But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. (1 Kings 12:8)
Relate: “You’ve always got a better story.” It wasn’t a compliment. I thought it was a fun night out with some other college friends playing cards at a coffeehouse in Springfield. One of my friends looked at me a little angry and said, “You’ve always got a better story.” She continued: “No matter who is talking or what they are talking about, as soon as they’re done you always have to jump in with something that will top it.” Fortunately, she said this where no one else could hear. She was a good enough friend that she was trying to point out a weakness I needed to work on, not trying to embarrass or put me down in front of others. Either way, it stung. Of course, my initial reaction was to pull out a quick quip or comeback. But that would only have proven her right.
I wish I could say that I was better and wiser from that moment on. I wish I could say that almost a couple decades later, that fault is no longer a part of my life. For years afterwards there were times where my mouth would be nattering on while her voice was rebuking me again in my head. It still happens sometimes. It was probably one of the best (and most annoying) rebukes I have ever had in my life. Thank you, Sarah, you have made me a better person.
Rehoboam’s father was the wisest man to walk the face of the earth. Those older men would have been ones with years of experience and wisdom gleaned from the time they spent with Solomon. Rehoboam didn’t bother listening to their advice. I can almost imagine the conversation he had with his drinking buddies. One of them tells Rehoboam how to put those malcontents in their place. Another one tops it. Then a third has something even better. By the time they got done one upping each other, Rehoboam is marching out to the crowd: “You think my dad was harsh? I’ll show you harsh! Dad beat you with whips, but I will whip you with scorpions!” Good job, son, you just split the kingdom in half and you are stuck with the little side. You should have listened to your elders.
React: Every week, I am listening to some of the best pastors in the world. I rotate people in and out but currently I have Chris Hodges, Steven Furtick, Erwin McManus, Craig Groeschel, and David Ashcraft. Each one gets part of my daily commute Monday through Friday. These guys are pastoring some of the largest churches in America. They have book sales in the tens of thousands. Craig Groeschel pastors the church that gave us the youversion Bible app with its 200 million downloads. If anyone could say I’ve got it all together, these guys are it. Funny thing then, that all of them are constant learners. I is a rare thing to go a week without hearing at least one of them share an experience where they sought the advice or help from someone wiser, more experienced, or more knowledgeable on some issue. How often in my tiny little kingdom refuse to do the same?
Please help me to be wise. First and foremost help me to get closer and closer to You so that I might recognize and hear Your voice telling me what to do and where to go. Help me also to be quick to listen to the wisdom of others and slower to aggrandize myself where I know little or nothing. Help me to be more selective in which friends influence my own words and actions. Let me learn from the mistakes of Rehoboam and not make them myself.