1 Kings 12:1-15

King Rehoboam Acts Foolishly

12 Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. Now when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it[a]he was living in Egypt (for he was yet in Egypt, where he had fled from the presence of King Solomon). Then they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, “Your father made our yoke hard; now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” Then he said to them, “Depart [b]for three days, then return to me.” So the people departed.

King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had [c]served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you counsel me to answer this people?” Then they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to this people today, and will serve them and [d]grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him [e]and served him. So he said to them, “What counsel do you give that we may answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?” 10 The young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, “Thus you shall say to this people who spoke to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us!’ But you shall speak to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins! 11 Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’”

12 Then Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day as the king had [f]directed, saying, “Return to me on the third day.” 13 The king answered the people harshly, for he forsook the advice of the elders which they had [g]given him, 14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people; for it was a turn of events from the Lord, that He might establish His word, which the Lord spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

It’s one thing to get bad advice and follow it. It’s quite another to get good advice, ignore it, and go looking for the bad advice just because you didn’t like the good advice. And here Rehoboam is, about to reap the harvest of ignoring the advice of the elders.

Really, we can’t blame anything on his friends, because he only went to them because he knew the answer they would give, and that was the answer he wanted to give in the first place. He just needed someone to confirm his bad idea so he could claim it was a good idea. After all, his “advisors” told him that’s what should be done.

Too many times, when we know something isn’t right, we look for some confirmation, some reason that it might be justified, so that we don’t have to feel bad about doing it. But a bad idea is still the wrong way, no matter what others say, no matter what the circumstances might be.

Indeed, God’s way is to give up our preconceptions, and follow Him, to ignore what those around us say, and listen to what He ways. That’s not to say what we think is always wrong, but our flesh is often good at running contrary to the spirit that God has given us for guidance. So when you’re tempted to give in and indulge the flesh, listen closer, stop, slow down, and wait a minute to see what God might have to say in the matter. His way is always better, always for our good, instead of our ruin and downfall.

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