Focus: 2 Chr 17 & 18
The splitting of Israel into 2 camps (kingdoms) of Israel and Judah seemed to be a tragic mistake when Rehoboam listened to his inexperienced advisers rather then his father, Solomon's seasoned advisers. This mistake turned out to be a blessing for the 2 tribes (Judah and Benjamin and many Levites) who become the Kingdom of Judah. The larger picture that God sees is often in stark contrast with what humanity sees in their myopic (short-sighted) vision. The Lord had continually warned the 12 tribe Nation of Israel not to have any other gods before Him, but following their leadership, the people continually went astray by serving a myriad of other gods - generally the gods of the people they conquered. How long would the Lord suffer this idolatry? The Kingdom of Judah takes longer to be sent in exile (punishment for sin against the Law) because they were more obedient to God than the Kingdom of Israel. This is a lesson to us today. How long will the Lord suffer our idolatry - those who say we have faith in Christ? This is why Paul explains the concept of sanctification "after" the confession of faithfulness to Christ (justification). Idolatry is not only worshipping other deity but it is generally having your treasure be anything else but the One True God. Jesus said that wherever your treasure is, there will be your heart also and that we cannot serve 2 masters. So let us take pause that nothing in our lives takes precedence over our praise, worship, and obedience to Our Lord! Is golf, sports, shopping, etc your treasure? This gives further evidence why God never meant for us to be "saved" and then return to do whatever we wanted because of once saved always saved! See that deception? Praise Him!