9. PEOPLE WILL ACCEPT TAXES UP TO A CERTAIN LEVEL & THEN THEY WILL REBEL.
I Kings 12:10,20 - "Then the young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, 'Thus you should speak to this people who have spoken to you, saying, "Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter on us"--thus you shall say to them: "My little finger shall be thicker than my father's waist!"'...Now it came to pass when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had come back, they sent for him and called him to the congregation, and made him king over all Israel. There was none who followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only."
Government has a God-given right to tax its citizens to fulfill its purpose; that is, to uphold what is good and punish what is evil (cf. Rom. 13:1-7). But, when government goes beyond this it is not good. Eventually, people will resist a tyrannical government that desires to control every aspect of its citizen's lives.
A related principle to this practical lesson would be:
10. GREED & SELFISHNESS WILL DIVIDE GOD'S PEOPLE.
Rehoboam's greed and self-centeredness destroyed his kingdom and contributed toward the downward spiraling of God's people (cf. I Kings 12:10,20). Even today greed and selfishness still leave great destruction in their wake, whether it be in the family or in the church.
11. WHEN WE THINK GOD'S WAYS ARE TOO DIFFICULT, WE ARE HEADED FOR DESTRUCTION.
I Kings 12:28 - "Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!'"
Jeroboam, in an effort to maintain power, did something abominable--he created two idols of gold (and they would lead to more problems than Aaron's idols in Exo. 32). God had previously told Jeroboam how to retain power but he didn't listen (cf. 11:38). He spun the introduction of idols politically as a matter of convenience for those in his kingdom. "It's just too far to go up to Jerusalem," he claimed. But the people had been doing it for decades! Why did it suddenly become too far? Friends, when we think God's way are too difficult (or want to use such as an excuse) we too will make alterations to the divine pattern. It is then that we are headed for destruction.
12. BELIEVING A LIE WILL COST YOU.
I Kings 13:18-22 - " He said to him, 'I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, "Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water."' (He was lying to him.) So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water. Now it happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back; and he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, 'Thus says the Lord: "Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord, and have not kept the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the Lord said to you, 'Eat no bread and drink no water,' your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers."'"
I always feel badly reading this narrative. There is a sense in which what happened doesn't seem "fair," but the truth is that believing a lie will always cost a person. Believing a lie may cost you money, time, reputation, life, or even salvation! When in doubt, don't (cf. Rom. 14:23) and inquire of God to know His will (cf. II Tim. 3:16,17). Never do something which you are not certain is approved by the Lord (cf. Col. 3:17)!