Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

A Biblical Conundrum (A confusing and difficult problem or question)
Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, and he said, “How do you advise me to answer these people?” 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. (1 Kings 12:6-8 NKJV)
He (the old prophet) said to him, “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’?” (He was lying to him.) (1 Kings 13:18 NKJV)
Good Advice
We usually look to older men for good advice.  The advice of younger men is often self-serving while older men usually have the wisdom that comes with experience and they should be able to give good advice.  While we often get self-serving advice from younger friends and acquaintances, we don’t always get good advice from those who are older.  I realize that I am generalizing when it comes to the advice of the younger and the older but those of us who want to please the Lord need to be careful.  We can all get the advice that we want if we look for it.
Where did Rehoboam go wrong?  Very simply he listened to the advice that he wanted to hear.  His younger friends wanted power and a place of authority in his kingdom.  They wanted to to be “boss.”  The older counselors told Rehoboam to be the servant of the people (1 Kings 12:7) and that is just what the Lord told His disciples to be.  They were to wash each other’s feet.  He said that he who humbles himself will be exalted.  The advice of the older men was seasoned by experience and was good advice but it was not what Rehoboam wanted to hear.
The Man of God
Where did the man of God go wrong when he listened to the advice of the “old prophet?”  Very simply he didn’t obey the instructions that he was given by the Lord.  I am not sure how the Lord spoke to him but the Lord had spoken.  He was doing fine until another “old prophet” who obviously was not crying out against the idolatrous practice of Jeroboam told the man of God that God (in this case an angel) had spoken to him as well.  But he lied.  
I suspect that the man of God was told not to linger at Bethel and not to go back the way he came just to avoid the influence of men like the old prophet and to make sure that he in no way had fellowship with anyone practicing or condoning Jeroboam’s idolatry.  But the point is, the man of God had heard the voice of the Lord and he had his instructions but he listened to an older man older that said he also had a word from the Lord. (I am assuming that the man of God was younger than the old prophet but the passage doesn’t really say that.}  And of course, ultimately the Lord did speak through the old prophet and he had to tell the man of God that he was going to be judged for disobeying the Lord.  
We Need to Use Wisdom when Getting Advice
Now I think that Rehoboam should have known what advice to follow.  He simply wanted advice that suited him.  But how does one avoid the peril of listening to an older man of experience who is called a prophet and who befriends you and gives you advice that is contrary to what you believe the Lord has told you?  If you do what you believe is right, others will say that you are stubborn and unwilling to take advice.  If you do what the “old prophet” says you will be disobedient and will probably suffer for it.  I can tell you from personal experience that it is hard to resist those who say that they are speaking with Godly authority but who are giving advice that is contrary to what the Bible clearly states.  Today we have the “essentials and the “nonessentials”.  We are supposed to stand firm on the essentials but not on the nonessentials.  I have never figured out what part of the Bible, particularly if it is found in a New Testament epistle, is nonessential.  But I personally do know that when older supposedly wiser men give counsel that is contrary to what the Lord has shown you, it is well to stand firm on our convictions.  We can’t change others, we can only preach the truth.  But we should not let others color our understanding of the Bible when the “plain sense makes sense.” 
Bruce Collins
Meditation for the weeks of May 1 and May 8, 2022

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