Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. And as soon as Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. And they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.” He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away.Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men , who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” And they said to him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.” But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him . And he said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus shall you speak to this people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us,’ thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs. And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’”
So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king said, “Come to me again the third day.” And the king answered the people harshly, and forsaking the counsel that the old men had given him, he spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men , saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by the Lord that he might fulfill his word, which the Lord spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
1 Kings 12:1-15, ESV
Wisdom need not come from poor choices. God promises those who have a relationship with Him based on His Son’s sacrifice that we need only ask Him and He will generously give wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
James 1:5, ESV
The wisdom God gives, however, may be counterintuitive to the world’s wisdom.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14, ESV
Rehoboam demonstrates a principle that his father, King Solomon, recorded in Proverbs:
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 13:20, ESV
Although God affirms for us that Rehoboam’s actions occurred in this manner so that God’s will would be accomplished, it’s important to understand that God holds people accountable for their choices (a topic I hope to engage in writing soon).
If you want to be wise:
- Demonstrate wisdom in coming to Him based on His Son, Jesus’ sacrificial death
- Ask God for wisdom
- Seek fellowship with other individuals who are similarly wise
Choose my teaching instead of silver.
Choose knowledge rather than fine gold.
Proverbs 8:10, NIrV*
* The New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) is not available on Blue Letter Bible’s website so the text above is linked to the NIV.