1 Kings 12:7-8 “And they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him.”
There is a common trend witnessed today, one seen when talking with folks who have come out of homelessness or deep substance abuse. The coping mechanisms required to find some level of meaning in an otherwise hopeless situation is a pattern all too familiar. Even though a person may wonder through the streets subsisting on survival tactics of finding shelter, safety, and food while ingesting or injecting substances into their system, it is the familiarity and comfort of knowing how to survive through a continuous disaster that draws them back.
I wondered for years why anyone would be drawn back into a pattern of such neglect and hopelessness, then I realized how a mindset of failure once adopted is one easily accepted again. When a man or woman is introduced to the hope that is in Christ Jesus, the first thought of a beggar is “What can Jesus do for me?” If the gospel message is only about God’s love then people perceive God as just another handout. It is imperative that we share the whole gospel, and that we share it in such a way that gives people a right understanding of God.
Once someone understands why they need Jesus as Lord of their life, (not just to receive a magic genie that grants them their every wish) they will recognize their sin and the inevitable consequence that follows those who reject God’s grace. The transformation in a life who trusts and believes in Christ follows with true life, one the world does not know.
There is trouble that follows some people as they struggle in accepting that God has a purpose for their life, it’s hard to see how God will lift them up from the mire and set their feet on solid ground.
When moving from a position of trusting in themselves to a position of trusting in Christ, there requires death.
Every person who has ever lived has to face death. The Lord has provided everyone a choice of life or death, but from a spiritual understanding it can be quite confusing. Anyone can grow wise to the world, but to dwell in the wisdom of God this requires salvation.
In the days of King Solomon, the kingdom of Israel had enjoyed prosperity like no other time in history. It was said that there was so much wealth that it was as common as stones…1 Kings 10:27 “The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills.”
When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam took over the throne.
The days of Rehoboam
All Rehoboam had to do was continue the practices of his father. If he had gained any wisdom from Solomon, now was the time to put it to good use. Instead, Rehoboam decided to disregard the wisdom of the elders and listened to his buddies instead.
1 Kings 12:7 “And they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”
What he did was increase the taxes on the people and created hardship. Undoubtedly his pride got in the way and a sense that he could do better than his father created rebellion among the ranks that continued for generations. Once the kingdom was split, it was weakened and then became vulnerable to attack.
Rehoboam ruined the prosperity and success that Solomon had built by quickly forgetting what led to that success.
Like Rehoboam, how could we ruin the opportunities God has given us?
Start by neglecting wisdom.
If someone has gone before you and had success, consider what brought that success. It’s one thing to attempt to refine or slightly improve something but if there has been tremendous success, sticking with the original plan is typically the best policy. Jeremiah 6:16 “This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask for the ancient paths: ‘Where is the good way?’ Then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it!’ There is a common tendency when someone first comes out of college and enters the workforce, they think they have a new solution for making everything better. Whether it’s an idea for an invention or a way to improve outcomes, recent students assume no one has ever thought about the ideas they have and they are going to patent the idea while revolutionizing the field. Some of it is naivety and some of it is simply foolishness but in time they realize that there is a reason experience is worth considering before thinking you have a new path that has never been trod.
Hold onto your pride.
I can only speak for what I know and pride in health care is a set up for failure. Act like you are above reproach and you soon make a mistake that erases all doubt. The sense of taking each situation seriously and watching for trouble is the mark of wisdom, humility, and experience. Proverbs 30:13 “There is a generation—how haughty are their eyes and pretentious are their glances.”
Whatever your role, take anything too lightly and you place yourself or others at risk. I recently met a guy who fell 18 feet from a ladder that wasn’t properly secured. He fractured his back and ruined his career and health for the rest of his life. It doesn’t take much to change the course of your direction.
Don’t listen to good counsel.
For whatever reason he had, Rehoboam chose to listen to his contemporaries than to take sound advice from the learned. The more unfamiliar the environment you find yourself in, the more necessary it is to heed the advice of counsel. If the counsel doesn’t make sense or seems contrary to good judgement, ask someone else who is trustworthy. The question of understanding how to recognize good counsel if you hear it is found by learning to follow God’s lead. Proverbs 14:6 “A mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.” Pray and ask God to give you the wisdom for making the right decision and He might open your eyes to the right person to approach.
Refuse to accept when your wrong.
If you do make a bad decision, it requires humility to accept and reveal to others your mistake. Many hold onto their bad decisions even to their own detriment for fear of diminishing themselves before others. James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” The first step of humbling yourself before God in repentance is allowing His grace to bring the necessary correction for moving forward. The second step is humbling yourself before others, which when done correctly brings respect and makes you approachable. To those who act like they never make mistakes, it paints an impossible image that doesn’t correlate with truth. Believe it or not, the people that refuse to admit guilt become untrustworthy. Anything or anyone who seems unnatural presents a false image and it becomes paramount to look elsewhere for guidance.
The path of wisdom is the path of success.
Wisdom is found with the Lord, it begins and ends with Him and then cascades into a proper evaluation of life.
1 Corinthians 1:20-25 “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Whatever you seek, if it is good, Jesus will be at the foundation of it all. Try it sometime, name a quality that is superior and work your way both backward and forward through it’s progression….everything begins and ends with Christ.
Since Jesus is the Creator of all that is good…why not start with Him first in your endeavors? Learning to die is to place oneself humbly before God in repentance. All wisdom begins with acknowledging God’s position, then common sense becomes wisdom applied. This is why prayer is a foundational position for any good path. Prayer places the strength of your position at the feet of the Savior.
<Honor Him first in your life and you are well on your way to making good decisions.>