When God's People Strayed...


...Then They Split!

For hundreds of years after Moses, various Kings reigned over the Israelite tribes, which now had all become great nations. One such king was Rehoboam.

Upon his father's passing Rehoboam was about to assume the throne as King of Israel. His counselors vainly tried to persuade Rehoboam to be a gentle king. He dismissed their advice and pronounced his command would be more over-bearing then his predecessors.

Outraged that he would assume an authoritarian position, a majority of the tribes appealed to Rehoboam through one leader named Jeroboam.

Jeroboam appealed to Rehoboam to listen to the people. Put off by Jeroboam's request, Rehoboam essentially tells Jeroboam to 'get lost.'

In an act yet to be resolved in history, incensed by Rehoboam's apathy toward many of his kingdom Jeroboam coordinates a mass exodus by 10 of the 12 tribes from their homeland (and home church) with the infamous words: "Israel, to your tents!"

Offended by the rulers (Rehoboam was of Judah's tribe, Judah had been designated to rule from the beginning) who appeared to want to change the laws of the church, those who took offense departed.

Ten of the twelve tribes departed into the wilderness, most to their own peril. Some were never heard from again--to this day. The tribes that departed became known as 'The Lost Tribes of Israel.' Although unknown to the world, they are not forgotten by God. His plan still calls to gather them in the last days.

Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (which was so small it assimilated into Judah), and some of Joseph (Ephraim & Manasseh) remained. Those who remained in Jerusalem all became known as Jews, although a few were not literal descendants of Judah.

This is particularly important when Father Lehi learns from the brass plates his lineage is of Joseph and not Judah. It is extremely important, because being a direct descendant of Joseph and not Judah, when he leaves Jerusalem for the Americas, he is fulfilling the type and shadow set forth by the story of Joseph. The prophesy is that the lineage of Joseph (started here with Lehi) would write (part of it is the Book of Mormon), and the writings of Judah (i.e. the Bible) would combine together to confound false doctrines. Also, the words of the Nephites (Joseph's tribe) would be that which restores the Jews (Judah's tribe) to a knowledge of Jesus in the latter days.

So it must have been astounding to Lehi to learn, as they scanned the plates from their wilderness tent, that his great-grandfather was Manasseh, not Judah. That changed everything.

Anyhow, here is the following passage that depicts an epic event in the life of the church: splitting and departure because some people, in this case the more conservative/fundamental group, didn't agree with the leadership. Was Jeroboam's departure commanded by God like Lehi's? No. Was it the same purpose as Lehi's? No. Why did they do it? Seemed right at the time, but did ultimate good come from it......the jury is still out.

Ultimately it works into God's plan of restoration and gathering, although it sure caused a mess for the last few thousand years.

Here is the story from:

 

II Chronicles 10:11 - II Chronicles 10:19

Rehoboam's apathetic nature revealed:

11 ....For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

An appeal is made by the people through Jeroboam. The king Rehoboam does not listen:

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day.

13 And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,

14 And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

15 So the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was of God, that the Lord might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

So the story of straying becomes one of splitting and scattering (has this ever happened since?) The people took it upon themselves to believe that there was no reason to remain. Did God truly command their departure?

16 And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to your tents, O Israel; and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.

As mentioned, some of the Israelites, those Jews at Jerusalem, Benjamin and a few of Joseph remained. They lived under wicked leadership.

17 But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.

Notice now, that the departed are called 'Israel' and their actions are called rebellious. Even if they were nice their values conservative.

19 And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.


Notice through out scripture, God calls to gather. When rebellion takes place, whether justifiable or not, scattering occurs.

What has been the church's experience in the latter days? Gathering or scattering? Should a man divorce his wife if she has warts? Should a people leave God's covenant church if they disagree with leadership? What does God's desire for a husband to remain faithful to his wife, and the wife for the husband, teach about God's commitment to us? Should someone depart for unhappiness alone? Would God leave us? Should we leave him? Should people leave the church?

The leadership of the church remained at Judah at Jerusalem, and the departed were called 'Israel' and sometimes all were called 'Jacob' (for the house of Jacob, Israel's name before it was changed).

After the split, prophets were sent to both camps. The majority of prophets were sent to Judah. Big names like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel were part of the prophetic messenger team. Sometimes the rebellious Israel received prophets too. There were false prophets found among both.

But the church in Judah, under the designated leadership by lineage, began to dwindle in unbelief. Despite the prophets, the people morally strayed. Read more about the condition of the church under its Old Testament leadership in Judah in the lesson: The Prophets Mourned for Pastors

11 For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day.
13 And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,
14 And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
15 So the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was of God, that the Lord might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
16 And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to your tents, O Israel; and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.
17 But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
18 Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
19 And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.

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When God's People Strayed...

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Read The Entire Series:


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God designed marriage to symbolically teach humanity about His relationship with the church.

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