Jump Start # 2419
2 Kings 12:8 “But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him.”
Our verse today is about King Rehoboam. He was the last king of the united kingdom of Israel and Judah. And, it’s because of our verse today that the kingdom split. He sought good advice, but he didn’t follow through with it. The elders had some experience. They were with his father, Solomon, as the kingdom prospered. A temple was built. Massive amounts of money flowed into the kingdom. It was time to give the people some breathing room. Back off of the taxes and enjoy the fruits of what was all around. The old men knew. But those words didn’t set well with the new king. He asked those who were his age. They presented a different picture. Raise the taxes even more, was their advice. And, that was enough. The people had enough. Judah and Israel split and they would never be united again. It was a civil war without any shots being fired.
From this we see lessons about advice. Advice about advice.
First, it is important who you ask. Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone ought to express it. If you wanted some financial advice, you wouldn’t ask your broke cousin. What does he know? If you wanted some advice about college, you’d not ask someone who never finished high school. What does he know? If you want advice about marriage, are you going to ask someone who has been divorced several times or is a registered sex offender? You want Biblical advice, who should you ask? Google it? A college professor who hates God? A guy who never goes to church services? A person who doesn’t understand the Bible?
Who you ask is important. Rehoboam’s buddies, those he grew up with, they never ran a kingdom. They never were involved with tax laws or getting tribute from foreign countries. They never saw how to finance an army. It could be that we get into messes because we are not asking the right people. Because a person is in the family doesn’t mean that they are qualified nor do they have any knowledge of what to do. If you had a problem, who would you talk to? If you need some input, who are you asking?
Second, the best advice may not be what I want to hear. I believe the reason why Rehoboam rejected what the elders said, was because that’s not what he wanted to hear. Had they said, “raise the taxes,” he might have gone along with them. Those that really love us often will have to tell us things that we’d rather not hear. We may not want to hear that we are spending too much money, or that we are wasting too much time watching TV, or that we are neglecting the kids. The doctor may tell us to lay off the soft drinks and exercise more. Probably, not what we wanted to hear. Moms and dads have been telling their children what to do since the creation. We didn’t want to go to bed when they said to. We didn’t want to do our homework. We didn’t like to eat anything green. But what they told us, was the best. It was for our good.
What Rehoboam heard from the elders wasn’t what he was looking for. Had he listened to them, the kingdom may not have split, at least not at that moment and maybe not under his watch. You need to get to church, may not be what some what to hear, but it’s the best. Need to forgive. Not what you were hoping for, but it’s the best. Need to be quiet and listen, not what you wanted to be told.
Third, what makes advice good or bad is not the age of the person who says it but the rightness of what is said. Just because someone is old, doesn’t make him right. And, just because someone is young, doesn’t make him foolish. Out of the mouth of babes, the truth can flow. We can discount what is said because of the age of the person. We need to hear what they say. They might actually say something worthwhile and right. This thought is often discounted both at home and in the church. The assumption that parents are always right, isn’t right. A child tells his sleepy parents on Sunday morning, “we need to go to church.” That child is right. The parents will have a lame excuse why they can’t, but the words of the child, even though he is young, is right. In the church, a new Christian can have fresh, good and Biblical ideas that could help the place. Too often, no one listens to him because he is “new.” The elders do not have a market on all good ideas. Listen to what is said before you dismiss it because of who said it.
Fourth, it helps to recognize when we have followed the wrong advice. Rehoboam should have noticed how dreadful he made things in the kingdom. He should have pulled back, reversed what he said and rejected the bad advice. But he didn’t. The kingdom split. He was to blame. If you find yourself going down a dead end road, how fall to you have to go before you stop and turn around? Just because someone is a Christian, doesn’t mean all the light bulbs are shinning in his head. I’ve heard preachers give some pretty insane advice before. As a young preacher, had I followed what they said, I would have been hung out to dry a long time ago. Some speak from emotion. They are worked up, angry and not thinking. They tell you to do things that you shouldn’t do. Others are firing from the hip and they don’t know what they are talking about. It’s amazing to hear all the advice non-preachers give to preachers. I know a few doctors. I would never dream of telling them what they ought to do or how to run their practices. I don’t have a clue what their world is like. But bad advice flows through the air all the time. It’s on social media. Put out a question or a situation, and volumes of advice flows. A lot of it is not worth even reading.
We must recognize when what we decided to do isn’t working out. We need to stop and turn around. There is no need to keep getting deeper and deeper into problems by following bad advice.
Advice is a part of life. We give advice and we receive advice. Some advice we seek. Some is just given to us, whether we want it or not. The lesson of Rehoboam teaches us some simple principles about advice.
I hope this helps…