Irvin Wasswa- Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC

1 Kings 12:1-15 (NLT)
Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt,[a] for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. 3 The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. 4 “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects. 5 Rehoboam replied, “Give me three days to think this over. Then come back for my answer.” So the people went away. 6 Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”7 The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.” 8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. 9 “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?”10 The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’”12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered. 13 But Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors 14 and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!” 15 So the king paid no attention to the people.

The I Kings 12 passage is known to many scholars as Rehoboam’s Folly. As King of Israel following in the footsteps of his father Solomon, he was given a request by the people of Israel  to lighten the burden of heavy taxation and labor they experienced during King Solomon’s reign. The people promised to support Rehoboam throughout his time as king if the request was honored. Rehoboam sought counsel from two different sources on the matter. The older counselors in verse 7 shared how he should listen to the people and serve them, whereas his foolish friends in verse 10 advised against it. He decided to listen to his friends which led to much ruin for the people of Israel. As a matter of fact, it led to the split of the Kingdom and turmoil for much of the rest of the Old Testament time period. 

Friend, who/what you choose to listen to is important. The influences we have in our lives ought to be leading us closer to the Lord and His truth instead of leading us away. What can end up taking place sometimes if we are not careful is we can end up becoming the very thing Solomon warns us about in Proverbs 3:7 when he states: Be not wise in your own eyes; Instead of seeking out and listening to wise counsel, we make the unilateral decision to listen to other foolish influences in our life (pessimistic thoughts/emotions, worldly influences, foolish counsel), because our way may seem right in our own eyes. When we make the decisions to respond to what is right in our own eyes, we find ourselves in a mess as Rehoboam did.

The Lord desires for us to choose to listen to influences which will lead us to glorify and exalt Him. What does that look like? 

-Listen and Obey the Savior- The Bible calls Jesus the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). Spend time with Him everyday in prayer and in His word. Be diligent in choosing to seek His face every day and ask for a word from Him when it comes to a big decision. 

-Listen and Obey Scripture- The great news is the Lord has provided us His Word to read, study, and meditate on. In His Word are great treasures on how to live as a follower of Jesus in a broken world. By the way, His word shares with us that in Jesus we have victory so we do not have to fear tomorrow (1 Corinthians 15). His word tells us that He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are fixed on Him (Isaiah 26:3). His word tells us that though times may be difficult, The Lord is near and is a refuge for us in times of trouble (Psalm 62:8). Hey friend choose to listen to God’s Word, not the lies of the world. 

Seek Out and Listen to Godly Saints- Who do you have in your life as a mentor who can speak godly truth into your life? Who is that person who can encourage you with wisdom pertaining to your season of life? We need those people in our life. Seek them out and then choose to listen to them.  

Who are you listening to these days? Are you choosing to listen to foolish influences over the Father? Choose to listen to and follow the Father. Are you seeking wisdom and direction from the garbage that may be on social media over that godly saint who has been speaking truth into your life for a while? Choose to repent and return to seeking out wisdom from that saint. May we all choose to be wise today!

Dear Heavenly Father Lord, thank you for your love for me. Help me to learn to listen to the influences that are true and glorify You. Help me to see the value of seeking godly wisdom and walking in it. Help me to be wise today. In Jesus, name, Amen!

1 Corinthians 15:58
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.