The Corruption of Bad Counsel

“King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father, saying, ‘How do you advise me to answer this people?’ They said, ‘If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to 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… ‘What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, “Lighten the yoke that your father put on us”?’ [They] said, ‘You say, “My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs… I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions…”‘

“Jeroboam said in his heart,.. ‘If this people go up to offer sacrifices… at Jerusalem, [their] heart will turn… to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me…’ So [he] took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people,.. ‘Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.’ He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan… He also made temples on high places and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not of the Levites.” 1 Kings 12:6-11,26-29,31

Rehoboam was a talented enough prince whose inherited kingdom proved too intoxicating. The droplets of his father’s sad folly became a flood over his reason. Why heed the older and wiser when he had opportunity to strut his stuff and exert his young power? Why value experience and long-view discipline when you can seize the day with short-sighted zeal? And Jeroboam was misguided in mixed worship from the start. HIs fear of losing loyalists overshadowed divine prescription.

It’s easy to dupe ourselves. We play at ‘seeking wise counsel’ when actually we’ve already made up our minds, and procure those who will tell us what our itching, self-absorbed ears want to hear. Then we blame them for fallout, never owning up to our stubborn unwillingness to do the right thing. Ambition and self-will are expert deluders! (Proverbs 19:20-21; 28:26; 2 Timothy 4:3-4)

“When we walk with the Lord 
in the light of his word, 
what a glory he sheds on our way! 
While we do his good will, 
he abides with us still, 
and with all who will trust and obey.” ~John H. Sammis (1887)

When faced with life’s conundrums, do we tend to search anywhere but God’s principles for advice? What pride compels us to squirm away from hard truth and biblical standards toward what condones our dark desires, to our great detriment? Freedom and peace are ours when we confess that inner rebellion and seek, then follow, the Lord’s wisdom. (Proverbs 3:5-7)

“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.” ~Old Irish, Translated by Mary Byrne (1880-1931)

Lord, keep me valuing what is lofty, true, and right, never succumbing to the foolish and temporal. May I think and behave with divine maturity, according to Your wise and holy counsel. (Psalm 94:4-5; Philippians 3:14-16,19)

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