets the job done. Yet we
see in these scriptural examples that it does matter, for a wicked leader
can bring the people to much anguish. It is clear that we need seek for
leaders who have faith in the Lord and are willing to abide by his commandments.
- These principles are especially true for those of us that live in the
United States. The constitution was established by the Lord "by
the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose"
(D&C 101:80). James Madison said that our constitution can only work
when we abide by righteous principles. Our leaders set the agenda and set
- George Washington: "Of all the dispositions and habits which
lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports....
Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can
prevail in exclusion of religious principle." (Washington's Farewell
- David Lawrence, at one time editor of the U.S. News & World Report:
"The destiny of the world is in the hands of those statesmen who
can interpret faithfully the commands of the Almighty." (Ezra
Taft Benson, CR, April 1963)
- The wickedness of leaders does not give us an excuse for unrighteous
- "And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth,
perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself;
for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold,
God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free"
Jehoshaphat Lead The Kingdom Of Judah To Follow The
- Three generations after Rehoboam, his great-grandson Jehoshaphat reigned
over the kingdom of Judah.
Jehoshaphat set a new agenda for Israel by his own devotion to the
Lord. He "took away the high places and groves out of Judah"
- READ 2 CHRONICLES 17:3-4, 6. Jehoshaphat follows
Jehoshaphat sent Levites throughout the kingdom, "And they
taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and
went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people"
(2 Chronicles 17:9).
- Jehoshaphat led the people back to the Lord through his personal example
and by removing these places of false worship.
- AS LEADERS IN OUR HOMES, WHAT MIGHT WE REMOVE FROM OUR HOMES AND OUR
PERSONAL LIVES SO WE CAN WORSHIP GOD WITH GREATER DEVOTION?
During the reign of Jehoshaphat, Israel faced a difficult situation
when several nations declared war against them. Jehoshaphat and Israel
- Jehoshaphat continued his crusade for righteousness by having the people
taught from the scriptures. Receiving the word of God does have an impact
on people. Recall that Alma gave up the judgement seat to Nephihah in order
"that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up
in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word
of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were
among his people" (Alma 4:19).
- While I was on my mission, I had the privilege of working with an older
missionary couple from Utah. They shared with me the experience of their
first assignment after having arrived on their mission. They had been called
to serve in a small dependent branch. Attendance at the time they arrived
was as high as 20 people. The vast majority of the members in that branch
were inactive. This couple, like Alma, went out among the people and began
to teach the scriptures. They encouraged each member to read the Book of
Mormon. They made several return visits to each member, each time discussing
the content of their reading and leaving questions for them to find the
answers to. Within a few months, attendance had quadrupled and tithing
receipts exceeded that of the branch on which they were dependent. The
word of God has an impact, as Jehoshaphat, Alma, and this missionary could
- In a previous question, we asked what we might remove from our homes
so that we can worship with greater devotion. In like manner, the scriptures
and their teachings need to replace these negative influences, for he we
find the truth the leads our families to righteousness.
- Ezra Taft Benson: "Often we spend great effort in trying to
increase the activity levels in our stakes. We work diligently to raise
the percentages of those attending sacrament meetings. We labor to get
a higher percentage of our young men on missions. We strive to improve
the numbers of those marrying in the temple. All of these are commendable
efforts and important to the growth of the kingdom. But when individual
members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and
consistently, these other areas of activity will automatically come. Testimonies
will increase. Commitment will be strengthened. Families will be fortified.
Personal revelation will flow." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson,
As Latter-day Saints, we are like ancient Judah, in that we are surrounded
by influences designed to bring us down.
- READ 2 CHRONICLES 20:3-13. Israel's plea for help.
- WHAT DID JEHOSHAPHAT DO?
- He proclaimed a fast throughout the land (20:3).
- He went up to the temple to ask the Lord for help (20:5-12).
- All Judah stood before the Lord (20:13).
- Jehoshaphat and Judah exercised faith in the Lord.
- HOW DID THE LORD RESPOND?
- The Lord gave his answer through the prophet Jahaziel, "O Judah
and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them:
for the LORD will be with you" (20:17).
- READ 2 CHRONICLES 20:20. Believe in the Lord and
- HOW DOES JEHOSHAPHAT'S COUNSEL APPLY TO US TODAY?
- Jehoshaphat counseled the people to believe in the Lord and his prophets.
If we believe in the Lord's modern day prophets, we will heed their counsel.
As we do so we will be strengthened by the Lord.
- READ 2 CHRONICLES 20:21-24. Interesting tactics.
- The Lord fulfilled his promise to Judah and they were spared the battle.
We too will be strengthened and blessed as we give heed to the counsel
of the Lord's servants.
- A wonderful, modern day example is the temple in the former East Germany.
For years the Saints applied for exit permits to visit the temple in Switzerland.
They followed the counsel of their leaders and always returned to their
homeland. This surprised the East German officials that these Latter-day
Saints always returned, when others given such an opportunity, would remain
in the west. Eventually, the Church was given the opportunity to build
the temple in East Germany. And as we know, it was not long thereafter
that the Berlin wall came down and East Germany was free from years of
Communist rule. Who fought the battle? The Lord. These wonderful German
people were blessed for their obedience as was the nation of Judah at the
time of Jehoshaphat.
One discovers through a study of the stories of Jeroboam, Rehoboam,
and Jehoshaphat that there are distinct qualities in a good leader. A good
leader gives service, trusts and obeys the Lord, has faith in God, teaches
from the scriptures, and follows the prophets. Jeroboam and Rehoboam both
forgot these important principles and led their people to wickedness. Jehoshaphat
had faith in the Lord and led the people in righteousness. As a consequence,
the Lord blessed Judah and saved the nation from their enemies. As we serve
in our callings, we should strive to invoke these principles in our lives.
Like Jehoshaphat, we too, can be influential in bring blessings into the
lives of those we serve.
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