Background on Foolish Advice
There are times in all of our lives, when we hit a brick wall due to a trial that was unexpected. During this time, the first thing that we often do is to panic instead of getting on our knees to pray, asking God for wisdom, discernment, and direction. The second thing that we usually do is to seek the advice of our friends. Some of this advice can be like gold, while other advice can be foolish, which is where prayer and discernment comes in.
When it comes to getting advice from others, there are three things that are possibilities: we can learn things from people who are behind us in years, we can learn from the people who are beside us in years, and we can from the people who are ahead of us in years. God has blessed me to be in small groups where all three of these are going on at the same time. I am thankful for learning from all three of these groups. However, the most growth that has taken place have been from the women who are way ahead of me in years. They are old enough to be my mother, but they are my friends. Titus gives us instructions on how the mentoring process for women should go:
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
King Rehoboam was approached by the spokesperson Jeroboam to reduce the workload of the Israelites. They promised that they would serve him for the rest of their lives if he obliged. King Rehoboam had the blessing of seeing his dad, King Solomon, both fill himself with the wisdom from God, and surround himself with wise people. He went to the wise older men who gave his dad advice, to see what they thought that he should do:
2 Chronicles 10:3-8 New International Version (NIV)
3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and all 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, “Come back to me in three days.” 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 you will be kind to these people and please 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.
You would think that his father’s example and entourage would have been a clue. But, it wasn’t. Rehoboam listened to the young men growing up with him, and in turn, causing an uprising, and he himself had to flee for his life:
2 Chronicles 10:10-19 New International Version (NIV)
10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “The 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 them harshly. Rejecting the advice of 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 God, to fulfill the word the Lordhad 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 all 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, who was in charge of forced labor, but the Israelites 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.
This serves as a reminder of how important it is to truly seek God for wisdom in making decisions, along with seeking the wisdom of other wise individuals who may be well ahead of us in years.
Thank you for your advice being the best advice. We pray that we will use discernment when getting wisdom from others when we are faced with our unexpected trials. Please help us not to be filled with pride when it comes to taking advice from older adults, remembering that they have already been where we are trying to go.
In your name we pray,