Advice. Sometimes we seek it. Sometimes we give it. Sometimes it comes to us unasked for. It's always hard to know which advice to take and which advice to leave and which advice is truly beneficial in the end.
Today's passage explores King Rehoboam's rise to the throne and also his desire to seek advice. When questioned if he could ease the load of his new citizens, Rehoboam's was wise to not answer immediately. Instead he asked for time to carefully consider a decision over the next 3 days. Sometimes we jump in to a situation without carefully considering the options and this isn't always good. Rehoboam first seeks the advice of his father's counsel--a group of people who worked closely with Solomon and were experienced in knowing the ways of the people. They recommended that he give in and ease the load in order to create happy citizens who were willing to serve him. Then not really liking what he heard, he sought the advice of his peers who gave him the advice to come down even harder to show them who was boss....and he did just that. We can weigh out our options and take careful time to make sure we don't make a quick decision but we can still sometimes end up following bad advice.
Although it is sometimes wise to consider all options, I think it also can be detrimental to continually search out advice until you find what you are looking for. With the handy invention of the internet, you can find support for almost any argument you want to make regardless of how crazy or harmful it may be. Even Bible verses can be grossly misinterpreted to support a stance that is contrary to biblical teachings. If you look long enough or ask enough people, you will find people who will give you the advice you are hoping to find.
In the final part of today's reading, we learn about the holy man who is sent on a mission from God to bring a warning. This man had his mission, had his instructions, and was there to follow them. However, he was easily swayed from his instructions by a false prophet who brought him bad advice: to ignore what God had told him and instead follow the words of a man. The holy man made the decision to disobey God's order ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came.' because of the lie of the false prophet. Maybe he was hungry? Maybe he thought he was not supposed to stay with the king but an ordinary citizen was ok? Maybe he thought because the man had met him on a different road than he had arrive on that this was part of a new plan? Who knows. What we do know is that there is always a choice to obey and a choices to disobey and with disobedience comes consequences. The prophet's consequences were swift and he met his end at the hands of a lion just mere hours later.
There's a verse I have up in my classroom at school "Get all the advice and instruction you can so that you will be wise the rest of your life" Proverbs 19:20 and it's a good grade 1 motto since they are learning by leaps and bounds each day but it is also good for us "seasoned" students too as be work at being discerning when we receive all the advice and instruction and we evaluate its validity and truth. May we seek good advice and follow good advice and know what God would want us to do.