Who Do We Listen To?
"But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.” 1 Kings 12:8 (NIV)
My head buzzed from the amount of advice I received that day. Social media and advertisements had informed me about what to do, what to think, what to buy. How to parent. How to win at life. I had googled a pressing question, and the options were staggering.
And I’d just arrived home from a trip with a relative. That person had enthusiastically informed me how fast to go, where to turn and which exit I should have taken.
With all of the noise in our ears, it can be hard to sort through good counsel versus bad. It can be difficult to know how to shut it down when it’s unhelpful.
In today’s passage, a young King Rehoboam is in desperate need of wise counsel. He’s been chosen to succeed his father, Solomon, on the throne. He met with the people, and they had shared a special request. Though Solomon was considered a great ruler, he had taxed his people heavily and required hard labor.
They asked for a king with a gentler touch.
Rehoboam turned to a group of elders for advice, who told him to give the people what they asked. They informed him if he did what they advised, the people would follow him gladly.
"But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him” (1 Kings 12:8).
The next set of advisors were younger and less experienced. They said Rehoboam should lay a heavier burden on the people and be unmerciful to them.
He took the unwise counsel.
He shared the news with the people, who in turn revolted. Nations divided. As a result, Rehoboam became king over just two tribes, rather than 12. All because he listened to (and acted on) unwise counsel.
Like Rehoboam, there can be numerous voices that arise when we need answers. That can produce uncertainty, but we have options.
James 3:17b tells us to seek wisdom, defining it as, “first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (NIV).
When we don’t know who to listen to, we can measure it by this biblical standard, asking these questions:
- Does this person stand to gain something if I follow his or her advice? (impartial)
- Does this counsel lead to God’s best for me, or God’s best in this situation? (good fruit)
- Does this person’s life reflect the qualities I hope to have in my own life? (pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive or obedient, full of mercy, sincere)
If the answer is “no,” they don’t get to speak into my life.
Second, we examine our own motivation. It’s tempting to take unwise counsel because it makes us feel good in the moment. Or to take it when it affirms what we want to do, even if it’s not the right thing.
But … is it wise? That’s what directs us, not feelings or an easier route.
We can be assured there will always be people telling us what to do or what we should be doing, but thankfully, we are never lost in the noise.
We listen, we act on what is wise and toss out the rest.
Lord, I know You bring wise people into my life to show me the next step. Give me the maturity and insight to listen to what is wise and what reflects You, for You are my closest counsel. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 51:6, “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” (NASB)
As we walk daily with Christ, we walk wisely. Suzie Eller’s devotional, Come With Me Devotional: A Yearlong Adventure in Following Jesus, will help you get started.
Ever struggle with knowing what is wise and what is not? Join Suzie on her blog for a free printable to help you discern the difference.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Many sources of advice seem unsolicited, but are we the ones who invite them in?
When we need counsel, let’s not go to social media or a search engine first. Shut down the noise, and get alone with God. Present your need. Ask Him to step into your question. Listen for His voice long before you invite anyone else into that space.
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