Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rejecting Good Advice

1 Kings 12:8 But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him.

When Solomon reigned as King over Israel the nation reached its zenith. Solomon was filled with wisdom that God gave him to lead the people. Sadly Solomon did not finish as well as he started. For all the wisdom he had received he wasn't wise enough to turn from the deadly temptations that led his heart away from God. At the death of Solomon there wasn't a question as to who would be his successor. Everyone in the Kingdom looked to Solomon's son Rehoboam to be the next king. But although Rehoboam inherited his fathers kingdom, he did not inherit his fathers wisdom. 
On the day of his coronation Rehoboam met with two different groups for council. The first group were the elders who had been with Solomon from the beginning. They had observed his strengths and weaknesses. They had taken note of what was a blessing under Solomon's reign, and also what needed to change. No doubt the council they tried to give to Rehoboam was not to lord over him, but to help him. The council they gave was that Rehoboam speak kindly to the people, be a servant to the people, care for the people. These men had insight, they had been around a lot longer than Rehoboam and they wanted to see the nation stay together. At first Rehoboam listened, and then consulted another group. The second group was some young men that had grown up with him and stood before him. A group that had been waiting alongside of Rehoboam in the wings for their opportunity. Over time, they had developed their own opinions and come to their own conclusions. They told Rehoboam to do things differently then his father. They told him to be oppressive to the people, and to place a burden on them. It's as if they were saying, "change things up, be your own man Rehoboam. What do those old timers know anyway? Those guys are withholding progress in the kingdom. You know what to do. Don't live in your fathers shadow." I imagine this was a difficult decision for Rehoboam. For in addition to the council of his young men telling him to move forward, he had the buildings Solomon had built; and the bankroll that Solomon had amassed to get things done. 
Having received council from both groups Rehoboam decided to reject the council of the elders, and went with the council of the young men. And when he stood before the people and began to put forth his vision for the nation, the people rejected it. The tribes that had been united up to this point divided. The people formerly under Solomon began to leave, and those that left took their money with them. 
As Rehoboams Kingdom continued to decline the tribe up Judah went into carnal and idolatrous practices. Also their Egyptian enemies came in and stole the treasures of the house of the Lord, and they took the gold shields that Solomon had made.  In place of the gold shields Rehoboam made bronze shields. Although they were not made of gold they would still shine, and give off the impression that everything was as stable and fortified as they had always been. Yet sadly, not everything was as it appeared to be.  
You can't help but wonder if things would have been different if Rehoboam had asked the Lord for wisdom as his father had done.
The only consolation that you can find in this sad story is in 1 Kings 12:15 "the turn of events was from the Lord, that He might fulfill His word…." In other words God was still in control, and God still had a plan. Ultimately the Lord would use this for good.