The name Rehoboam may not mean anything to you, but you need to read this. Rehoboam was the fourth king of Israel, who started his rule at the age of 41. His father Solomon and grandfather David left him fabulously wealthy and powerful. The people, however, were not pleased with the high taxes that had been imposed by Solomon and sent a delegation to King Rehoboam to ask for some relief. Their request was quite simple: “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you” (1 Kings 12:4). Rehoboam told the people he would consider their request and give an answer after three days. Now ancient history reveals that most kings surrounded themselves with advisors, and he was no exception. The king went first to the elders and asked for their advice. They told him, “If you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants” (1 Kings 12:7). Tragically, Rehoboam rejected this advice and sought out the advice of the friends with which he had grown up. Their advice to the king to proclaim to the people was, “My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions” (1 Kings 12:11). For Rehoboam, it was all about power and domination. So, he spewed out his arrogance to them. The next thing you know, the kingdom separated, and Rehoboam lost more than half the people of Israel! Because of the king’s blunder, the years ahead were filled with strife and wars between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. I wonder how many times Rehoboam must have reminisced, If only I had humbled myself and served the people instead of trying to show off my power. There are many lessons from this event, but let me leave you with one. Make sure you seek out the right people for advice. Don’t surround yourself with pals who tell you just what you want to hear…appealing to your pride and vanity. But what will you do in the end? Seek the advice of God’s Word and godly people. A final hint: godly advisors may be older and more experienced at life than you are! May God bless you with godly wisdom and good decisions.
Pastor Mark Boucher