This lesson covers the reign of Rehoboam and Jeroboam and continues our series on the Kings of Israel. Click here to see the lesson index.
Studying these first kings that reign in the divided kingdom will reveal how God’s people must guard their hearts from being led astray. This lesson was prepared for older students and can be adapted for different ministry needs. The lesson is created as a guide for teachers to prepare for the needs of his/her own classroom. We encourage you to adapt this outline to meet your own needs.
Bible Story: Rehoboam and Jeroboam Reign
Scripture: 1Kings 12:21-14:31; 2 Chronicles 11-12
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supply List: 1 piece of red construction paper, 1 piece of blue construction paper, outline of a person (to trace on the red and blue construction paper), two circles cut out of construction paper (to create a smile face or sad face), markers, Bible,
Learning Goal: Students will learn that a heart that fully seeks the Lord pleases Him.
Learning Indicator: As students participate in a character study on the reigns of Rehoboam and Jeroboam they will discover whether their choices pleased God or not. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the Bible passage by being able to answer review questions.
Gospel Connection: In the history of Israel we see many examples of wicked and selfish rulers. These stand in stark contrast with the coming King Jesus who would serve his people and even die for their salvation. By learning about imperfect human rulers, we can better appreciate the King of Kings.
Learning Activity #1: Using the red and blue construction paper (the kings from Judah are red as a reminder of God’s promise to David that a king from his family would reign forever-Jesus) write Rehoboam in the center of the outline of the red piece and Jeroboam in the center of the blue piece. While teaching the lesson and character traits/decisions that Rehoboam and Jeroboam make are discovered have students write those items on the outline. At the end of the lesson ask the question: “Did this king live a life that pleased the Lord?” If the answer is yes have a student draw a smiley face on one of the circles. If the answer is no have student make a sad face on the circle. Tape the circle below the king that it represents. These outlines with smiley face or sad face can be taped to the wall and each week as the different kings are studied they can be added to the wall. This will create a visual for the students to see how many kings pleased the Lord and how many did not.
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: 1Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”
Teaching the Memory Verse: As we studied Rehoboam’s and Jeroboam’s reign over their kingdom we learned that their lives did not please God. 2 Chronicles 12:14 (referring to Rehoboam) “He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.” A life that pleases the Lord doesn’t happen by accident. Our verse today shows us what believers need to do in order keep their hearts right with God. Say the verse together. Why does a believer need to be on guard? (Allow students to respond. 1 Peter 5:8-the devil roams around looking for someone to devour). Does anyone remember what happened to guards who fell asleep or were not on guard and the prisoner they were supposed to be guarding got away? (They were put to death) If you were a guard and you knew you could lose your life how would you spend your time while guarding your prisoner? The devil cannot take away the gift of eternal life from believers but he can try to destroy their reputations as believers. If a believer is not on guard the enemy can lead us into sin and it can destroy our reputation as a Christian. What does it mean to stand firm in the faith? (Allow responses. To stand firm in the faith is to trust God in every area of life and not to doubt.) What are things believers can do to help them stand firm in their faith? (Pray, read Bible, obey what God says, etc).
Bonus Memory Verse (for students who want extra memory verses): 2 Peter 1:5-7 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”
Bible Lesson: Rehoboam and Jeroboam Reign
Why bother? Have you ever said that or thought that about trying to live a life that pleases God? Sometimes it feels like so much work to live an obedient life following God. When we look around and see people doing whatever they want we wonder if it is worth it to live according to what God tells us in His Word. You may not have thought that or said that but there may come a point in your walk with Jesus that you will. As we study the lives of the kings that ruled the divided kingdom we should pray that God enables us to decide to live a life that pleases Him because it does matter and it is worth it!
Before we get into our lesson today, let’s refresh our memory. Why was Israel’s kingdom divided? (Solomon sinned against God) The kingdom was divided into the northern and southern kingdoms. How many tribes were part of the northern kingdom? (10) Which tribes were part of the southern kingdom? (Judah and Benjamin) After Solomon died which king ruled over the 10 tribes? (Jeroboam) Which king ruled over the 2 tribes? (Rehoboam) What makes the southern kingdom different than the northern? (A king from David’s family would be born from this kingdom who will rule forever-Jesus)
In our lesson today we are going to examine the lives of the first two kings who reigned in Israel’s divided kingdom. Rehoboam was Solomon’s son. What do you remember about his character from our last lesson? (He was not wise, listened to bad advice, answered the people harshly)
The history of Israel’s kings is written in 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles. We will examine Jeroboam’s reign as king first. Let’s turn to 1 Kings 12:25. After Jeroboam became king he went to live in Shechem.
Who remembers who told Jeroboam he would be king over the 10 tribes of Israel? (God) Do you remember what God promised Jeroboam? “If you do whatever I command you and walk in My ways and do what is right in My eyes by keeping My statutes and commands as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.” 1 Kings 11:38
God made a conditional promise to Jeroboam. In your own words what was that promise to Jeroboam? (If Jeroboam obeyed God he would have a kingdom that lasts)
- If believers choose to obey God, He gives them rewards that will last for all eternity. (1 Corinthians 3:13-15, Matthew 6:19-20)
Choose volunteers to read 1 Kings 12:26-27. What was Jeroboam focusing on? (Losing his people to Rehoboam’s kingdom when they went to Jerusalem to worship the Lord) What should he be focused on? (God’s promise to him that if he obeyed God’s laws his kingdom would endure)
Jeroboam did not seek God’s wisdom about his concern. Let’s read 1 Kings 12:28-29 to see what Jeroboam did. Was Jeroboam’s decision a wise one or foolish? (Foolish) Why? (He was leading people to worship idols so they wouldn’t go to Jerusalem) Was Jeroboam obeying God? (No) If Jeroboam would have obeyed God and not made golden calves for the people to worship would God keep His promise that Jeroboam would have a kingdom to rule? (Yes)
- Jeroboam told his people that it was ‘too much’ for them to go to Jerusalem to worship God. As believers the enemy of our souls (Satan) tells us it is too difficult to obey God. When that lie is whispered to our hearts remember what God’s Word says: 1 John 5:3 “This is the love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.”
Jeroboam made a wicked, foolish decision to have Israel worship idols. Instead of being remembered as a king who honored and obeyed God, he would always be remembered for his wickedness. Let’s finish our examination of Jeroboam by reading 1Kings 13:34.
As we examine Rehoboam’s life let’s turn in our Bibles to 2 Chronicles 11:13-17. Why did the Levites come to live in Rehoboam’s kingdom? (Jeroboam had rejected them as his priests and made others who were from other families (The Levites were God’s choice to serve as priests) to be the priests in his kingdom.) Who else came to live in Rehoboam’s kingdom (verse 16)?
Why do you think the people with their hearts set on seeking the Lord left Jeroboam’s kingdom and went with the Levites to Rehoboam’s kingdom? (Allow responses) If you are a person who wants to please God, what do you think it would be like to live in a kingdom that worshiped idols?
Things were going well in Rehoboam’s kingdom. Read 2 Chronicles 12:1. Unfortunately when things were going well for Rehoboam he went away from God and began to disobey God’s commands. If we flip over to 1 Kings 14:22-24 it is recorded what they did that was evil in God’s sight.
God must punish sin and He sent Shishak the king of Egypt to attack Rehoboam’s kingdom. Shishak invaded Jerusalem and stole treasures from the temple and the royal palace.
2 Chronicles 12:5-8. Rehoboam and the people living in his kingdom humbled themselves. “Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed there was some good in Judah.” (Verse 12)
Rehoboam is recorded in history as a king who “did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.” (Verse 14)
We have examined the first kings who reigned in the divided kingdom. What are some lessons we have learned that we can use in our own lives?
- Set our hearts fully on seeking the Lord
- Obey God’s commands
- Don’t forget the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:10-19)
Close in prayer asking God to help each person to keep their hearts focused on Him.
Our memory verse will help us to set our hearts fully on seeking the Lord. (Teach Memory verse)
- Why did Jeroboam not want his people to go to Jerusalem to worship? (He was afraid that the people wouldn’t return to his kingdom)
- How did Jeroboam try to keep the people from going to Jerusalem? (Made 2 golden calves for the people to worship in Bethel and Dan)
- Why did the Levites and others leave Jeroboam’s kingdom? (The Levites were rejected as his priests and people who set their hearts on seeking the Lord followed the Levites to Jerusalem)
- How will Jeroboam be remembered? (Evil king who led his people to worship idols)
- What happened after Rehoboam’s kingdom became strong? (He and his kingdom abandoned God’s laws)
- How will Rehoboam be remembered? (As a king who did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord)
- How do you want to be remembered? What do you need to do to be remembered as a person who set your heart on seeking the Lord?