Spiritual Director · August 14, 2017

Devote #80

On Taking Advice

When you have a life decision to make, who do you talk to? Who do you trust to give you advice? And when you ask for someone’s opinion, do you take it at face value or do you make adjustments to it, refine it, modify it to make it your own?

When you’re making a large decision and need to bounce it off somebody, are you looking for people who will tell you what they think you want to hear or are you looking for people who will tell you the truth? We probably could have done just fine without that last question!

Well, here’s why I bring this up. Today I was reading 2 Chronicles 10.

King Solomon has just died and his son, Rehoboam, has taken over the throne. There’s another young man by the name of Jeroboam, who lives in the northern countries, who, with a contingency of people, want to have a conversation with the new king. Here’s what they say,

“Your father Solomon forced us to work very hard. But if you make our work easier, we will serve you and do whatever you ask.” —2 Chronicles 10:4

The new king wanted to think it over so asked for three day. During that time he went to some older, experienced men, who had served as trusted officials under his dad. Their advice,

“If you want them to serve and obey you, then you should be kind and promise to make their work easier.” — 2 Chronicles 10:7

However, Rehoboam, didn’t like that answer. So, he went and asked his childhood friends who he had appointed as his new officials. Their advice,

“Here’s what we think you should say to them: ‘Compared to me, my father was weak. He made you work hard, but I’ll make you work even harder…’” — 2 Chronicles 10:10-11

Can anyone see the disaster about to happen?

Well, you guessed it. Rehoboam liked the sound of that and three days later told it to Jeroboam and all the northerners. The results: ten of the twelve tribes of Israel broke off and away, to form their own kingdom.

Rehoboam was left with the countries of Judah and Benjamin.

Rehoboam did the right thing in asking for three days to think about it. He also did the right thing in asking others for their advice. But he probably should have read some of the things he dad wrote, like these:

“Fools think they know what is best, but a sensible person listens to advice.” —Proverbs 12:15

“Battles are won by listening to advice and making a lot of plans.” —Proverbs 24:6

As a matter of fact, his dad had a lot to say about wisdom and knowledge, but evidently Rehoboam wasn’t paying any attention. This was only the beginning of years of battles.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

When seeking advice, always talk to the people who are going to tell you truth and help you do the right thing, not necessarily the thing you want to do.

Put people in my life who will tell me the truth. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.