Lessons learned from Kings and Prophets
My Bible reading this morning included chapters 11-13 of 1 Kings. This takes place during the end of King Solomon’s reign. There were two significant stories that happened in these chapters that we can learn from.
After Solomon passed away, his son Rehoboam became king. As his first act as king, the people came before him and asked him to lighten the harsh labor and heavy yoke that Solomon had placed on them. Rehoboam sent them away and told them to come back after three days for his decision. He consulted two groups: the elders who served his fathers and the young men he grew up with. The elders advised Rehoboam to give a favorable answer, but the young men advised him to place an even heavier yoke on the people. Tell them your pinky finger is thicker than your father’s waist! Rehoboam ignored the elders and took the advice of the young men, causing the people to rebel and Rehoboam lost nearly all of his kingdom, only ruling over the Israelites who remained in the kingdom of Judah.
Two stories that both end with tragic consequences.
The people who rebelled against Rehoboam sent for Jeroboam and called him to be the new king. Jeroboam was concerned to send these people to Jerusalem in Judah to offer sacrifices because they may rejoin their previous king, Rehoboam. So he created idols, two golden calves, in his kingdom for them to offer their sacrifices to. This did not sit well with God, so He sent a prophet to speak to Jeroboam. Jeroboam heard the prophet’s warning and invited him to his house for dinner. The prophet told him he could not join the king because of God’s instructions for him: “You must not eat bread or drink water nor return they way you came.” So the prophet left and while he was heading home a certain old prophet found him. The older prophet invited him to his home for dinner. When the young prophet shared God’s instructions for him, the older prophet said an angel of the Lord gave these instructions: “Bring him back to you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.” (But he was lying to him.)As a result, because the young prophet did not keep the command God gave to him, a lion met him on his trip home and killed him.
What can we learn from this?
In both of these stories, there are tragic consequences for the people who followed poor advice of others. In the first story, Rehoboam was given good advice from wise people but chose the poor advice of his younger peers. Had he followed the wiser counsel, the people would not have revolted and he would have remained king of an entire kingdom.
In the second story, the young prophet chose to follow the advice of a prophet over the direct word he received from God. Unfortunately this can happen in our lives today. Anytime you have a spiritual leader suggest you should follow their instructions over God’s voice in your life, that should raise a flag. And while we always want to be surrounded by wise counsel, we are all responsible for discerning God’s voice and leading for our own lives.
“Tragic consequences come from following poor advice: listen to wise counsel and discern God’s voice for yourself.”