Summary: This is a message that shows the danger of making bad choices.
“BAD COUNSEL MEANS BAD CHOICES”
INTRODUCTION: Rehoboam, the only mentioned son of Solomon, had the opportunity to continue the dynasty of David, his grandfather and Solomon his father, with the same blessings that they enjoyed. Instead, he sought bad counsel and lost the blessings that could have been his had he listened to wise counsel. He suffered greatly for his bad choices… The kingdom that his grandfather and father knew was split and he began to rule in Judah.
I. THE COUNSEL THAT REHOBOAM RECEIVED (Vv. 1-11)
Rehoboam was told by the old men that if he would “be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.” For those of you who may be desiring to increase your leadership skills, this will certainly be very good advice. Even as pastors, we ought to realize the value of being kind to our people. Kindness is often a missing ingredient in our homes, on our jobs, and yes, even in our pulpits. To please someone is not necessarily a sign of weakness. It is not even a sign of compromise. With true leadership going on, there should be a deliberate effort to please those who are following you with the spirit of being a servant. The word servant is used in 1 Kings 12 to describe the way that the leader should lead to inspire servitude in his followers. The Greatest Servant of them all was the Lord Jesus Christ… Then, the advice to “speak good words to them” is also good counsel. Often we neglect to use the most appropriate good word or words when communicating instructions and while exercising leadership.
A. The Wise Counsel Refused (Vv. 1-9)
The wise counsel was refused. This could have been attributed to pride or even insecurity on the part of Rehoboam. Two reasons come to my mind why this might be so. He was the son of Solomon. He may have proudly thought that just being the son of Solomon gave him the right to exercise strong control and leadership on a more intense and greater plane than did his father. Or, because he was the son of Solomon, he may have felt intimidated while walking in the shadow of his father, even though his father was deceased. As wise as Solomon was, he did not set a good example for his family. He had over 700 wives and also many concubines. He obviously could not give quality time to his children, whether it was only one or over one hundred. With Rehoboam not having good counsel from his father or because he refused the counsel that we find in the Book of Proverbs, that his father had written, he now seeks the wicked counsel from someone else and did not have the character to receive the good counsel that was given to him by the old men.
Notice what Proverbs 1:1-6 teaches us: 2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
B. The Wicked Counsel Received (Vv.10-11)
He was instructed by the young counselors: 10 And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.
11 For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
For reasons already expounded upon, Rehoboam took the advice of the young men. This is not an indictment against all young people, but it is a warning that there may be times when the gravity of a situation will require the more seasoned and the more mature to offer counsel. This is not a necessary law, but it is a strong principle. As Evangelist C.L. Roach used to tell me, “There are some things that you only get by getting older”.
II. THE AWFUL CHOICE THAT REHOBOAM MADE (Vv. 12-15)
The choice made by him was an awful choice because it was ill advised and was very inconsiderate of the people that served his kingdom. A strong leader does not have to force his leadership. A stubborn horse or mule will teach you that. This is the reason for the old saying: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”. The little boy in school was told to be seated by his teacher. He reluctantly did so. The boy upon doing so told his teacher: “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside”. The people were willing to serve Rehoboam for ever if he had only followed the advice of the old men. Sadly, he did not and his cold, calculating, calloused heart would have no compassion for the people whom he led. Jesus was touched by the feeling of our infirmities and loved us with that spirit and leads us with that spirit.