“Only the wise can give good advice; fools cannot do so” – Proverbs 15:7
At some point in our lives we seek advice from others. Sometimes we get good advice and sometimes we get bad. Some people mean well while others don’t. It is up to us to decide which advice to follow.
After King Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became the ruler of Israel. When Jeroboam heard about Solomon’s death, he returned from Egypt where he fled to escape from the former king. Jeroboam was summoned by the leaders of Israel and he and all of Israel went to speak to Rehoboam. They said to him, “your father was a hard master. Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.”
Rehoboam told them to go back in three days for his answer. The people went away and the king went to discuss the matter with the older men who used to counsel his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”
They replied, “If you are good to the people and show them kindness and do your best to please them, they will always be your loyal subjects” (2 Chronicles 10:1-7). Very sound advice. But Rehoboam rejected it. It wasn’t what he wanted to hear. How many of us reject good advice because it doesn’t please us?
Rehoboam went to his friends and asked for their advice. They said to him, “This is what you should tell those complainers: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist—if you think he was hard on you, just wait and see what I’ll be like. Yes, my father was harsh on you, but I’ll be even harsher. My father used whips on you, but I’ll use scorpions” (verses 10, 11). This was very foolish advice. No one in their right mind would follow this. But Rehoboam did.
When the people came to see him three days later he repeated the advice his friends gave him. As a result the people refused to be ruled by a descendant of David. They shouted, “Down with David and his dynasty.”
In Rehoboam’s case, this turn of events was the will of God so that this prophecy would be fulfilled, “But I will not take the entire kingdom from Solomon at this time. For the sake of my servant David, the one whom I chose and who obeyed my commands and laws, I will let Solomon reign for the rest of his life. But I will take the kingdom away from his son and give ten of the tribes to you. His son will have one tribe so that the descendants of David my servant will continue to reign in Jerusalem, the city I have chosen to be the place for my name. And I will place you on the throne of Israel, and you will rule over all that your heart desires” (1 Kings 11:34-37).
But when we make bad decisions based on bad advice we cannot blame the consequences on God or anyone else but ourselves. We are to be wise. We are to seek godly counsel first and then it is up to God if He wants to help us through another person. If Solomon had followed his father David’s advice and not worshipped other gods but remained faithful to God, his son Rehoboam would not have been influenced to make a bad decision which had long lasting effects.
We have to be careful whom we seek advice from. Proverbs 12:26 says, “The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.” Rehoboam’s friends did not give him good advice. He was led astray and God allowed it to happen. Sometimes bad things are allowed to happen to teach us a lesson.