Looking for Permission

“Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. And as soon as Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it, [he] returned from Egypt. And they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.’ He said to them, ‘Go away for three days, then come again to me.’ So the people went away.

“Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, ‘How do you advise me to answer this people?’ And they said to him, ‘If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.’ But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him. ‘What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?’ And the young men… said to him, ‘Thus shall you speak to this people.., “My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs. And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.”‘

“So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day… And the king answered the people harshly, and forsaking the counsel that the old men had given him, he spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, ‘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.’” 1 Kings 12:1-14

Sadly, Rehoboam showed his folly from the start of his reign. His mind was unstable and his goals unclear, so he determined to secure permission that stroked the lowest common denominator of his fleshly hunger for untamed power. Wasn’t that more delicious than being kind? (Proverbs 12:15; 13:20; 18:2; 19:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33; James 1:5-8)

His decision met with animosity, rebellion, and ongoing strife. It stirred suspicion, jealousy, and fear. It resulted in a murder, and ultimately drove his opponent Jeroboam to gross idolatry that led a large portion of Israel astray. Bad advice never gets us forward nor promotes the honor of God. (1 Kings 12:16-19,21,25-31)

In what situations are we tempted to seek out advice we want, rather than need? Recognizing weak areas and self-bent go a long way toward correcting our route, and God can use that conviction to redirect us within the boundaries of His word. What are we doing to develop relationships with those who speak truth in love, who give biblical advice even when it’s hard, who sharpen iron with iron, who motivate us to godliness rather than give permission for the flesh? (Proverbs 27:17; Ephesians 4:15; 2 Timothy 4:3)

God all wise, You give permission for good or evil. Purify my every desire. Please keep me in Your path of wisdom, for the sake of Your kingdom and purposes.

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