12. So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king had directed, saying, “Come back to me the third day.” 13. Then the king answered them roughly. King Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders, 14. and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!”
Advice is easy to come by today. Everyone is ready to tell you what you should or should not do, or instruct you how to do something. Our challenge is to determine who we should listen to. We should ask ourselves, “Does this advice match God’s Word?” or “Does the giver of this advice have my best interests in mind?”
Rehoboam became the king of Israel at the death if his father Solomon. Shortly after assuming the throne, Rehoboam was approached by Jeroboam, who was a former servant of Solomon. Jeroboam, on behalf of the people, made one request of the new king. His request was to “lighten the burden and rule less harshly than your father did and we will serve you.” Rehoboam asked counsel of two groups of people. The advice of the elders, his father’s servants, was to serve the people and they will serve you. The advice of the younger men, those Rehoboam grew up with, was to make the lives of the people more difficult. He chose the counsel of the younger.
In life, we will hear and be given conflicting advice. As believers, advice from those who are grounded in truth is a gift from God. We should not allow pride or peer pressure to get in the way of sound counsel that God has made available through the wisdom of others. Back to our story. Refusing wise counsel can have devastating results. Jeroboam came back for the king’s answer. Hearing the load and burden would be made worse under the rule of Rehoboam, Jeroboam rebelled and the nation of Israel was divided. Rehoboam remained king over Judah and Jeroboam became leader over the kingdom of Israel. Advice is good, but godly advice is best.