Thursday, April 22, 2021
Lagos, Nigeria

oday, I want to relate a story of a certain king by the name Rehoboam, who despised the advice of the elders and it cost him his kingdom. Rehoboam is the son of king Solomon and grandson of king David.

So the title of my sermon for today is "King Rehoboam made a very costly Mistake and lost his kingdom"

Let us pray.

I am preaching on the story of king Rehoboam, who despised the advice of the elders, thereby lost his kingdom.

Today, only two tribes; the descendants of Judah and Benjamin constitute what is now known as the state of Israel. At the beginning, they were twelve, all children of Jacob. Jacob's other name is Israel. The other ten are usually referred to as the 'lost ten tribes of Israel" We are not focusing on that today.

Their first king was Saul, son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin (1 Samuel 9:2). Benjamin, other than being the youngest of Jacob's boys, was also the smallest of the twelve tribes.

King Saul disobeyed God and he lost his dynasty to a man after God's own heart. (1 Samuel 13: 13-14). This fellow referred to as "Man after God' own heart" is the rugged Shepherd boy by the name David.

God was very much impressed with David and his name became a positive reference point for all the other kings who reigned after him.

Solomon, son of David through Beersheba reigned after David. He built the temple, which there has been none other like it. He also built a magnificent palace. The king tasked his people to the brim to do all these. His son Rehoboam reigned after him. It is the reign of Rehoboam I want us to look into today.

With all the heavy task, which king Solomon, his father subjected his subjects to, the whole assembly of Israel sought audience with the new king, Rehoboam,.

Let us read the story in 1Kings. 12.

They asked him, 4 "Your father was a hard master, "Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects."

5 Rehoboam replied, "Give me three days to think this over. Then come back for my answer." So the people went away (1Kings 12: 4-5)

6 Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. "What is your advice?" he asked. "How should I answer these people?"

7 The older counselors replied, "If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects."

8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. 9 "What is your advice?" he asked them. "How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?"

10 The young men replied, "This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: 'My little finger is thicker than my father's waist! 11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I'm going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!'"

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam's decision, just as the king had ordered. 13 But Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors 14 and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, "My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I'm going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!"

16 When all Israel realized that the king had refused to listen to them, they responded,

"Down with the dynasty of David!
We have no interest in the son of Jesse.
Back to your homes, O Israel!
Look out for your own house, O David!"

So the people of Israel returned home. 17 But Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah. Remember that Rehoboam is from the tribe of Judah and this is true to a Yoruba adage which literally translates "However bad, there will still be few fellows who will have some sympathy for someone. Same with the words of king Solomon as recorded in Proverbs 17:17 "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" So, his own tribe allowed him to reign over them while he lost the other 10 tribes to his opponent, Jeroboam.

So his own tribe allowed him to reign over them while king Rehoboam lost the other 10 tribes to his opponent, Jeroboam.

We have just seen how bad counsel cost the young king, Rehoboam, to have his throne reduced to only two kingdoms; Judah and Benjamin from the twelve which enthroned him.

We had no record whether or not Rehoboam himself personally inquired from God how to respond to the populace who came to ask him to enquire how he wanted to run his government. That could be his first mistake if he did not.

The second step was in the right direction. He sought the counsel of the elders and much better; those who counseled his father Solomon. But the greatest blunder was to have despised their counsel but upheld the counsel of the young fellows. A Yoruba adage translates "The head of a child should not wobble where there are elders"

This is a good lesson for all people who God has placed in high position. A Yoruba adage says "Alagemo ti bi omo re tan aimoojo ku s'owo re literally interpreted as "The Gecko has trained its child, to perform is the child's responsibility" i.e. God had allowed them to reach the exalted position, the responsibility becomes theirs to make their position; whichever and whatever they want to make of it.

For all people who God has placed in high position, God has done his own job, it is left for them to decide what to do with the opportunity, which He has given them.

How great it will have been if all people in high places will desire just one thing, which king Solomon desired when God asked him to make a request of whatever he wants. Solomon told God "9 Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong---" (1Kings 3:9).

For any leader, who wants to enjoy his seat, who wants peace during his tenure, who wants to be fair to all people, fair to every race and tribe, fair to every religion, who wants his name to be written in gold, first of all, he must be very prayerful, he must be in constant touch with God directly and not through a mediator all the time. Of course a mediator has his place but his conviction of what God tells him is most important.

King Rehoboam did the right thing by seeking the counsel of the old people, particularly, those who not only were old but served as advisers to his father, who have sufficient knowledge of what had been on the ground and how the government was run. Fortunately, they gave him wise counsel but he despised it and he lost the larger part of his kingdom.

Unfortunately some governments will not look into the archive and study what was done before they took power and why they did them. If they do not, they are bound to run into dangerous mistakes. Some governments have decided to upturn what has been on the ground for reasons best known to them or reasons best known to the people who pushed them. Such a government will also run into chaos.

A leader will never be short of advisers. There will be hundreds and thousands of them, so, he must constantly be in touch with God to be given a spirit of discernment so that he can distinguish the motives behind each counsel he receives. If king Rehoboam had asked God for the motive behind the counsel of his peers, God will have revealed it to him and he would have rejected their counsel and his kingdom will have been intact.

A leader who fears God and wants to please God does not have to go by the loudest or the more popular voice or the most vocal i.e the most forceful about an issue. Governor Pilate knew in his heart that Jesus did not commit any sin, condemnable of death, but he listened to the loud, forceful overwhelming voice "Crucify him, crucify him" and he signed Jesus's death warrant, which he eventually regretted.

Only a few people knew the reason for the conspiracy to kill Jesus. They were the least expected in the society; they were the High Priests and the people knowledgeable in the law of their religion called "The Pharisees" They did it because Jesus had stolen the show from them, he had become more popular. But the masses followed them without knowing the reason behind the rebellion and they all shouted to Pilate "Crucify him crucify him"

The people who insinuate the loudest, more forceful or vocal and more popular voice might be having a hidden agenda. They may even have and agenda to push the current leader to do things that will hurt him, both then and in future. Such advisers may even want to use the leader to gain popularity among the citizens for their future plans including to put them in government in future and the leader while dancing to their tune, would have offended a number of people and God too. The Bible warns about mocking the poor. It is a reproach to his maker (Proverbs 17:5).

Let me conclude this sermon with a story of someone who wanted to be rich at all cost, so he approached a money making priest. The priest instructed him to go into a certain thick forest wherein there are two types of small pots 'ado' One type will be very noisy, very zealous, appealing to the eyes, drawing attention to themselves, shouting "plug me, plug me, plug me" while the other type will be very quiet. The money making Priest instructed him to pick the one, which is all quiet.

Getting to the forest, the noise of the small pots (Ado) shouting "plug me, plug me, plug me" overwhelmed him. He was carried away by the zealousness of the noisy small Pots (ado). The money making Priest had instructed him that after he reached a certain location, he should break the pot after which loads of money will ooze out, so much that he will require many people to help him carry it home. But that is if he had plugged one of the quiet pots. The man went for one of the noisy pots; a decision, which represents the character of many of us. He broke the pot after he reached the spot where he was instructed to do so. Then wild animals and many other frightening objects oozed out and consumed the man. This is the result of disobedience and result of taking advice from people who brings it with great zealousness, forceful and assuring words, behaving as next to God.

Let us pray