Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Say not my soul, ‘From whense can God relieve my care?’
Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere.
His method is sublime, His heart profoundly kind.
God never is before His time, and never is behind.”
Today’s Study Text:
“But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him.”
1 Kings 12: 8
“The Hubris of Humanity – ‘Forsaking the Counsel’”
“He (she) that won’t take counsel, can’t be helped.”
Is there a time in my life when I ignored counsel, thinking I knew better, only to find out later I was mistaken?
“Beware lest clamor be taken for counsel.”
Definition of Hubris: Excessive pride. Arrogance.
“To profit from advice (counsel) requires more wisdom than to give it.”
I think there are times in all our lives when we might have asked ourselves, “I wonder what would have happened if I had made a different choice at a particular moment in my life?” Possibly, it was a small decision that didn’t end up having major consequences down the line. However, quite the opposite may have been the case, for there may be a determination you made in your life which resulted in dire fallout for you and those you care about.
This brings us to our study text today where we find that at the very beginning of Rehaboam’s rulership, he had a critical decision to make. It was a decision which set the wheels in motion for so much tragedy and treachery, it’s quite impossible to believe -- except for the fact that God’s Word tells us, in detail, what the results of this decision actually were.
I want to insert that the reason I love to study the Bible is that it is God’s beacon of truth. I’d like to point out two of the specific reasons I find the Bible is, as David said, “a lamp unto my feet.”
First, from Genesis to Revelation, one of the characteristics we find present in our heavenly Father is that He did not create a planet filled with robots. He could have. We could be programmed to obey and do whatever God says. Frankly, when you see all the evil men and women get into and how unwisely God’s sons and daughters on earth have used the gift of the power of choice, which was bestowed upon us by our Father, you wonder if it wouldn’t be better to have been robots -- good ones, that is. But that’s not our Father’s way. He desires love, freely given from willing hearts, not a coercive love for that is no love at all. And so, from the beginning of time as we know it, God laid out before His children the results of obedience and the consequences of disobedience.
In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses addressed the children of Israel and called his sermon “Blessings and Cursings.” But let’s go a step further. God could have stopped by telling us that when we obey, good things will happen, and when we disobey bad things will happen. He could have and left it at that.
Instead, he gave us a detailed record of the lives of real people, individuals like you and me, who had to face all the situations that confront many of us everyday.
Then God showed us what happens when we do our own thing or when we follow God’s plan and purpose. In the Bible, God shows us the complete spectrum. All the variety of behaviors, from the first book of Genesis to the very last book in the Bible, Revelation.
Today, in the book of 1 Kings, we run headlong into one of the times when one of God’s children was faced with a crucial decision. I call it a turning-point in time. Just as the young Rehoboam began to get his royal crown on straight, a committee arrived at his palace door led by none other than Jeroboam, a nemesis of his dad, Solomon. This group had an agenda. Fuming for some time by the heavy load of taxes and servitude imposed by Solomon’s extravagant spending, this group came to ask for a lighter load, both physically and financially. It appeared to be a fair request. And this is exactly what the “senior” advisors in Rehoboam’s administration concluded. In fact, I find their advice rather sensible. (Maybe that tells you something about my age.) When Rehoboam consulted these older men, their reasoning went something like this, and I’m paraphrasing 1 Kings 12:7, “If you’ll be like a servant leader right now at the start of your reign; if you will serve the people caring for them with compassion and kindness; if you will talk with them and speak good (fair, merciful, gracious) words to them, then they will serve you forever.” In other words, some concessions now will guarantee loyal citizens throughout your reign. But Rehoboam had another idea. He wanted to see what his “young” pals had to say. This was a new day -- what would the young upstarts think about the situation?
To say it would be quite the opposite doesn’t even begin to paint a clear picture. The theory of the “young bucks” was this, “You are in charge now. This isn’t your ‘pops’ throne anymore. It’s time to show everybody who’s boss. Don’t lighten the load. Make it heavier -- much heavier! Oh, and while you’re at it, throw in a few of those stinging desert scorpions for good measure!”
To those of you who have never had the “pleasure” of meeting a scorpion, “up-close-and-personal,” I’ll just tell you, after being stung by one, I wouldn’t want to repeat the experience ever again.
This was the solution Rehoboam’s young friends came up with. Rehoboam had two choices. He could become a servant-king or he could turn his subjects into slaves. And here is where the unfortunate “hubris” of humanity took over. As defined, the word “hubris” means arrogance and pride -- and we find throughout Scripture, it is a characteristic which is repeatedly referred to as one of those “sins” that is not a part of heaven’s realm. Sadly, Rehoboam chose to ignore the wise counsel of the older advisors and instead, he “laid it on,” as the younger advisors counseled him to do.
Here’s something we need to take notice of as this situation is told to us. All through 1 Kings 12: 1-14, during the time when the decision-making process was happening and the weighty cause which had brought the committee of individuals before Rehoboam in the first place was under consideration, never once do we read in those 14 verses that God was consulted -- that His advice was sought. As Pastor and author Max Lucado observed, “It’s easy to forget who is the servant and who is to be served,” and this is exactly what Rehoboam did. The results were, let’s just say, disastrous for from this point on, the kingdom of Israel was never the same again. How sad, because it didn’t have to be this way, if God’s counsel had been asked for and listened to in the first place.
In the words of Rehoboam’s grandfather, David, God has promised, “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go, I will counsel you with my eye upon you Psalm 32:8, KJV.” What a divine way for you and me to avoid the trap of “human hubris.” Henri Nouwen said that he went to visit Mother Theresa in Calcutta when she was working there. He wanted to ask her advice on how to live out his vocation as a priest. She gave him this simple counsel: “First, spend an hour a day in adoration of your Lord. Second, never do anything you know is wrong.”
What wise counsel for you and me to incorporate into our own lives -- and what a way to prevent us from falling into a trap that leads to confusion and controversy as we find happened when Rehoboam thought he could run things on his own!
Knowing that God has your best interest and mine at the core of His being, how much more should we listen and follow His advice for He promises, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him (her) ask of God, that giveth to all men (and women) liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be give him (her)” (James 1: 5, K.J.V.)
“The true and living God, the One who lives from eternity to eternity, desires more than anything that we humble ourselves and make him our personal, one-and-only God. When we do that, He comes to us and lives within us, gives us direction, and teaches us His ultimate truth.”
God Cannot Be Trusted
(And Five Other Lies of Satan)
“O Father, give us the humility which
Realizes its ignorance,
Admits its mistakes,
Recognizes its need,
Help us always
To praise rather than to criticize,
To sympathize rather than to condemn.
To encourage rather than to discourage,
To build rather than to destroy,
And to think of people at their best
rather than at their worst.
This we ask for thy name’s sake.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.