“And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him.”
Often when individuals do great things, that is when they are the weakest and most vulnerable to that wretched enemy that has entangled many great men–pride. The higher the position, the greater the responsibility. For when those who are in the spotlight, or in high places, are led astray in their hearts, they lead many others to destruction as the wayward kings of Israel did. Even though he was corrupted, Rehoboam still did many great things.
God sent warning to the king and his princes, and they humbled themselves before the Lord. In response to their response, the Lord turned aside the wrath that was coming, but with one stipulation: “Nevertheless they shall be his [the king of Egypt] servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.” God does not merely wish for us to prosper, but to serve even our enemies. God is not so much concerned with conquering kingdoms, than with conquering hearts.
“And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well.”
Thus it is with anyone, no matter how much evil they have done. Consider the following:
“But as the hand of affliction was removed, and the nation prospered once more, many forgot their fears and turned again to idolatry. Among these was King Rehoboam himself. Though humbled by the calamity that had befallen him, he failed to make this experience a decisive turning point in his life. Forgetting the lesson that God had endeavored to teach him, he relapsed into the sins that had brought judgments on the nation. After a few inglorious years, during which the king ‘did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord,’ ‘Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David: and Abijah his son reigned in his stead.'”
(Prophets and Kings, page 95).
Such is the vicious cycle of many that you can escape by God’s grace: Become prosperous, become lifted up, become evil, become humbled, become good, become prospered, become lifted up…and so on and so forth. You can break this cycle by staying humbly connected with Jesus through prayer, Bible study, and letting your light so shine before men.