‘This is what the LORD says: Do not fight against your relatives, the Israelites. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!’ So they obeyed the message of the LORD and went home, as the LORD had commanded. (1 Kings 12:24)
Rehoboam had the God-given right to rule Israel. On the day of his coronation ceremony, he made a foolish decision that cost him dearly. Ten tribes abandoned him and established a nation called Israel. Only, two tribes stayed faithful to him and were called Judah. As you can imagine, he was not happy at all with the revolt of the northern tribes. He had to do something. He couldn’t let these people go without a fight. So, he mobilized 180,000 selected troops to reunite the Kingdom once more. However, God told him “Don’t fight against your relatives, the Israelites. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!” To his credit, the King obeyed.
Yet the question remains, why not fight to unite the kingdom? The answer is because everybody involved had a lesson to learn. You see, this revolt was caused by the lack of mercy of everybody involved. The King’s lack of mercy on the suffering and overworked people of Israel, on one hand; and the people of Israel’s lack of mercy on the new and inexperienced king, on the other. God’s order to the King not to fight his relatives was His way of giving the King a second chance at mercy.
Today, God is giving you a second chance at mercy. Are you willing to be merciful? Are you willing to forgive those who stole from you? Can you pardon those who betrayed you? God is reminding you to be merciful to everybody – in particular to your relatives.