Be Careful Who You Obtain Counsel From…

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Recently someone stated to me that they had read in an article that, “It had been calculated that each and every person makes approximately five thousand, if not more decisions a day.”   

Upon hearing that statement, as I hurried to a doctor’s appointment, I purposefully tucked it away as I decided then and there that it would be an awesome study topic for you and me to have!

Now I must admit to you that immediately upon hearing that statement, the emotion of fear started to rise within me, as I thought to myself, “Wow, if I am not mindful of my decisions; certainly I can make a mess, which impacts both me and those closest to me.”  However, hurriedly did the Holy Spirit of God remind me that, “God had not given me the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind!” Oh how I thank God for His Indwelling Presence!

So there I sat in the doctor’s office with pen and pad on my lap, while scrolling through the bible, on my cell phone, looking for just one biblical character out of thousands whom I could use as our example. All of a sudden it became quite impossible for me to ignore the open roused conversation between two other individuals in the waiting room with me… Sitting right across from me, were two individuals openly discussing how to handle, what I considered a very sensitive life situation. The one friend on the left I gathered was truly requiring some sound wise counsel from the other; the other, based on her advice,  unfortunately was not a mature person at all… the advice which I heard her give to her friend in my opinion would indeed make matters worse.

There I sat waiting for the appropriate moment to interject, when the opportunity finally presented itself as the first lady asked, “Ma’am what would you do?”

Yes, I had a chance to share. Unquestionably I did! But unfortunately I cannot tell you whose advice the inquiring woman decided to follow, mine or her friend’s; yet I hoped she took mine since I advised her to sit still and pray to God for guidance since her decision would greatly impact others within her life.

Now of course after having already selecting our topic of discussion for today and after having this small discussion with the lady in the waiting room my heart and mind immediately ran to King Rehoboam, the son of King Solomon. Yes, it was decided, he would be our biblical character selected for this lesson. I invite you to journey with me as we discover together the importance of seeking wise godly counsel before making some decisions.

 

Observation:

1 Kings 12:6, 8

6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, and he said, “How do you advise me to answer these people?”

And

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

Background:

In the latter days of King Solomon’s reign, God declared that He would tear part of the kingdom from the hand of Solomon’s son because King Solomon sinned against God by breaking His commandment concerning the pursuit of other gods. King Solomon, the son of David, the wisest man to ever live, has now died. His son Rehoboam has been crowned as king. It is here that we witness how a decision he made played a part in the division of the twelve tribes of Israel.

 

Interpretation:

For starters as we prepare to interpret verses 6 & 8 we must take the needed time to review the preceding verses in order gain the full context of what has already transpired. With this said, please take time to read 1 Kings 11:43-12:1-5.

Hopefully you were able to gather the following:

* King Solomon has died, his son King Rehoboam has been crowned king.

* Upon hearing of King Solomon’s death, Jeroboam and the whole assembly (The representatives of the tribes) approached King Rehoboam with a groundless complaint, praying to be eased of the taxes they claimed to be burdened with.

* King Rehoboam made a wise choice by asking that they depart from him for three days in order that he could consider their request.

Are you still with me? Okay then grab a cup of coffee or hot tea for we are now ready to precede with interpreting our observation verses starting at verse 6.

6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, and he said, “How do you advise me to answer these people?”

Although most decisions are made unconsciously (not aware, automatically) others decisions require much thought.” I say this because I want us to acknowledge that there is a vital difference–

For instance:

* Choosing what to cook for dinner holds a lesser impact than choosing whether or not to provide food for someone who is hungry.

* Choosing to accept a specific job holds a lesser impact than choosing whether or not to work at all.

* Choosing what to wear holds a lesser impact than choosing to clothe a naked person.

The point I am trying to make is, before making some decisions we must take into consideration many factors, such as: time pressures, open stakes, and the consequences (in other words: the cost and the benefits of that decision).

Verse 6 tells us that this is exactly the situation that King Rehoboam found himself in. As king his decision would impact all twelve tribes so we are told that he wisely consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon.

The wordconsultedmeans: (conferred with, sought advice from, and talked to)

Surely these who stood before Solomon, the wisest man the bible records to ever live, must have garnered wisdom being in the presence of Solomon. So although verse 7 isn’t a part of our observation Scripture, let’s look at the advice, which the elders gave to the king, for it will transition us smoothly into the king’s next action: –

7 – And they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”

Treasure Point: Like King Rehoboam, our decisions might greatly affect others within the circle of our influence, choosing to give the right amount of consideration prior to simply giving an answer is very important and prayer is also required. Additionally, when and if we decide to obtain the advice of others, keep in mind we must consider wisely the characters of the individuals who we intend to garner this advice from.

* Additionally please remember that even when we choose not to choose, we have made a choice.

 

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

Just as fast as King Rehoboam wisely chose to consult the elders, immediately afterwards we are told that he rejected (did not prefer to agree with) the advice of the elders.

Basically their advice to the King was for him to respond with an answer and promise of fairness communicating that he would rule by serving.

Allow me to ask you… “Do you know what the first rule of being a good leader is?”  Well the bible tells us that a good leader is one who exhibits the character trait of humility; a leaders’ number one rule is to serve others, do good, and be just. See it for yourselves:

Luke 22:26 – But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. (NIV)

1 Timothy 2:2 –  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (NIV)

Romans 12:8 –  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (NIV)

Evidently such a response did not sit well with the King so we witness him deciding to consult another group of individuals for advice; this time they just happened to be the companions of his youth.

Now before we jump on our pedestals of judgment, again I must ask “isn’t this how we behave sometimes too?” Allow me to be the first to scream OUCH!

When I consider the many times in my past when I was given sound, godly advice, however because the advice required a humbling of my spirit so I decided to seek others whose advice would agreed with what was already within my heart… all I can do is repent.

Am I alone in this? I doubt it!

The truth is when we are uncertain of the proper decision to make; God will guide us to obtain wise and godly counsel before proceeding on a matter. But whether or not we follow such instruction is our choice entirely. Far too often I believe we prefer to follow those who are more apt to think like us. Yes we believers even have a habit of seeking counsel from the wrong sources, because of own internal sinful desires which leads to an unfavorable outcome to a matter.

Listen to what the bible says in Proverbs 12: 15: The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.

Treasure Point: King Rehoboam might not have been as familiar with the elders who stood within his court as his father Solomon had been, so it was easy for him to have a better opinion of the younger men who had grown up with him; but we must be careful to not simply accept advice based on our familiarity (acquaintance) with someone – We must compare all advice against the Word of God.

Application:

For the believer it is imperative that we take the time to pray, study our bibles, and pursue God first and foremost. Ask God who He desires us, to obtain counsel from.

 

Additional Memory Scriptures:

 

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,

Proverbs 15:22 – Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established.

2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

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