King Rehoboam was a wicked monarch. He did not set his heart to seek the Lord. He was unfaithful to the King of Kings, and consequently he did evil. Therefore, in response to his rebellious posture and practice, the Lord said:
“You have abandoned me, so I have abandoned you ….” (2 Chron. 12:5)
Does God still abandon people? The answer is “yes.” All men are born in sin and are totally depraved, and they prove to be so by their attitude and actions. Therefore they are positionally separated from the Father. They are more closely aligned with Satan than they are the Son, which is why they are called children of the Devil. Additionally, they are relationally separated from God. His Spirit dwells not in them, and he listens not to their prayers. Since they are not with God, they are against God, and as such there can be no communion between light and darkness. Spiritual wisdom and restraint are found missing, and the Lord turns them over to chase other gods and idols. Then, when such people perish in this deplorable condition, they remain eternally separated from their Creator in the place created for the Devil and his angels. Yes, rebellion leads to abandonment, and God still abandons people everyday.
What are we to conclude when we read the cry of Christ, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When we meditate upon this heart-wrenching declaration, we are to fall on our knees in tearful worship. Jesus did not rebel against the Law of God. He did not abandon his Heavenly Father. However, Jesus was abandoned by the Heavenly Father when he was affixed to the gruesome cross. The Holy Son was forsaken by the Heavenly Father when the curse of sin was placed upon his shoulders. And why was the righteous son treated as an accursed and traitorous rebel? Jesus was faithful king, who was treated like Rehoboam, so that men such as Rehoboam might receive undeserved salvation. Jesus was abandoned by the Father, so that we who have abandoned the Father might have eternal life.
As covenant children, are we to concern ourselves with the abandonment of God today? As born-again Christ-followers, we are not to be concerned with positional or eternal abandonment. The work of Christ is finished. The promises of God are sure and certain. Nothing can separate the believer from God, and human works may not be added to gracious justification. Jesus Christ will never leave or forsake his own, and all who are Christ’s are eternally secure in his sovereign grasp. However, we should notice the type of “abandonment” experienced by Rehoboam. Relationally, Rehoboam could not have been at peace with God. His prayer life must have been stagnant, and his zeal for worship was missing. As King David suffered in his season of sin, so too Rehoboam experienced not the “joy of his salvation.” However, even in Rehoboam’s “abandoned” state:
- The Lord would not leave him alone in his sin. (12:5)
- The Lord sent him an inspired prophet to communicate truth. (12:5)
- The Lord caused the Word and Spirit to affect the king and result in conviction and repentance. (12:6)
- The Lord immediately granted some measure of deliverance upon experiencing the humility of the king. (12:7)
- The Lord turned punitive discipline into restorative discipline which encouraged discipleship. (12:8)
Therefore friends, let us all look within, see our sin, see our rebellion, and fear God. We have earned nothing but divine abandonment in that results in eternal hell. We should fear the God whom we have abandoned. We should fear the God who can abandon us.
Then, let look above and see Christ who sits victoriously on his throne. He holds out his nail-scarred hands and encourages all who are rebellious to kiss the Son. He was abandoned that we might be adopted and accepted. Draw near to God and he will draw near to us. Intimacy is what he desires on a daily basis. Why would we remain in our abandoned state?
Finally, let us look at the spiritual dissonance we are experiencing, and ask ourselves, “How have we abandoned God recently?” Like the Prodigal Son, he will allow us to wander for a time. But perhaps, as in the day of Rehoboam, he is sending a minister our way to call us back to repentance. He is waiting to hear us confess our sins afresh. He is waiting for us to humble ourselves again. And he is waiting to commune with us in the Word of God and prayer. Oh, he may still discipline us and allow us to suffer the consequences of our most recent transgressions, but he will never permanently abandon those who are found in Christ Jesus. So let us abandon our abandonment of God, and enjoy the communion available through the ever-gracious Holy Spirit.