There's Lots of Advice Out There... (1 Kings 12:1-19)
In 1 Kings 12:1-19, the story unfolds with King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, inheriting the throne of Israel. The people approached him, asking for relief from the heavy burdens and taxes imposed by his father. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Rehoboam sought counsel from the elders who had served his father. These experienced advisors advised him to listen to the people's request and respond with kindness and compassion, assuring him that the people would then be loyal to him.
However, Rehoboam also sought the advice of his friends, who were young and inexperienced. They encouraged him to respond with even harsher measures, asserting his authority and power over the people. Sadly, Rehoboam chose to follow the counsel of his friends rather than the wisdom of the elders.
From Rehoboam's actions, we can draw several lessons. Firstly, seeking counsel from others is a wise decision, as it allows us to gain different perspectives and insights. However, it is crucial to be cautious about who we approach for advice. The elders, who had experienced the complexities of leadership, possessed greater wisdom compared to Rehoboam's friends, who lacked the necessary life experience.
This leads us to the second lesson: wisdom is often concentrated in those who have "been around the block a few times." While young people can be passionate and impulsive, their judgment may not always be grounded in wisdom. Seeking the counsel of the elderly and experienced individuals can provide valuable guidance and help us make wiser decisions.
Thirdly, we must avoid the temptation to seek multiple opinions until we find the answer we want to hear. Rehoboam's decision to consult different sources of counsel, solely to find support for his desired course of action, proved counterproductive. Such behavior undermines the purpose of seeking advice and often leads to failure.
Lastly, seeking counsel requires preparedness to accept and deal with the answers we receive. Rehoboam was not prepared to accept the counsel of the elders when it went against his personal desires. This lack of readiness resulted in the division of the kingdom and a loss of support from the people.
In summary, King Rehoboam's actions in seeking counsel from both the elders and his friends provide valuable lessons. We should be cautious about who we seek counsel from, recognizing that wisdom is often found in those with more experience. The temptation to shop around for opinions that align with our desires should be avoided. Ultimately, seeking counsel necessitates a readiness to accept and navigate the answers we receive, even if they challenge our initial inclinations.