I recently read an account in the scriptures which got me thinking about following sound advice.
When Rehoboam the son of Solomon was installed King of Israel, the leaders of Israel sought his audience on a matter of utmost importance. Solomon had laid a heavy burden of taxation and labour on the people and they were hoping for a relief now that his son had been installed as king. In 1 Kings 12: 3-4, the leaders told Rehoboam the king, “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 decided to give the matter some thought and told the people to come back after three days for his decision. The king summoned the elders who had been his father’s advisers. This was a good move because these were people who saw first-hand what the impact of decisions made by Solomon had on the people. They told him, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favourable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.” (1 Kings 12:7)
One would have expected King Rehoboam to take such good advice on board but instead, he rejected the advice of the older men. Apparently, they did not tell him what he wanted to hear. Instead, he met with friends who he grew up with and asked for their advice. His friends knew the kind of person he was and told him what he wanted to hear. They advised him to let the people know he would be imposing harsher conditions on them, more than his father did.
Rehoboam’s decision set in motion a civil unrest which he was unable to control. Even when he sent the officer in charge of forced labour to restore order, the people stoned him to death. The king, unable to deal with the uprising, fled to Jerusalem.
Let’s compare another king who did not even know God. When Pharaoh of Egypt had a dream, he summoned his wise men who were unable to interpret the dream. The king’s cupbearer at this point remembered Joseph who was summoned by the King. Joseph not only interpreted the King’s dream, he also gave advice to the King on what should be done. Pharaoh promptly appointed Joseph the Prime Minister of Egypt and gave him the responsibility of executing the advice he gave to the king. Following Joseph’s advice saved the Egyptians from starving to death during the years of famine.
Growing up as Christian, I was careful about the kind of friendships I cultivated. I always preferred people who would challenge me by the quality of their Christian walk as well their general attitude to life. I am always appreciative of the people in my life who tell me the truth about my conduct rather than downplay my faults and taking my side in any conflict situation.
It is important to seek counsel from the right people but more importantly, as Christians, we have been given the Holy Spirit as our Counsellor and Advocate. He not only teaches us everything, He also reminds us of everything we read in the scriptures. (John 14:26)
Are you in the middle of a decision and you are not sure what you need to do? Seek counsel from people you trust and let the Holy Spirit confirm and validate the advice you have been given. This is one sure way of making sure that you get it right.