Lord, help me to see the difference between wisdom and knowledge.
Read 1 Kings 12:1–20
Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam
12 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from[a] Egypt. 3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4 “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.”
5 Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away.
6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.
7 They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”
8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9 He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”
10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 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.’”
12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the Lord, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.
16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:
“What share do we have in David,
what part in Jesse’s son?
To your tents, Israel!
Look after your own house, David!”
So the Israelites went home. 17 But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.
18 King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram,[b] who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
20 When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.
a 1 Kings 12:2 Or he remained in
b 1 Kings 12:18 Some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac (see also 4:6 and 5:14); Hebrew Adoram
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectAll of us can recall a poor decision or two in life. What were the bad decisions made by Solomon’s son Rehoboam?
Rehoboam was called to rule over the 12 tribes of Israel when his father Solomon died. But it didn’t go well. All of us can look back in life with some “if only” reflections. And that had to be the case for Rehoboam!
What happened? It started with his father, Solomon, who had been a demanding ruler. Should Rehoboam follow in his footsteps? We see that he first asked mature leaders for advice. Their answer made the welfare of his people the foremost concern. Rehoboam then sought a second opinion from friends his own age. Their answer focused on his manhood: he needed to be strong. Yet their version of strength was stupidly insensitive. He listened to them and we see what followed.
Here’s a question: why didn’t Rehoboam ask for God’s advice? King David regularly sought God’s help. And so had Solomon in his early days. The elders certainly remembered this. But the younger men, along with Rehoboam, grew up under Solomon’s new and more open-minded values. And somewhere in the process they stopped looking to God. That was the real disaster.
When you need to make important decisions, to whom do you turn for good advice? Is God included in the process?
Lord, may I always look to You when faced with decisions and choices in my life.