Wise King, Easy Yoke

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I recently read the account of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, coming to the throne. At the time, Israel had enjoyed two generations of relative peace and prosperity under David and Solomon.

Rehoboam had some big shoes to fill! He also had some serious resources at his disposal! Not only did he have his father’s wealth, but he also had access to the counsel of his father’s advisors. Being an advisor to the wisest man on earth seems like a job with a fairly high standard. These guys were no fools.

So Rehoboam had a lot going for him if he would just be humble enough to ask for help.

But, like most young men, humility was not one of his strongest suits. And so, when  the people came to ask him to lighten their load, he abandoned the counsel of the old men and listened instead to the counsel of those who told him what he wanted to hear. They told him to pridefully assert his power: “My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs. And now whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions” (1 Kings 12:10–11).

Not surprisingly, this didn’t go down well and he lost half his kingdom as a result. Not only was he not as powerful as he pretended to be but he couldn’t have been a nice king to serve!

We, too, are under a king—King Jesus—who said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18).

Unlike Rehoboam, he really does have all authority! And unlike Rehoboam, who was powerless to stop the rebellion of Israel, Jesus can and will enforce his rule in his kingdom. How thankful we can be that, far from promising to add to our burden, he also says to us, “Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).

This is true not only because King Jesus is no tyrant. It’s true because he has given us his Spirit, the Helper, to aid us in our obedience. He gives what he requires!

How thankful we can be to serve under this glorious King! Next time you feel like the day holds a burden too heavy to bear, remember that you serve Jesus and not Rehoboam!

Joyfully yoked together with you,

Anton