But as for the sons of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him to death. And King Rehoboam made haste to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem.
So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
It came about when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, that they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. None but the tribe of Judah followed the house of David.
Now when Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 chosen men who were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, “Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and to the rest of the people, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, “You must not go up and fight against your relatives the sons of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing has come from Me.” ’ ” So they listened to the word of the LORD, and returned and went their way according to the word of the LORD. (1 Kings 12:17-24)
Doing God’s will sometimes means not doing your will. When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam took the throne and ignored wise counsel. The tribes to his north who rebelled against him and chose Jeroboam as their king instead of him. Only the Levites, the people of Benjamin and the tribe of Simeon remained loyal to him. Rehoboam’s first instinct was to crush the rebellion.
Although Rehoboam was something of a fool when it came to politics, he was not willing to resist God. When God told him to stand down because the rebellion and division of the nation was God’s will, Rehoboam listened.
The rupture of the kingdom, though precipitated by Rehoboam’s folly, was in fact God’s punishment against Solomon for his idolatry. That idolatrous tendency grew. Jeroboam, the rebel king in the north, set up false temples with idols in place of the Temple in Jerusalem. What began with Solomon infected the divided people of Israel. It ultimately led to the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, when God judged not just the house of David, but his whole people.
Doing what God wants is not always what we want. But it is always the wisest course of action.