Surround Yourself with Wise Counselors

The king answered the people harshly, for he forsook the advice of the elders.
–1 Kings 12:13

If you want to know God’s will for your life, then don’t just surround yourself with yes-men; seek out people who will offer wise counsel. King Rehoboam in the Old Testament didn’t follow that principle. Early in his reign, the people came to him and said, “Your father made our yoke hard; now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you” (1 Kings 12:4). They were saying, “Rehoboam, your dad was a great king, but we are taxed to the max. Give us a break, and we’ll follow you anywhere.”

Rehoboam asked his father’s advisers what they thought, and they said, in essence, “The people are right. They’re working hard. Give them a break, and they will follow you.” But that’s not what Rehoboam wanted to hear. So he called in a group of younger men, who said, “You have to show the people who’s boss.” Rehoboam took the advice of these yes-men and said to the people, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions” (v. 14). As a result, the people revolted, and the kingdom split in two.

Rehoboam’s sad experience reveals several principles about seeking wise counsel. Number one: seek advice from experts–people who have faced the same problem and found a solution.

Number two: seek advice from many counselors. To his credit, Rehoboam brought in two groups of advisers. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” Don’t listen to just one person; listen to many people.

Number three: consider the motivation of your advisers. This is where Rehoboam fell short. Had he thought about it, he might have realized that his father’s advisers didn’t have anything to gain from Rehoboam. They had done their government service. On the other hand, the younger men wanted to ingratiate themselves with the new king, so they told him what he wanted to hear.

Number four: act on the wise counsel you receive. By seeking the counsel of others, you learn the quality of discernment–how to separate good advice from bad advice. And when you receive good advice, act on it. Has your doctor told you that you need to start exercising? Then do it. Has your pastor encouraged you to reconcile a relationship? Then do it. The most tragic words of Rehoboam’s story are these: “The king did not listen” (1 Kings 12:15). To hear good advice and not act on it is not to hear it at all.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “Who Speaks for God?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

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