"King Rehoboam spoke cruel words to them,
because he had rejected the advice of the older leaders.
He followed the advice of the young men and said,
"My father forced you to work hard,
but I will make you work even harder.
My father beat you with whips,
but I will beat you with whips that have sharp points."
So the king did not listen to the people.
God caused this to happen
so that the Lord could keep the promise
he had made to Jeroboam son of Nebat
through Ahijah, a prophet from Shiloh. "
2 Chronicles 10: 13-15
SITUATION: King Solomon died, Rehoboam, in prideful youth, turned down the wisdom of older counselors. His blunder sparked the division of Israel.
OBSERVATION: God used Rehoboam's pride to accomplish his divine plan. Due to Solomon's sin, God planned to divide the kingdom. God uses our sinful decisions to accomplish his plan.
INSPIRATION: My kids pulled a fast one on me one Christmas years ago. They teamed up, pooled their vast financial resources, and bought me a little motto to set on my desk. It was more than cute... it was convicting. In bold, black letters it read:
Diets Are For People Who Are Thick and Tired Of It
At first you smile... then it makes you sad. Especially if you're not sick of being thick!
There's another thickness that's just as bad. We could call it an "inner thickness." I'm referring to insensitivity... being unaware, out of touch, lacking insight, failing to play attention. The Hebrew Scriptures occasionally mention those who are foolish and simple, as in the book of Proverbs (1:22-33). The original term means "thick, dull, sluggish." It's the picture of mental dullness, one who is virtually blind towards others..failing to feel other's feelings, think others thoughts, sense others needs.
Professional insensitivity is painfully common. To some physicians you're case number twenty-three today...a body, weighing so much...a mouth, saying words....a gall bladder, needing removal.
And how about insensitive teachers or speakers? Talk about painful! A block of information is dumped into your ears from their mouth. Whether it's interesting or well thought through is unimportant. The whole episode is about as memorable as changing a flat.
And have you come across an insensitive sales person lately? You can feel the thickness. Your exasperation leads to gross impatience... and then, finally, confusion. You're not sure if the individual only understands Swahili... or is recovering from advanced lockjaw.
Perhaps the most tragic shades of insensitivity occur in the home. Between mates, to being with. Needs in the heart of a wife long to be discovered by her husband. She hides them until an appropriate moment...but it never arrives. He's "too busy." What cursed words! "Other things are more important." Oh, really? Name one.
A husband wrestles with a matter down deep... in the "combat zone" of his mind. Lacking perception, the pre-occupied wife drives on--never looking into his eyes, his soul-gate, reading, the signs that spell I A-M H-U-R-T-I-N-G.
...To be thick is understandable. To be thick and tired of it is commendable. To be thick and tired of it, but unwilling to change--is inexcusable. (From Come Before Winter by Charles Swindoll)
APPLICATION: What is your reputation with family and friends? Do they see you as a sensitive person, or as a selfish person who has little time for their needs and concerns? Listen and be sensitive to their needs. Ask God for the opportunity to spend time with someone this week who needs a listening ear. Be prepared to respond when God sends someone.
EXPLORATION: Concern for Others -- Psalm 103:13; Luke 10:25-37; Acts 20:35; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:3-4; Hebrews 4:25; James 1:27
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing The Heart of Jesus - Max Lucado General Editor, New Century Version, Thomas Nelson Bibles