Taxes, Yokes, and Lessons from Rehoboam

Hey Friends, this is David Evans your host and teacher.  I hope that today finds you filled with joy and sunshine, and that this day will be the best day of your life.  

As Tax Day approaches I thought that it would be appropriate for Todays Minute in the Word to be “Taxes, Yokes and Lessons from King Rehoboam”

In the year 931 BC, in the land of Israel, a young man named Rehoboam became king over all the land of Israel. He inherited the throne from his father, King Solomon, when he died. 

The people of Israel approached their new king with a sincere request, they wanted Rehoboam to lower the taxes that his father had put in place.  King Solomon’s taxes had forced the people into hard labor, and made it difficult for them to even survive. 

Rehoboam was not sure what to do, concerning their request, so he consulted with his advisers. 

In 1 Kings 12:6-8, the elder advisers, who had been around during Solomon’s reign, advised Rehoboam to show goodwill to the people. They assured him that this would strengthen his kingdom. They said, “If you will be a servant to these people today and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”

On the other hand, Rehoboam’s closest friends and allies, the young advisers, told him that if he gave in to the request of the people it would make him look weak and powerless. Their advice was to enact even harsher taxes. 

King Rehoboam was in a dilemma.  Should he lower the tax rates and decrease the weight being carried by the people, or increase the taxes and show the people that he is completely in control.

Eventually, Rehoboam chose to follow the advice of the young men. He rejected the advice of the elder advisers, which proved to be a disastrous decision. 

In 1 Kings 12:10-11, it is recorded that Rehoboam said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” This choice ultimately split the kingdom, the tribes of Benjamin and Judah in the South, and the Northern Kingdom with the other 10 tribes of Israel.  

Out of rebellion the northern tribes crowned Jeroboam as their king, while Rehoboam remained king over the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

In looking at Rehoboam’s leadership a few things become very clear. 

Wise leadership, whether for a king or at your work, at home, or in a classroom, must be grounded in love. 

Which means being sensitive to those we are privileged to lead. 

We must remember to lead with empathy, compassion, and wisdom.

The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Do everything in love.” Constantly looking to the teachings of Jesus for guidance on how to lead, as he did, with love and compassion. 

Jesus shows us that true leadership is not about controlling others for your personal gain, but about serving and loving them and in doing so showing them the Love of God.

Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

As followers of Jesus Christ, whether in our personal or professional lives, we must remember that our responsibility is to care for those we lead. We must act with love, compassion, and empathy towards them, seeking their best interests, even if it means sacrificing our own personal desires and wishes. 

Let us remember the example of King Rehoboam and seek to lead with love, compassion, and wisdom, following the teachings of Scripture.