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“Only the wise can give good advice; fools cannot do so” – Proverbs 15:7

31118_000_034_06At 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.

Jeremiah 11:18-23

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God warned Jeremiah that there were men in his community who threatened to kill him if he didn’t stop prophesying against them.  It wasn’t because Jeremiah was a false prophet.  They knew that he was prophesying in the name of the Lord.  It was because they didn’t want to hear the truth.  And they didn’t want to hear it from one of their own.  Anathoth was Jeremiah’s hometown and just as the people of Nazareth rejected Jesus, the people were rejecting Jeremiah.  They didn’t like what he had to say and they didn’t appreciate it coming from a member of their community.

Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house” (Matthew 13:57).  When the people heard what He had to say, they were filled with wrath, rose up and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff (Luke 4:16-30).  This was the Son of the carpenter, who was He to talk to them like this?  Same thing with Jeremiah.  Who was he to be telling the people these terrible things?

These people are much like some of us today.  We are doing things that are contrary to God’s Word and when God sends someone to point this out to us, we get upset.  We don’t like what they are saying.  It makes us uncomfortable.  It hits too close to home.  We would rather hear what we want to hear instead of what we need to hear.  We don’t want to hear the truth.  It hurts.  It cuts into us like a knife.  Some of us have cherished sins we don’t want to give up.

The men of Anathoth loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).  In order to hold onto their sinful and corrupt desires, they were willing to go as far as killing God’s prophet.  However, God was not about to let them get away with anything.  He was going to punish them.  This teaches us that we are to obey God and leave the consequences to Him.  We are not to allow people to intimidate us into keeping quiet when we have a message to share or work to do for the Lord.  We do what we are called to do and let God take care of the rest.

Jeremiah spoke the truth no matter the cost.  We need to do the same.  When we see someone doing something wrong, we need to say something instead of keeping quiet because we don’t want to ruffle features or upset the person.  And when someone tells us the truth, we ought to swallow our pride and listen.  Remember this person might have been sent by God to straighten us out and if we reject what he or she is telling us, we are really rejecting Him.

Bottom line:  Don’t be afraid to speak the truth.  Don’t be afraid to hear the truth.

220px-Second_Book_of_Samuel_Chapter_10-3_(Bible_Illustrations_by_Sweet_Media)One thing I have learned about King David is that he was kind. He showed kindness to Jonathan’s son and here he wantaed to show kindness to Hanun who had lost his father, the king of Ammon. David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.” He sent by the hand of his servants to comfort the new king concerning his father.

Unfortunately, David’s act of kindness was met with suspicion. Hanun hastened to the princes of the people who inferred that David sent his servants not to comfort the new king but to search the city, spy it out in order to overthrow it. The foolish king believed these men and treated David’s servants abominably. He listened to and followed very bad advice and acted foolishly.

When the Ammonites realized that they had angered David, instead of trying to appease him or make amends by admitting that they had acted foolishly, they hired Aramean foot soldiers and got ready for war. So, things went from bad to worse. Hanun’s father would have been ashamed of his son’s behavior toward the king of Israel who showed him kindness. Hanun should have done the wise and decent thing and admit that he was wrong and try to diffuse the situation–make peace instead of going to war.

Following the wrong advice or not thinking things through can lead to all sorts of problems and in some cases–war.

Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard – Matthew 27:65, 66

Jesus Empty TombWorried that the disciples would steal Jesus’ body and then claim that He had risen from the dead, the chief priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate to request that a guard be posted at the tomb.  Pilate granted them their request and they went away and secured the tomb.

Early Sunday morning when the women went to the tomb, an angel appeared and rolled back the stone from the opening.  The guards who were present were so terrified of him that they became like dead men.  The angel told the women that Jesus was not there.  He said, “…He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” Overjoyed, the women raced away to tell the disciples to good news.

Meanwhile the guards went into the city to break the news to the chief priests.  The chief priests met with the elders to figure out what their next move was going to be.  They decided that the best thing to do in this situation was to bribe the soldiers and encouraged them to lie about what happened.  “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.”  The soldiers took the money and did as they were told.  Many of the Jews believed this lie but many believed that Jesus rose from the dead just as He said He would.

In spite of the schemes of some, on that third day, Jesus conquered death.  He is the resurrection and the life.  He is our risen Lord and Savior.  The empty tomb proves this.



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