June 24. II Chronicles 10 – 12
We all want both of these – power and popularity. People struggle, manipulate, obsess, fight and even die for them. Rehoboam had them both and revealed a real danger of possessing both: “he abandoned the Lord...”
12:1 But just when Rehoboam was at the height of his popularity and power he abandoned the Lord, and the people followed him in this sin.
The 19th-century British historian, Lord Action, made this statement, “Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This power and popularity of Rehoboam caused him to sin against God, but even worse is that it caused others that followed his power and popularity to also follow him down his path of sinful and willful, disobedience to the Lord.
Power and popularity that should have been used by their king to lead them to safety, to care for them, and to strengthen them had now led them to attacks from the enemy. Cities were destroyed, families were scattered and fled to Jerusalem and you can trace their demise to the fact that their king was popular and powerful, but forgetful. Forgetful of God, and His ways and His Word.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Rehoboam’s problem was not power and popularity alone, but his problem was decision making as well; primarily he would never make the decision to please the Lord and therefore his power and popularity were used for evil rather than good.
12:14 But he was an evil king, for he never did decide really to please the Lord.
Power and popularity are not evil in themselves, but what they do, as they are exercised by the person possessing them, is reveal the heart and character of the person. Unchecked power is inherently corrupting and blinding and can lead to abuse of power and a disregard for the negative effects of those actions and decisions on others.
That is why you need good, and by 'good' that is to say, spiritually-minded-guided-by-God’s Word, good counselors in your life. But also remember this, that God has given you His Spirit to help hold you in check with your power and popularity. Learn to listen to that check and prompting, leading and conviction. There were times when Rehoboam did just that, but it was only to get him out of a hard spot, he never truly wanted to please the Lord.
12:6 Then the king and the leaders of Israel confessed their sins and exclaimed, “The Lord is right in doing this to us!”
Before seeking power and popularity, prepare your heart to please the Lord. That way the power or popularity you have will reveal a heart and character that reflect God. That heart and character can then lead others to His goodness, love, mercy and a life of purpose and peace. Leverage your power and popularity for the good of others and the advancement of God’s kingdom rather than your domain, and enjoy God’s peace and protection upon your life.