Rehoboam is an example of the proverb. Even when warned by Shemaiah the prophet:
“Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the LORD, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.'”2 Chronicles 12:5
Rehoboam did not abandon his pride. It wasn’t until Shishak, the ruler of Egypt, began to decimate his kingdom that he turned and humbled himself before the Lord.
How did God respond when Rehoboam repented?
Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is righteous.” When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”2 Chronicles 12:6-8
The Lord relented His wrath on Rehoboam and Judah so as to provide them some relief. They were sacked and beaten down but they were not destroyed. God is merciful, but He is also just. Even though God’s heart is bent towards mercy, His character requires Him to act justly (Exodus 34:6-7).
The Psalm that accompanies our reading of 2 Chronicles 12, in our read through Scripture program, reveals how we should think of our relationship with the Lord:
“For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”Psalm 73:27-28
We shouldn’t believe ourselves better than the Lord. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to stray from His wisdom and will for our lives. Instead, we should continue to trust in and seek Him. He is our refuge. It is because of Him that we find success.
Rehoboam learned this lesson the hard way, you can argue he never fully learned it because he continued to do evil all his days. Let us not learn the hard way. Let us humble ourselves before the mighty hand of our God all the days of our lives.