1. The American Civil War was four years of brother fighting against brother and a nation divided that still has some divisions between North and South. Israel’s civil war lasted over 200 years and never united again. What can bring unity when division takes place?
2. When Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, was faced with a decision about the heavy taxes that had been placed on the people he sought two sources of input (1 Kings 12:1-11; The Story, pp. 193-194). What was each source and why was the advice so radically different?
3. Older people who have walked longer in life often carry a body of wisdom in their heart. What are some of the best pieces of advice you have received?
4. In their wisdom, the elders told Rehoboam that if he served the nation, the people would gladly follow him. How can serving with a humble heart actually make a person a stronger leader?
5. What are ways that we can grow in service as we seek to influence the lives of people around us?
6. This section of The Story as well as the teaching of Jesus illustrate that a divided house will always fall. What practical things can we do to bring peace in our family and within our homes?
7. The church, the family of God, has had its own share of civil wars and divisions through the centuries. What can be done to to seek peace and harmony within the congregation?
8. From the perspective of the Lower Story, the division in the kingdom was a result of Rehoboam’s harsh leadership style. From the Upper Story, we know that Solomon’s idolatry and compromise led to consequences for the nation’s future. What can we learn from the wrong attitudes and actions of both father and son in this story?
9. Randy noted, “Whenever Israel was fully devoted to God, they were strong and prospered; but when they divided their loyalty with other gods and interests, they were weakened.” How do you see this spiritual reality in chapter 14 of The Story and in our lives?
10. The sin of spiritual compromise is of great concern to God. It led to Solomon’s poor finish in life and eventually led to the fall of both the Northern and Southern kingdoms. What are ways that idolatry can still slip into our lives today and what should we do to protect ourselves?