Tag: listening with discernment.

Advice of the elders or 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 mother was an Ammonite, one of Solomon’s many wives.  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 had decisions to make and 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 this good advice.

He next consulted his peers, young men he grew up with and who served him.  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, which happened to tickle his own ears.  This divided the people and fulfilled the Word of the Lord to Jeroboam through the prophet Ahijah.  (1st Kings 12:13-16)

In the mean time, Jeroboam returns from Egypt and is made king over Israel.   Only the tribe of Judah and Benjamin remain loyal to David’s house.  Rehoboam musters an army, but is warned  by a prophetic word from Shemaiah to not fight against his brothers.  Rehoboam wisely obeys this time and Israel becomes a divided kingdom.

This passage of Scripture reminds us of the importance of having ears to hear the voice of the Lord.  God is always ready to speak to us, if we are willing to listen.  Our hearts can easily be led astray by sin and selfish ways.  In the abundance of counsel there is safety,  but we must be discerning with whom we listen to.  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 older.  Because of this, they must take a course in the school of “hard knocks”.

Ask the Lord to help you with discerning His voice today.  Identify an “elder”  God has placed in your life who has been a source of wisdom for you.  Thank the Lord for that person today.  Call that person and thank them for their wisdom.  Ask God to speak to you and guide your path through those with His wisdom, not through the school of “hard knocks”.

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