Archive for June 30th, 2021

Jeroboam and Rehoboam

Jeroboam and Rehoboam

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

2 Chronicles 11

A Prayer for Returning Home

Let every man return home, for what has occurred I have brought about . . .

Civil War is averted for a time when the sons of Solomon, Jeroboam and Rehoboam, divide their father’s kingdom in two: the tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the south still loyal to Jerusalem and Yahweh, the other ten tribes to the north fashioning idol gods and leaving the covenant. The Levite priests and others who wish to remain with Yahweh leave their assigned places in the north to move south. Rehoboam amasses his troops, but does not strike at the north because God requires that they all return home. When we read chapters 12 and 13 we see what happens to Rehoboam. Despite the fact that here he listens to Yahweh, he later strays. This all seems a ridiculous plan for Yahweh to have designed; yet, is it? Psalm 55 provides us with a food for thoughts about splits among friends as Intimate Civil Wars, and Internal Schisms.

But it is you, my own companion,

my intimate friend!

How close was the friendship between us.

We walked together in harmony

in the house of God. (Psalm 55)

Other useful citations are John 13:21 when Jesus declares that one of the twelve will betray him, when the prophet Jeremiah describes terror on every side in 20:10, and when Job declares in 19:19 that, All my intimate friends hold me in horror; those whom I loved have turned against me! Psalm 27 verse 12 cries out, False witnesses have stood up against me, and my enemies threaten violence; Lord do not surrender me into their power!

All of this reminds us that there will be deep and seemingly insurmountable schisms even in our most intimate relationships, often caused by those whom we have trusted and loved beyond measure. It is at these times of deepest burden that we have the opportunity to grow even closer to God, for when we offer our pain and suffering that flows from a terrible betrayal to intimacy or to a severe blow to our confidence, we realize that there is nowhere else to turn but to God. These readings today are a reminder that everyone must return home . . . for perhaps what has occurred God has brought about.

We do not suggest here that God causes suffering, yet we notice from sacred scripture that we find God most quickly in our pain. We have no way of telling, of course, if the damage done to us by others will lead to a conversion through the petition and granting of forgiveness. Nor do we know if a betrayal committed will lead to our salvation or the salvation of one who has wounded us deeply. But this is what we do know: that in all circumstances, both joy and sorrow, we must return home. We must take both our wailing and our singing to that place which understands and heals all pain. And so we pray at a time of year when we often gather for family reunions.

Where do we find the strength to go on when we are spent? . . . We return home.

Where do we find the courage to take up the task laid before us? . . . We return home.

Where do we find the heart to forgive one whose betrayal cuts more deeply and sharply than any other? . . . We return home.

Where do we find the love to ask forgiveness and to forgive? . . . We return home.

Where do find the life that lasts for time everlasting? . . . We return home.

On this holy summer Sabbath, let us turn our steps toward Jerusalem like those who wished to remain near Yahweh despite the civil and personal conflict, let us join one another in pilgrimage . . . and let us return home together. Amen.

Image from: https://www.biblematrix.com.au/jeroboams-table-of-demons/

Adapted from a reflection written on April 7, 2009. 

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