The school of “hard knocks”!

Scripture reading for April 7th: 1st Kings 12-16

“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.  I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32

“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” Proverbs 16:31

Old people are often marginalized in today’s world.  This is not something new, for apparently Solomon’s son Rehoboam also discounted the advice of the elders of his day.  When we disregard or disrespect those who have life experience and wisdom, we do so to our own peril!

Rehoboam became king.  His father, Solomon had accumulated great wealth through forced labor and excessive taxation.  The people appealed to Rehoboam to lighten the burden and harsh yoke of his father and they would serve him.  He wisely consulted the elders.  (1st Kings 12:4-7)  They advised him to serve the people and lighten the yoke on them.  But Rehoboam rejected the elder’s good advice.

He consulted the young men he grew up with.  These peers advised him to answer the people with harshness and more taxes.  The new king refused to listen to the people or the elders and instead took the advice of his peers.  This divided the people and fulfilled the Word of the Lord to Jeroboam through the prophet Ahijah.  (1st Kings 12:13-16)

Jeroboam returned from Egypt and was made king over Israel.   Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to David’s house.  Rehoboam mustered an army, but was warned  by a prophetic word from Shemaiah to not fight against his brothers.  This time Rehoboam wisely obeyed  and Israel became a divided kingdom.

God is always ready to speak to us, if we are willing to listen.  We often find that those most easy to receive from are those we agree with.  The younger generation often does not value the advice of the elders.   Identify an “elder”  God has placed in your life who has been a source of wisdom for you.  Thank the Lord for that person.  Call that person and thank them for their godly input into your life.  Ask God to speak to you and guide your path through them so you will not experience the school of “hard knocks”.

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