Daily Readings and Thought for August 17th. “SO THE KING TOOK COUNSEL”
An important lesson from our reading of 1 Kings 12 is how different people “took counsel.” Solomon was dead and the leaders of the people came to his son Rehoboam saying, “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father … and we will serve you.” [v.4] It’s rather like people telling a political party to lighten our tax burden and we will vote for you! Solomon’s burden must have been heavy with all the things he had undertaken to build, not just the Templre and his own house! Ecclesiastes ch. 2 illustrates some of the other things. These all needed financing.
Rehoboam “took counsel with the old men” who had served with his father and they say, “speak good words to them.” [v.7] But Rehoboam then asks the young men who had grown up with him and they gave the opposite advice – so he “abandoned the counsel that the old men gave” [v.8] and responded “according to the counsel of the young men.” [v.8]
This results in a rebellion and the formation of a separate kingdom of the 10 northern tribes who appoint Jeroboam as their king; he had been their spokesman before Rehoboam. Now it is Jeroboam’s turn to seek counsel and he “said in his heart, ‘Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple … at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again … they will kill me and return to Rehoboam’.” [v.26,27] “So the king (Jeroboam) took counsel” [v.28] and as a result he made “two calves of gold” for the people in the north to worship as the “gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” [v.28].
Tomorrow we will read of the condemnation “a man of God” came and made to him because he did this! There was no attempt by any of those seeking counsel to seek it from the Lord. In Jeremiah we read today of how “King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah” for his counsel, but the prophet said, “If I give you counsel, you will not listen to me.” [Ch.38 v.15]
How few seek counsel from God in our days! If they would carefully read his Scriptures that is where they would find counsel, but as Paul wrote to the Romans, quoting from Psalm 36, “there is no fear of God before their eyes” [ch. 3 v.18] Let us make sure the fear, that is, the awe of God is in our minds – of what God must be, so we can say, at the Judgement Seat, we constantly took counsel from his word to guide our lives.