2 Chronicles 12

You’ve Got To Serve Somebody

“But they will become his subjects, so that they can learn how much better it is to serve me than to serve earthly rulers.” ­– 2 Chronicles 12:8 NLT

The first verse of this chapter could be the description of the lives of many of us as God’s children. “But when Rehoboam was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the law of the LORD, and all Israel followed him in this sin.” Just when things began to stabilize in his kingdom after the nasty split with the northern tribes, Rehoboam finds himself getting fat and happy. Things had settles down. His kingdom began to stabilize and his confidence began to grow. He had lost a big part of his kingdom, but he still had the tribe of Judah and the city of Jerusalem with the temple of the Lord. So just as things were looking up, Rehoboam stopped looking up – at the Lord. He took His eyes off the very one who gave his life stability. It says he abandoned the law of the Lord. In other words, he decided to abandon God and His ways. The Hebrew word used for “abandoned” is azab and it means “to leave, abandon, forsake.” It is the picture of a servant walking out on his master, abandoning his responsibilities, and deserting his post. Rehoboam had decided he did not want to serve God anymore. He wanted to serve himself. Isn’t that what sin is all about? Self-serving. It is making everything about us. We become the focus of our world. We make ourselves the gods of our own lives. Our wills become more important than God’s. But Rehoboam was going to find out the hard way that every man ends up serving somebody or something – and it is NEVER ourselves. For Rehoboam it would be King Shishak of Egypt. When he came against Jerusalem with his 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen, capturing with ease all the cities that Rehoboam had spent money and time fortifying, it got the peoples’ attention. And they humbled themselves before the Lord. But God knew they had a lot to learn, so He was going to allow them to become slaves to King Shishak, all so that they could “learn the difference between serving me and serving human kings” (2 Chronicles 12:8 NLT).

Ultimately, God wants His people to serve Him. We exist for Him, not Him for us. We have been created by Him and for Him. Yet we so often buy into the lie that God exists for our benefit and to bring us glory. And when He doesn’t serve us in the way we would like, we turn our backs on Him and decide to serve ourselves. We resort to “self-help” or better yet “self-service.” We become the focus of our world. We become the star of our play. We become central and God becomes secondary. But Rehoboam was going to learn that when all is said and done, we all have to serve somebody. We are going to serve God or we are going to serve somebody or something else. We never really do get to serve ourselves. It reminds me of a song written by Bob Dylan during the period of his life when he supposedly “got saved.” The lyrics are simple, yet profound.

Gotta Serve Somebody

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

You might be a rock ’n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a businessman or some high-degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name

You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody’s landlord, you might even own banks

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be workin’ in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You’re gonna have to serve somebody. The reality of life in this world is that even the things you think are there to serve you end up becoming your master. Your money ends up controlling you. Your possessions end up possessing you. We become slaves of the very things we thought would serve us. We end up not being able to live without them. It’s all like taking a drug for pleasure only to have it become an addiction, controlling your life and destroying your future. We all have to serve somebody. Who are you going to serve? That was the question Joshua asked the people of Israel right before he died. And it’s still the question that each of us needs to consider each day of our lives. “But if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15 NLT).

Father, I have believed the lie so many times that I can be the center of my world. I convince myself so often that everything and everyone is here to serve me. But You have called me to serve You. You have called me to be a servant of others. Never let me lose sight of my role as Your servant. I exist for you and not vice versa. I don’t want to spend my life serving anything or anyone else but You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men