Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC

1 Kings 12:1-14
Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2 And as soon as Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 3 And they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam,4 “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.”5 He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away.
6 Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” 7 And they said to him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.”8 But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him. 9 And he said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” 10 And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus shall you speak to this people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us,’ thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs. 11 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.’”
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king said, “Come to me again the third day.” 13 And the king answered the people harshly, and forsaking the counsel that the old men had given him, 14 he spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.”

There was an airplane that was about to crash with 4 passengers on it plus the pilot.  There was a heart surgeon, a rocket scientist, a Baptist preacher, and a boy scout. The pilot realized there were only 3 parachutes on the plane besides his own, so he said, “Guys, y’all have to decide who gets the parachutes.”  The heart surgeon grabbed one and said, “I’m the best heart surgeon in my state, my patients need me,” and out he jumped. The rocket scientist the screamed, “I’m the smartest man in America. I know everything there is to know about the world, so my country needs me,” and out he jumped.  The Baptist preacher then looked at the boy scout and calmly said, “Here, son you take this parachute and I’ll rest in the hands of God.” The 10 year old boy scout then spoke up to the surprise of the preacher and said, “There are actually two parachutes left. That know-it-all grabbed my backpack!”  

Scripture says that we should not be wise in our own eyes. Rehoboam had learned this lesson by watching his wise father, Solomon, get counsel from others. However, just getting advice from others is not the guaranteed ticket to wisdom. The real question is who are you listening to? Rehoboam was a son of Solomon, grandson of David, and the rightful heir to the throne of Israel. However, his father’s servant Jeroboam rallied people against both he and his father. The Kingdom is on the verge of a nasty split, civil war could ensue, and what does Rehoboam do? He seeks the counsel of the elders who once counseled his father, and they gave him great advice. All he had to do was lighten the burden his father had placed on the people and they would follow him. But Rehoboam didn’t listen to their counsel. Instead he chose to take the advice of his peers who had little wisdom and even less experience, and what did they tell him? They said to ignore the cries of the people and prove his political power by making their burden even harder.

Rehoboam did the right thing by getting advice, but he chose the wrong path when he listened to the wrong people. Who do you listen to? If you want a strong marriage, then get advice from couples who love God and have been married for a long time. If you want to know how to lead your kids, then get counsel from those whose children are grown and live lives of godliness. If you really want to grow in the Lord, then surround yourself with others who are growing themselves. If you really want wisdom, then immerse yourself in the Word drawing counsel from our omniscient, holy, and infinitely wise God. One of the saddest state of affairs is when a Christian chooses not to engage in real community. When you shut off wise believers to take counsel in yourself or in those outside the church you are in for spiritual disaster. Whatever you do, make sure you are listening to the Holy Spirit through prayer and the study of God’s Word. Also, make sure you are getting godly advice from believers in the church who have been there, gotten the t-shirt, and come out on the other side-men and women of loyal character. I can promise you based on the authority of God’s Word you’ll be eternally glad you did.

Father God, forgive me for thinking my way is the only right way. Jesus, teach me Your ways and help me listen to the counsel of other godly believers. In Jesus name, amen.

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.