06/15/18 Advice from Elders

READING: 1 Kings 12, 2 Chronicles 10

“Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men. . . .”

1 Kings 12:6

Do you remember a time when you wish you had listened to an older person? Or a time when your youthfulness was marked by arrogance? I know I have memories of both—and some of those memories weren’t so long ago. 

Rehoboam, who was Solomon’s son, went to Shechem to be declared the king. Jeroboam and the ten tribes of Israel approached Rehoboam with this suggestion: “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” (1 Kgs. 12:4). Rehoboam sought advice, first from a group of older advisors and then from his contemporaries, before answering Jeroboam. I give him credit for seeking input from others, but his response to their advice was not wise. 

The older, more seasoned advisors encouraged him to treat the people kindly, being willing to serve them and speak kindly to them; “then they will be your servants forever,” the elders said (1 Kgs. 12:7). The younger advisors were hardly so magnanimous, however. Likely filled with youthful enthusiasm unbounded by life’s experiences, they told Rehoboam to increase the burden of the others and say to them, “And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke” (1 Kgs. 12:11). For whatever reason—perhaps they thought Rehoboam must show his force from the beginning and give no hint of weakness—they were opposed to any sense of servant leadership. The Lord sovereignly used Rehoboam’s response to accomplish His plan, but the king’s decision was nevertheless not a wise one. 

As an older person, I recognize my own need to hear from younger leaders. They offer perspective and passion that I often need. On the other hand, I hope they understand the wisdom of listening to those of us who have lived a little more life.  


  • If you are older, be sure to invest in younger leaders. Offer wisdom as needed. 
  • If you are younger, reach out to older believers . . . and learn from them.  

PRAYER: “Father, I want to live for You in such a way that those younger than I will trust my advice.” 

TOMORROW’S READING:  1 Kings 13-14, 2 Chronicles 11-12