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The story of Rehoboam in I Kings 12 seems increasingly relevant to independent Baptists in the 21 st Century.Rehoboam, of course, was the son of Solomon and the one to whom the Proverbs had been written. He was given excellent advice and excellent training. When he became king, the citizens of Israel came and made an appeal to him. They explained that the tax burden placed upon them by Solomon in order to build the Temple and the king’s palace had been exceedingly heavy. They asked for some relief. Rehoboam told them to come back in three days and went to see his advisors. There were two sets of advisors: “the old men that stood before Solomon . . .” and “the young men that were grown up with him.” Unsurprisingly, the two sets of advisors gave him two different kinds of advice. The old men advised humility whereas the young men urged him to defend his honor. The old men counseled patience with long-term benefits in mind. The young men counseled a display of power with short-term benefits in view. The old men counseled Rehoboam to surrender his rights. The young men counseled him to exercise his rights. Rehoboam followed the counsel of his peers with disastrous consequences.Here are few thoughts in regards to this portion of Scripture which I hope will be pertinent to our service for the Lord Jesus today. It is clear from the story that Rehoboam had already identified with the “young crowd” and separated himself in his mind from the old crowd. He said to the old counselors in v. 6, “How do ye advise that Imay answer this people? (emphasis mine)” He said to the young counselors, “What counsel give ye that we may answer this people?”

  • Of course, we should identify with truth more than with age; with that which is right more than with that which we are comfortable.

  • There is a reason most counselors are old. It takes time to live life and learn lessons from the Lord.

  • The people that we “grow up with” make wonderful friends and helpful co-laborers. They seldom make great counselors.

  • Rehoboam had a problem with his attitude, not just with his actions and his advisors. The Bible tells us in v. 13 that Rehoboam “answered the people roughly . . .” His was not a reasoned approach. He did not reluctantly explain that he could not, at this time, reduce taxes. No, he was feeling his oats, strutting his stuff and demonstrating his power. How often do we observe a chip on the shoulder; a defiant or rebellious spirit in those who challenge Biblical positions that have been long held. Seldom do we see a meek, humble, sincere seeker of truth who works diligently to obey the admonition: “Rebuke not an elder.”

me when I was a young, new pastor. I can hear his voice today as he would impart to me words of wisdom.May God help us to love the truth, appreciate the counsel of the “old men” and “continue . . . in the things that[we have] learned.” (II Timothy 3:14)


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