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September 1, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: Ezekiel 9-12
Audio: Ezekiel 9-12

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

2 Chronicles 10 (ESV)

Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. And as soon as Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. And they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all Israel came and said to Rehoboam, “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.” He said to them, “Come to me again in three days.” So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” And they said to him, “If you will be good to this people and please them and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him.And he said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” 10 And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus shall you speak to the people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us’; thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs. 11 And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’”

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king said, “Come to me again the third day.” 13 And the king answered them harshly; and forsaking the counsel of the old men, 14 King Rehoboam spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by God that the Lord might fulfill his word, which he spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

16 And when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, “What portion have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. Each of you to your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, David.” So all Israel went to their tents. 17 But Rehoboam reigned over the people of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah. 18 Then King Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labor, and the people of Israel stoned him to death with stones. And King Rehoboam quickly mounted his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

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Next: 2 Chronicles 11

Back: 2 Chronicles 9

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions (2 Chronicles 10:11).

    Adding to Your Yoke

    In his book "All the Kings and Queens of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer writes, "The northern part of the kingdom, chafing under the heavy taxation and slave-like conditions imposed upon them by Solomon, sought relief at the hands of his son. Alas, headstrong and insolent Rehoboam rejected a just plea and thereby forfeited the unity of the throne of old Israel, and was left with only two tribes to reign over. Had Rehoboam succeeded to his father's wisdom, as well as to his throne, he would have followed the riper judgment of the elder statesmen and thus saved the kingdom from a disastrous division . . . The mistake of Rehoboam was the common mistakes of despots [a ruler or other person who holds absolute power, typically one who exercises it in a cruel or oppressive way]. He presumed too much on privilege not earned by service, and on power for which he was not willing to render adequate compensation."

    In his Study Bible, John MacArthur writes, "'Yoke' refers to the apparatus used to control a domesticated animal. The Jews referred to the 'yoke of the law' as a good thing, the essence of true religion. Paul argued that for those who pursued it as a way of salvation, the law was a yoke of slavery."

    MacArthur, J., Jr. (Ed.). (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed., p. 1797). Nashville, TN: Word Pub.

    In writing to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul writes, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1). 

    There are some today who view any exhortation from a pastor to his flock to overcome distractions, laziness, slothfulness, indifference and Lukewarmness as putting a "yoke of slavery" on those who have been "set free" by Christ from any yoke. Some pastors do cross over into putting "heavy burdens" on people even though Christ warned of this in the context of the scribes and Pharisees saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others" (Matthew 23:2-5).

    Jesus also said, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

    Because of this (and in reaction to other pastor who put heavy burdens on people), some pastors go the other way and become ultra passive and never exhort or rebuke anyone for any reason. Sin is not dealt with, sanctification is optional and love reigns at the expense of truth. But that is not biblical leadership and the people being led in these environments may be happy but will struggle to be holy.

    As such, heavy burdens or a "yoke of slavery" needs to be defined biblically. 

    When Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" some might see this as a burden or yoke. Self-denial can certainly be a burden for those who do not want to deny themselves. Taking up a cross doesn't sound like fun so for many, the heavy cross is akin to a yoke. Following Jesus sounds more appealing but if we truly want to follow Christ, then self-denial and taking up our crosses is the prerequisite for following Christ. You can't follow Jesus is you are living for yourself and refuse to suffer even to the point of death for Christ's sake. 

    Some might read that and see this statement as the ultimate yoke of slavery. But as Christians, we are no longer slaves to sin but are bondslaves of Christ. A bondslave has given up their right to have any rights. We live for Christ, not ourselves. 

    Jesus suffered and we are not above our master. Jesus said in Matthew 10:24, "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master." He also said in Mar 13:13 that we will be "hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved."

    That's a pretty heavy burden and yoke, right? That depends on who your "lord" is.

    If we are living for ourselves, then yes, it's a major burden and yoke. But if we have given up our rights to have right and to "live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21), and if it's "been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake" (Philippians 1:21), then it is no longer a burden but a blessing!

    1 Peter 4:13 says we are to "rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed." 

    If we love God and want others to know the love of Christ then our focus will be on Christ and His command to Go and make disciples. If this becomes a burden, then our eyes are not on Christ but on our circumstances. In times like this, we need to remember the words found in Hebrews 12:1-2, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

    Jesus said, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going."

    So, is it a burden or a blessing? 

  2. A blessing all the way! 

    I want to serve Him, and although we are given a great responsibility, complete with hills and valleys, I know that the work I do here is all for God's glory, and someday, I will meet Jesus in the sky. 

    The journey may be tough at times, but I am humbled and honored to run this race with endurance. 

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