When Rehoboam had established his sovereignty and royal power, he abandoned the law of the LORD — he and all Israel with him. – 2 Chronicles 12:1
There is an old saying that goes like this, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and it is attributed to Lord Acton in 1887. While it could have been spoken of many historic leaders, it certainly pertained to Rehoboam.
As the king of Judah and Benjamin (he had lost the other 10 tribes to his hubris), Rehoboam’s power was indeed absolute and this power led him to believe that he no longer needed to obey the law of the LORD. His action was not only a tragedy for Rehoboam (personally), but it was also a tragedy for the entire country. For according to the text, “all Israel” followed his example.
The nation that elects corrupt leadership reflects its own inner corruption and condemns itself to an assured destruction. Our leaders may not be wise. They may not be successful. They don’t even have to be the most intelligent; although, none of these traits are to be despised. Only one trait is absolutely essential. Our leaders must be moral. Otherwise, their condemnation will lead to the condemnation of an entire people … and worse, their descendants.
A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true. – Socrates