Thus King Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem and reigned. Now Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king; and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put His name there. His mother’s name was Naamah, an Ammonitess. And he did evil because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord. (2 Chronicles 12:13-14)
Why Do People Do Evil?
After the death of Solomon, Rehoboam, his son, reigned in his place. Under David and Solomon, the nation of Israel united and became the greatest nation in the world. The Lord blessed Solomon with great wisdom, power, prestige, and possessions but the son of David let his foreign wives carry away his heart. As the grandson of David and son of Solomon, Rehoboam should have seen the power of God working in the lives of these two great men. Israel was a prosperous nation through the grace of God. When his father died, Rehoboam began dismantling the nation with his oppression of the people leading to a civil war. Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, led a revolt against Rehoboam and tore ten tribes away from Judah and Benjamin. The fractured kingdom would never recover.
When Rehoboam established himself as king, he abandoned the law of God, and the people followed his apostasy. After Shishak, king of Egypt, came against Jerusalem, the Lord did not permit the Egyptians to conquer Rehoboam, but Shishak ransacked the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple and the royal palace. He stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. Rehoboam humbled himself, but his heart was not devoted to the Lord. The legacy of Rehoboam was he did evil in the sight of the Lord because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord. He did not seek after God with all his heart. The nature of sin strongly influences men to rebel against the Lord God. Rehoboam’s evil came through neglect of preparing his heart to heed the word of God.
The first words of the devil to Eve were to challenge the word of God. Satan knows that if he can keep the heart from giving devotion to the Lord, he has a measure of success that can lead to total destruction. What did Rehoboam lack in knowing the word of God? Everything needed to follow the word of the Lord was available for the king to read and heed, but he allowed evil to cover his heart. Evil comes when men do not prepare their hearts to seek the word of the Lord. There are only two choices a man can make: serve God or rebel against the word of God. Evil comes when men choose to follow their will.
Human wisdom tries to rationalize where evil comes from, but the origin of evil is when the heart rejects God. Sin is the problem. Sexual immorality is not because of some psychological failings or mental condition. It is a matter of the heart. Anger and hatred grow from evil hearts. Addictions come from hearts unprepared to face the reality of sin. Men try to find answers to why evil exists, and some will blame God. The reason evil exists is that the heart of men grows worse and worse. In the days of Noah, God saw that every intent of the thoughts of the heart was only evil continually. Pharoah was evil because he hardened his heart. Satan entered the heart of Judas to betray Jesus. Peter condemned Ananias and Sapphira because they conceived evil in their hearts. Evil hearts come from those who refuse to prepare their hearts for God. Rehoboam should have listened to his father, who wrote that men must keep the heart will all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. A heart left unguarded will fail.