"Our Reputation is Far Better on the Outside" (1 Kings 12:4)

Many years ago, I served as a consultant dermatopathologist for a pathology group in a very prestigious hospital. A former professor of mine during residency was now one of the group’s senior pathologists. We were very close during residency and I looked forward to catching up with him upon our initial reunion.

As we reminisced over our shared times together, I expressed to him my gratitude for allowing me to be a consultant dermatopathologist to his colleagues and to teach his pathology residents. I shared with him that I had always admired his hospital and its pathology group, even expressing my desire to work there. He paused for a second, then leaned over to me and coyly smiled, “Our reputation is far better on the outside than on the inside!”

I was shocked! His words were shattering my long-held image of his group and hospital. He then divulged many disturbing examples of the petty politics and puerile behavior that dominates his everyday life within the department and hospital.  At the end of the conversation, I reluctantly began to see the truth of his words. The facade of a prestigious hospital was shattered.

The Bible gives us many examples of shattered facades. Rehoboam was the son of Solomon. When he became King, the nation of Israel was at its peak of power and prestige. But serious problems lurked below this pristine facade. His father, Solomon, had heavily taxed the people and foreigners in the land to support a lavish lifestyle and the building of the magnificent temple of God. When Rehoboam became King, his rival Jeroboam, representing a large group of disgruntled Israelites, approached him with his grievances and a request.

Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.
1 Kings 12:4 (ESV)

Rehoboam spurned the advice of the elderly counselors of his father Solomon and instead heeded the advice of the young men who had grown up with him. In a fateful pronouncement, Rehoboam told Jeroboam,

And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.
1 Kings 12:11 (ESV)

That was the tipping point! Seething rivalries, resentment, and jealousies that were suppressed for so many years now emerged and broke through the peaceful facade. Jeroboam stormed away, taking with him 10 tribes of Israel and leaving Rehoboam as the king over Judah. The kingdom was split in two. Years of civil war, unrest, and willful defiance of God ensued with the eventual destruction of both Israel and Judah.

Like the prestigious hospital where I once eagerly sought to work, Israel had serious internal problems, unseen to the outside world but well-known to its own people. God sees beyond any facade any person or organization wishes to project. We desperately need His guidance to submit to His authority in every aspect of our lives. He knows our heart and deepest secrets and, if we have confessed and repented of our sins and accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, will transform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.