Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. … Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. … The godly give good advice to their friends, the wicked lead them astray. … Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise. … Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. [Proverbs 1:7,12:15,12:26,13:10,13:20 (NLT)]
Under King Solomon’s reign, the temple and palace were built in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, to accomplish this task, the people were severely overworked and heavily taxed. When Solomon’s son Rehoboam became king, the populace pled with him to reduce their taxes and ease up on the labor demands. The sacrifices they’d endured during the building of the temple could not be sustained forever. They pledged to be Rehoboam’s loyal subjects in return for his lightening their load.
Rehoboam asked for three days to consider their request. First, he conferred with his father’s experienced advisers who suggested honoring the people’s request. They counseled that a king’s subjects will remain loyal to a ruler who shows concern for them, saying that, if the king served his people well, his people would be his servants. Motivated by power and greed, however, Rehoboam disliked their farsighted advice; he was not about to serve anyone. Ignoring his father’s proverb about walking with the wise, he asked his friends for counsel. While the elders served the needs of the people, these young men only served Rehoboam (and themselves). Echoing Pharaoh’s response when first approached by Moses, they recommended making even greater demands on the populace, which is what Rehoboam did. As a result, the already unstable kingdom of Israel became divided into Judah in the south and Israel in the north and the two nations remained at war throughout Rehoboam’s reign. That wealth that was so important to the new king? Within five years, Judah was invaded by the Egyptians and all the treasures that had been accumulated by Solomon were lost.
Like Solomon’s son, there are times we need advice. The most knowledgeable counselor available is God and Scripture. Since God often speaks to us through others, however, we need to choose our earthly advisers wisely. Unfortunately, like Rehoboam, we often go to the people who will tell us exactly what we want to hear and not what we need to know. We need the good judgment to know when we are hearing wise or foolish advice.
Father, remind us to come to you when we have a question and give us the discernment to recognize your answer.