1 Kings 14:29-31
Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?…
Though this man lived fifty-eight years in this world, and for seventeen years occupied the throne, how little is said of him! Inspired historians pay no more attention to the life of kings than to the life of ordinary men.
I. THE POWER OF EXTERNAL CIRCUMSTANCES. Whilst we are far enough from admitting that man is by necessity the creature of circumstances, we cannot gainsay the fact that they tend greatly to shape his character and determine his fortunes. Here we find them investing the most worthless man with worldly opulence and regal power. Some men amass wealth and climb to power by skillful and persevering industry. But here is a man born to it. His ancestors made his position for him. He was not the architect of his own fortune. This is the case with thousands to-day. Experience teaches that to get wealth and power in this way is as undesirable as it is unmeritorious. Many sons have had reason to curse the day when their fathers bequeathed them a fortune. Here is a man whom circumstances made a king, who had nothing kingly in his soul.
II. THE WEAKNESS OF EXTERNAL CIRCUMSTANCES.
1. They did not give him wisdom and piety.
2. They did not give him social respect. We are so constituted that we can have no true moral respect for a man, however elevated his position, if he is destitute of moral worth. To true souls corrupt men on a throne are far more contemptible than if they lived in hovels of obscurity.Conclusion: —
1. That a man's external circumstances are no just criteria by which to judge his character. To regard them as such, has been the tendency of men in all ages.
2. That man's external circumstances do not necessarily shape his character. The circumstances into which the life of Rehoboam was thrown, did not by necessity make him the vile man and ruthless despot which he became. The fact is, there is a sovereign power in the soul, to subordinate external circumstances to its own interest. It can turn apparently the most adverse circumstances into blessings.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?