1 Kings 12:1-5
Change is rarely easy for individuals, communities, or countries. At the crossroads of what was and what will be, we struggle to see through the fog of an uncertain future and decipher the road ahead. Transitions are full of stress and questions.
Israel stands at the crossroads. “Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. Then he rested with his ancestors and was buried” (1 Kings 11:42-43, New International Version). The people, seeking a new leader, return to Shechem, the first meeting place of the tribal confederacy. When Israel first entered the land, Joshua convenes them there to hear the Mosaic covenant read and renew their vows to God (Josh 24). Facing an uncertain future after their monarch’s death, the people find comfort in returning to a familiar place.
As Solomon’s son Rehoboam prepares to assume the throne, the people make a request: Your father made our yoke heavy….lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you (v. 4). The people ask for mercy in return for their service. Uncertain how to answer, Rehoboam tells them to go away for three days (v. 5). They come looking for leadership, but leave in limbo.
Years later, another king arises from the house of David. He meets people in seasons of change, as they struggle with what was and what will be. Before the people even ask for compassion, he offers his answer: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”
(Mt 11:28, 30).
Life is a series of transitions. When change is the only constant, anxiety and worry prevail. But even before we ask, God extends mercy and pledges to bear our burdens with us. This promise does not remove all problems, but it gives us strength to persevere in every season.
In seasons of change, what helps you trust God to bear your burdens?
God, in every season, help me trust in you and rely on your mercy. Amen.