But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men, who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’? The young men, who had grown up with him replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions…When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.’ 1 Kings 12:8-11, 20.

ACCORDING to Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary an advice is: “guidance or recommendations in regard to futureaction.” A person, who requires an advice would wish from the person he is seeking it not to make mistakes or run into trouble at the end of the day. His conviction is that proper guidance or recommendation will always help his future actions.

  However, evil people cash upon such situations to bring to the fore what they have in mind. They deceive people, as they give wrong advice and cause their great fall. Therefore, we need to be careful the type of advice we receive from people, whether in the church or in government.

  Solomon was an acclaimed king of Israel. He reigned for 40 years just like Saul and king David his father. But towards the end of his reign, he brought a great burden on his subjects through forced labour and heavy taxation. It is true he built the temple but his people paid dearly for it. The burden was so much it was akin to what they suffered in Egypt during their slavery. And so, when he died, his son Rehoboam took over and the people heaved a sigh of relief. To them, ‘a Daniel has come to judgment.’ But they were mistaken by the subsequent events that followed.

  Curiously, Rehoboam started with consultation first by way of advice from the old men that reigned with his father. He asked them following from what the people told him through Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who returned at that time from Egypt, on how he could lighten their burden. He gave them three days to come for a reply. The advice and guidance the old men gave him was to lighten the burden of his subjects. One would have expected he would have taken this advice. But no, he sought the opinion of the young men that grew up with him.

  It was very unfortunate, the type of advice he received from the young men, who were his age mates. Of course, the advice they gave him cost him his kingdom. For the young men had said: ‘My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions’. To this, the people shouted: ‘to your tents, for we have no portion in David’. Therefore, He had only Judah with Benjamin and Jeroboam the returnee was made king over Israel with 10 other tribes. What a tragedy!

  People of God, it is high time you considered the type of advice you receive from others. Think seriously, is it something that will make or mar you as a person? Remember, the devil is always looking for a loophole and we should not give him a foothold. Please shine your eyes!

Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Delta State

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