Shishak of Egypt Invades Judah
12 When the kingdom of Rehoboam was established and strong, he and all Israel with him forsook the law of the Lord. 2 And it came about in King Rehoboam’s fifth year, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem 3 with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen. And the people who came with him from Egypt were without number: the Lubim, the Sukkiim and the Ethiopians. 4 He captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. 5 Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and the princes of Judah who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, ‘You have forsaken Me, so I also have forsaken you [a]to Shishak.’” 6 So the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is righteous.”
7 When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, “They have humbled themselves so I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some measure of deliverance, and My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by means of Shishak. 8 But they will become his slaves so that they may learn the difference between My service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”
Plunder Impoverishes Judah
9 So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s palace. He took everything; he even took the golden shields which Solomon had made. 10 Then King Rehoboam made shields of bronze in their place and committed them to the [b]care of the commanders of the [c]guard who guarded the door of the king’s house. 11 As often as the king entered the house of the Lord, the [d]guards came and carried them and then brought them back into the [e]guards’ room. 12 And when he humbled himself, the anger of the Lord turned away from him, so as not to destroy him completely; and also conditions were good in Judah.
13 So King Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem and reigned. Now Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen from all the tribes of Israel, to put His name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonitess. 14 He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.
15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, from first to last, are they not written in the [f]records of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer, according to genealogical enrollment? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. 16 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David; and his son Abijah became king in his place.
Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah fell into a classic trap. When the kingdom seemed established and strong, they stopped following God. They didn’t think they needed him, so why bother? We even see toward the end that there were wars between Judah and Israel “continually” when God has specifically told them not to fight against their brothers.
At any rate, they soon found out just how much they really needed God, and he would show them once more what it was like to serve God vs. serving the Egyptians. All the glory of Solomon was wiped out in a short 17 years. Sure the temple was still standing, but all the treasures were stolen and Rehoboam tried to replace gold with bronze.
So it is when we get a little too big for our britches. We think we’ve arrived and that we’ve done it all on our own strength and don’t need anybody else. That is, until we fall flat on our face, and I think God let’s it happen just so we learn a valuable lesson. Which is that we really do need God in our frail humanity.
No matter how well we think we are doing, it is nothing without God. We need always to remember that he is our true strength, and he is the one who will help us weather any storm of life. When we choose to follow God’s ways and rely on him every day, there’s no telling what he can do in our lives!