Those in authority are surrounded by advisors who debate situations and give counsel on the best policies to follow. There have been examples of human wisdom, or lack of it, that have been quite tragic. There is an example in our 1 Kings reading today; a new king seeks advice on what policy he should follow, but has already made up his mind. So he seeks advisors who give the answer he is looking for.
Rehoboam is Solomon’s son. First he “took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father” (12:6). Their advice was to lighten the heavy tax burdens Solomon had imposed – as requested by the people – and all will be well. But “He abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him …” (verse 8). Their advice was the opposite! “And the king answered the people harshly …” (verse 13). We wonder if they had too much confidence in the promises made to David, thinking, surely his grandson can dictate what the people should do?
Rehoboam was 41 when he ascended to the throne and should have been mature. He surely knew the promises God had made to his grandfather. We suspect he had a false expectation as to how they would work out in his day. He did not humble himself before God to learn and do His will.
God knew Rehoboam’s heart; He knew the disaster that would soon befall him. Rehoboam went boldly to the northern tribes, but soon, he “hurried to mount his chariot and flee to Jerusalem” (verse 18). We can see the lessons here. Where do we go to seek counsel? The bible should be the answer, but we must not make the same mistake as others, of searching the Scriptures to find of answer we want in relation to some issue. This only confirms our belief in something we want to believe.
Let us meditate on the example of Paul and his words to the elders at Ephesus. “I do not count my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God … I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:24,27). We need the “whole counsel of God” – that is why we need to read and reflect on God’s word every day.