“This Thing Is Done Of Me” Study No. 246
ost of us know the history of Solomon. We know of the wisdom, the prosperity, and the peace that God gave Israel while he was king. When he grew old, his heart was turned away from God by his many wives. Solomon built houses of worship on the hills around Jerusalem, to the strange gods of those wives. Rehoboam, the successor to the throne, was Solomon’s son by an Ammonitess woman named Naamah. When Rehoboam decided to raise the taxes, the northern ten tribes, known as Israel, rebelled. In II Chronicles 10:18, Rehoboam sent Hadoram to collect the tribute money from Israel, but they stoned him till he died.
This account sets the stage for a lesson that we need to learn. When God does something we are not to try to undo what He has done.
II Chronicles 11:1, “And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam.” The kingdom was split and Rehoboam was going to try to put it back together again.
Verses 2-4, “But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of Me.” The dividing of the nation was something that God had done. When God does something, we are not to try to change it.
II Chronicles 11:5, “And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defense in Judah.” There was peace during the reign of Solomon but not so for Rehoboam. He began to strengthen Judah militarily.
II Chronicles 11:11-12, “And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine. And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong.” Look what happens when a nation becomes strong.
II Chronicles 12:1, “And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, He forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.”
Throughout the Biblical history of God dealing with mankind, we find that when the nation is strong, the people have a tendency to look to the nation and their leader. When the nation is weak, the people look to God.
II Chronicles 12:2, “And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, Shishak, king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the Lord.”
The Egyptians didn’t decide to come up against Judah because they had “transgressed against the Lord”; they came up because God caused them to. This was done of God.
Verse 4, “And he took the fenced cities.” All the strength that the king and the people put their faith in was swept away.
Verse 6, “Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The Lord is righteous.” With the strength of the nation swept away, their only hope was to look to God. It is during the time of weakness, when all the things that humans depend upon, are swept away, that they will draw close to God.
Verse 12, “And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the Lord turned from him, that He would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well.” God began to bless Judah once again. Did Rehoboam learn the lesson?
Verse 13, “So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem, and reigned.” After Rehoboam had humbled himself in the face of adversity, and God delivered him, he went back to depending on his, and his nation’s physical strength.
Verse 14, “And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.” This is the lesson that we should all learn. When the physical things on which we depend are taken away from us, we should “prepare” our heart to seek God. The word “prepared,” Strong’s #3559, means to “set up, establish, or to fix.”
Most of mankind wants something physical to look to, to depend upon, to put their faith in. They find comfort in numbers. They want to be on the winning team. They want to follow the crowd. People naturally want to be a part of a strong unit, with strong leadership. Nobody wants to be alone and defenseless. Nobody wants to be scattered.
There are some that do not believe in the seven Church eras taught by Mr. Armstrong. I believe very strongly in the seven Church eras and that we are in the last era. It is in this time that there comes a scattering of God’s people. That scattering is mentioned in several places in the Bible, and the blame is placed on the Shepherds; or is it? Who is ultimately responsible for the scattering of God’s people?
Jeremiah 23:1, “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture . . . .”
Verse 2, “Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock.” This sounds very clear as to who is scattering the flock. But who is actually responsible for the scattering of the flock? It seemed clear that the dividing of Israel was caused by Rehoboam for raising the taxes, yet God said in II Chronicles 11:4, “for this thing is done of Me.”
Is God responsible for the scattering of His people? Does God want us to be scattered and physically weak as a people looking only to Him and growing spiritually stronger as we put our faith in God? Or does God want us to be a part of a strong Church body, with a strong headquarters, and a strong professional ministry pastoring over the flock?
Continuing, Jeremiah 23:3, “And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries WHITHER I HAVE DRIVEN THEM. . . .”
God has scattered His people for a cause. We need to be learning the lesson that Rehoboam missed. When the nation is strong people look to the nation, and their leaders. When the nation is weak, people look to God. When the Church is strong, people look to the Church and their leaders. When the Church is weak, people look to God. We cannot be looking to our own strength or an organized church. The seventh era is the last era. There is not to be another organized Church doing a work after the seventh era, or during the seventh era. God wants our faith and confidence to be in Him. It is God that is going to do the gathering; not a Church with an organized ministry. This is proved by what God said through Ezekiel in chapter 34!
Ezekiel 34:2, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?” NOTICE THAT THIS IS NOT ONE FLOCK. This is “flocks,” plural, more than one. You will find from the context that these “flocks,” collectively, represent the “flock” of God.
Verse 4, “The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.” Instead of being a shepherd (a minister, a servant) they were forceful and cruel rulers. The end result has been the scattering of God’s people.
Verse 5, “And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd.” It wasn’t that there were no men who called themselves shepherds, or ministers, because there have always been plenty of them. There have always been plenty of men who will step forward and claim to be called of God to perform some great work. Look around the scattered people of God now and listen to the claims of men who have set themselves up as leaders. They will tell you that they alone have the ticket to the place of safety, and that they are awed and humbled to be used of God for this purpose.
I believe it is extremely important for us to look very closely at what God says in Ezekiel 34:9-12, regarding His scattered sheep and who is going to gather them. Look very closely at whom God is not going to use to gather his people.
Ezekiel 34:9-10, “Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require My flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock . . . [God is going to cause the shepherds to cease from feeding the flock] neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more . . . [God is also going to take away the tithe of His flock from the shepherds] for I will deliver My flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.” God is going to separate His flock from the shepherds, or ministers.
This is not me saying these words, or twisting what is being said. This is God telling the shepherds what He is going to do. It is all quite clear in verses 9-12.
So who is going to gather God’s people, or flock, in the end time? Is it going to be an organized church, with professional ministers, or shepherds, gathering together God’s people so that God can then take them to a place of safety? Let’s read what God says through Ezekiel.
Ezezkiel 34:11-12, “For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I even I, will both search My sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out My sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.”
The cloudy and dark day is a time in our near future. It is God that will be seeking out those who look directly to Him. It is God that will remove the professional ministry that we looked to in the past. In the past we were children and we needed close supervision. God wants to see if we are “unskillful in the word of righteousness.” Are we able to practice what we have been taught? Do we know good from evil? Read Hebrews 5:12-14. Are we learning the lesson that Rehoboam should have learned? Are we preparing our heart to seek God, or, are we trying to strengthen a church and a ministry, that we can look to? Are we trying to undo what God has done?
I Corinthians 1:27-29, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise . . . And base things of the world and things which are despised, hath God chosen . . . to bring to nought things that are; That no flesh should glory in His presence.”
This is just our opinion from the things I have read in the Bible. We welcome, and will listen to any view that is Biblically based.
— by Bill and Cheryl Nichols Ω