Who do you turn to for good advice? When was the last time you rejected good advice? Why?
It is amazing how often people still refer to the need for Solomon’s type of advice when they find themselves in a difficult situation. I even heard a reference to it on Law and Order on TNT recently. It seems that the wisdom of King Solomon is still required, even in the 21st century. What better advice can we get for gaining knowledge that his statement from Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Solomon said in 4:6 that wisdom protects us. Remember that Solomon said it is helpful to “listen to advice and accept instruction” (Proverbs 19:20), especially since it means that, “in the end you will be wise.” One of my favorite reminders of Solomon’s wisdom is found in Proverbs 15:22, where he wrote, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”
If you recall Old Testament history, you will note that Solomon’s son Rehoboam made the mistake of not following his dad’s great wisdom. Of course, 1 Kings 1-11 records that even though Solomon started off well as King, but he himself made plenty of mistakes on his own, so even the wisest man of all time had feet of clay, and a stubborn heart that got cold toward God.
Solomon’s son Rehoboam took over the throne of Israel after his father’s death in 1 Kings 12. He had a great opportunity to move Israel in the right direction after becoming King, yet he listened to bad advice, acted on it, and it lead to a national revolt. Read 1 Kings 12:1-24.
Shortly after Rehoboam became King of Israel, citizens approached him about his father’s leadership. They argued that Solomon had imposed a burden of hard and heavy labor on the people. Rehoboam acted responsibly at first by seeking counsel on how to handle the matter. He asked the advice of the elders who had served with his father. From these tested and proven leaders, he received wise counsel. They told him his father generally ruled well, but he could be harsh at times. They instructed Rehoboam to be kind to the people and lighten their workload.
So after receiving this helpful advice from trusted counselors, what did Rehoboam do? He rejected it outright. It was not exactly what he wanted to hear, so he approached some friends that he had grown up with, hoping to get the counsel he wanted. He ended up listening to his unwise younger friends who told him what he wanted to hear – make the burden tougher on the people and show them who is in charge. Rehoboam did it, and soon was running for his life.
Rehoboam’s decision to listen to the advice of his friends led to a national revolt and the breaking of Israel into northern and southern tribes, something that had been prophesied. The writer of 1 Kings does not condone the foolish act of Rehoboam or the revolutionary actions of the tribes of Israel. Scripture reminds the reader that it occurred to bring about divine judgment on the house of David for Solomon’s idolatry and broken covenant with God (11:9-13).
What about you? Are you seeking to live your life in accordance with God’s truth and will, or are you trying to find someone – anyone – who will tell you what you want to hear? What three people are great advisors for you? Are they tuned into God and His Word? What concern do you need to get counsel for? Are you a good listener? Proverbs 12:1 says you are stupid if you do not listen to wise instruction. Live communally. You are only as smart as your wisest counselors.
Love is a verb,