After Jeroboam became king of Israel, Rehoboam had to decide whether or not he was going to let Jeroboam get away with it. In essence, what Rehoboam decided to do was start a civil war, north against south, similar to what the United States did in 1860 when the U.S. Army fought against its own citizens. “And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam” (2 Chronicles 11:1).
Surprisingly, when the LORD sent Shemaiah the man of God to Rehoboam to tell him to stop what he was doing, Rehoboam “obeyed the words of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 11:4). Rehoboam was not an evil man. He merely got caught in the middle of God’s plan to take away the kingdom from Solomon’s descendants. As a result of his obedience, the LORD strengthened the kingdom of Judah under Rehoboam’s leadership for three years (2 Chronicles 11:17). During that time, everyone in all the northern tribes of Israel that had set their hearts to seek the LORD, disobeyed Jeroboam and came to Jerusalem to worship (2 Chronicles 11:16).