By Dr Bob Dellinger
Today’s reading: 2 Chronicles 9-12.
If you’re like me, it’s hard to ask for advice. Maybe it’s a pride issue, or shyness, or a lack of conviction that the results will be trustworthy. On the other hand, when I have asked for help, the results have usually been just what I needed.
When Rehoboam took the throne after his father’s death, he needed advice. The people of Israel were asking for relief from Solomon’s heavy taxes. The young king did the right thing in seeking counsel before he made a decision.
Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked. They replied, “If you will be kind to these people and please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.” But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 2 Chronicles 10:6-8
The Book of Proverbs, full of wisdom from Rehoboam’s father, says that there is success and safety in a multitude of counselors. Rehoboam didn’t listen to a number of advisors and then make a decision, however. He rejected his father’s advisors immediately, and then went looking for an opinion that catered to his own desires. He found it in his own companions, the young men with whom he grew up. They recommended a hard-line approach to the tax-weary citizens of Israel. The iron fist approach backfired, however, and caused the ten northern tribes to break away from Rehoboam and the tribe of Judah. The results were devastating because it led to open conflict between the people of the north and south. Even worse, King Jeroboam of the northern kingdom put an end to the worship of Jehovah. He established idol worship in Israel that continued until the Assyrians conquered the land.
Rehoboam acted foolishly. What can we learn about how to receive advice from his mistake?
- It’s wise to seek counsel and get a number of opinions.
- You must keep an open mind as you listen to advice.
- Don’t think that your closest friends necessarily have the most wisdom.
- Consider the long-term outcome of advice as well as the short-term effects.
- Remember that true wisdom seeks what is best for everyone, not just what you want.
“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.” Francis Bacon
“A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.” Baltasar Gracian
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. Proverbs 12:15
“It usually happens that when men will not ask counsel of God, if they go to other sources for guidance, they generally accept the very worst form of advice. When men trust in men, it is strange how often they trust in the worst and not in the best of men.” Charles Spurgeon
Image by Pretty Poo Eater on Flickr, CC by-sa 2.0