1 Kings 12:1-20 – Whose Advice You Gonna Follow?

Posted: January 6, 2019 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 12:1-20

The Northern Tribes Revolt

One of the passions that Elena and I have together is marriage mentoring and/or counseling. The reason that it is a passion for us as a couple is that it allows us to do ministry together. We each have our own ministry vocations at our church but these jobs we must do on our own. However, with marriage mentoring/counseling, we get to do it as a couple. The reason that we are so passionate about it is that we want to dispel the cultural myth today that says we can throw away our spouses like we do a used up 2 liter soft drink container. Throw it away and just get another.

Why are we passionate about saving marriages or helping those who are about to get married? We have been down the broken road of failed marriage and it is a painful experience, far more painful than most people realize, far more impactful that culture says. In today’s culture, divorce is commonplace and almost expected. One-half of all first marriages end in divorce. Two-thirds of all second marriages end in divorce. When we are on in the throes of marital troubles, divorce seems the easy answer. It ends the arguments, the bitter fighting, the snide remarks, the sarcasm…or does it? If you think divorce is going to solve all your problems, think again!

Divorce has many economic disadvantages, both on the personal and national level. A study conducted by four family and marriage advocacy organizations suggests that divorce and family fragmentation costs American taxpayers more than $112 billion every year. The legal process of divorce itself can cost thousands of dollars, not to mention additional legal costs to enforce the divorce settlement agreement in some situations. Furthermore, both men and women suffer financially after a divorce, though women incur the most financial strain with an average 30 percent decline in their standard of living, as reported by Pamela J. Smock in her demography, “The Economic Costs of Marital Disruption for Young Women over the Past Two Decades.”

The effects of divorce reach far beyond money. There are many health consequences related to divorce that can affect a fragmented family both mentally and physically. Studies published in the “American Journal of Sociology” and the “Journal of Marriage and the Family” suggest that divorced men in most developed countries have twice the premature mortality rate of married men, and divorced women are also more likely to die at an early age than married women. Additionally, the years following a divorce present a greater risk of depression and other mental health disorders.

The effects of divorce on children depend on the age of the child at the time of the divorce. According to the University of New Hampshire, infants and toddlers seem to experience the fewest effects from a parent’s divorce, though many may experience appetite suppression or moodiness. Children older than 3, however, have greater difficulty adjusting to the separation and might believe that they are somehow responsible for their parents’ divorce. Both elementary-aged children and adolescents might act out with anger or suffer from mental anguish or depression. Some might experience divided loyalty between their divorced parents.

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence syndrome when it comes to getting rid of your spouse is simply not true. That’s why we, Elena and I, desire to see marriages saved. We have been through divorce ourselves. It is ugly. It is growth-stunting both emotionally and spiritually. It takes a person years to recover from a divorce, plain and simple. Regardless of whether you remarry quickly or not, you do not recover from a failed instantly. It takes, psychologist say, five to seven years to emotionally and spiritually recover from divorce – that is if you take the time to recover. If you jump right into another relationship, you may never fully recover from a divorce or it may take twice as long.

So, we don’t want to see people go down the same road that we went down. Further, divorce is simply not God-honoring. It disrupts families and takes their focus off God and onto themselves. Also, if we have a chance, we love to counsel or mentor couples who are engaged and planning to get married. We desire that they “do it God’s way” from the beginning. We always tell couples that we should always put the marriage above each of us as individuals. It’s bigger than both of us. It changes the perspective when you think of it that way.

That was the thing that I thought of this morning as I read through this passage. It is about what advice we should follow in life. It made me think about the culture’s view of divorce and marriage vs. God’s view of it. Which advice are you going to take? The culture’s advice or God’s? Let’s read how this plays out in 1 Kings 12:1-20:

Chapter 12

1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt,[a] for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. 3 The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. 4 “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.”

5 Rehoboam replied, “Give me three days to think this over. Then come back for my answer.” So the people went away.

6 Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”

7 The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”

8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. 9 “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?”

10 The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered. 13 But Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors 14 and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!”

15 So the king paid no attention to the people. This turn of events was the will of the Lord, for it fulfilled the Lord’s message to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.

16 When all Israel realized that the king had refused to listen to them, they responded,

“Down with the dynasty of David!

    We have no interest in the son of Jesse.

Back to your homes, O Israel!

    Look out for your own house, O David!”

So the people of Israel returned home. 17 But Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah.

18 King Rehoboam sent Adoniram,[b] who was in charge of forced labor, to restore order, but the people of Israel stoned him to death. When this news reached King Rehoboam, he quickly jumped into his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. 19 And to this day the northern tribes of Israel have refused to be ruled by a descendant of David.

20 When the people of Israel learned of Jeroboam’s return from Egypt, they called an assembly and made him king over all Israel. So only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the family of David.

In this passage, we see that Rehoboam asked for advice, but he didn’t carefully assess what he was told. If he had, he would have realized that the advice offered by the elders was wiser than that offered by his peers. To evaluate advice, we should ask if it is realistic, workable, and consistent with biblical principles. Determine if the results of following the advice will give a positive solution or direction, make the situation better, if not in the short term, in the long run, and be fair. We should seek counsel from those who have gone through this type of situation before and/or those who are wiser than we are. Advice is only helpful when it is consistent with God’s standards.

That’s why Elena and I are so passionate about marriage mentoring. We’ve taken the wrong advice and paid for it in our own lives. We want to see others take our advice of now knowing God’s Way for marriage and drawing on the experience of not doing it God’s Way. We have the battle scars to prove it. We have the experience to tell people the difference of the culture’s way and now an 11 year relationship based on doing it God’s Way. Which advice are you going to take? Whether it’s marriage, career, a job problem that you are facing, a friendship problem you are facing, a tough decision that you have to make? Whatever it is.

Whose advise are you going to take? Someone who gives you advice that is consistent with God’s Word or are you going to follow what the culture says for you to do? What’s it going to be? God’s way or the culture’s way?

Amen and Amen. en

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