Today’s passage is 2 Chronicles 10:1-19. Let’s go!
2 Chronicles 10:1-5 (NIV) 1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all the Israelites had gone there to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. 3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4 “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.” 5 Rehoboam answered, “Come back to me in three days.” So the people went away.
On verses 1-5: Solomon’s son Rehoboam succeeds Solomon as king of Israel. Jeroboam son of Nebat leads a nation-wide campaign to ask Rehoboma for less stringent labor requirements on Israelite workers. Rehoboam’s initial response is to ask for time to consider what to do: “Come back to me in three days”. This was a wise first move by Rehoboam. What can we learn from this? As leaders, when people pressure you to make a leadership decision and you have no clear sense as to what to do, don’t succumb to the pressure and give a quick, rushed decision that you haven’t thought through. Give yourself time to think before you decide.
2 Chronicles 10:6-11 (NIV) 6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked. 7 They replied, “If you will be kind to these people and please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.” 8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9 He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?” 10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “Tell the people who have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter’–tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.'”
On verses 6-19: Rehoboam’s second move was wise: he consults the elders who had helped his father Solomon lead a highly successful government. The elders counsel Rehoboam to be kind to the people and to serve them. In fact, the 1 Kings account of the same event describes the elders’ advice to Rehoboam this way: “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favourable answer, they will always be your servants” (1 Kings 12:7). However, Rehoboam scoffs at the elders’ suggestion that he should humble himself and be a servant to others. Instead, Rehoboam favours the advice of his peers, who tell him to respond to the people’s request for mercy with even harsher requirements (v10-14). As a result, Rehoboam loses the confidence of the people (v15-17), and the people (other than those living in Judah) eventually rebel permanently against Rehoboam (v18-19).
What can we learn from this?
When you need to make a new and important decision, get good advice from those have proven success in that area and whose character you respect. As Proverbs 20:18 says, “Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice.” Is there an important decision you need to make in the near future? Have you asked for good advice from those who have proven success in that area and whose character you respect?
A great leader serves his people and meets their needs before expecting the people to serve him and meet his needs. That’s the kind of leadership Jesus taught and modeled. As Jesus said, “Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It’s not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant.” (Luke 22:25-26 (MSG))
If you want to be a great leader and earn the respect of others, serve the needs of the people you lead before expecting anything in return.
Lord Jesus, thank You for showing us what great leaders do: they ask for advice when making important decisions, and they choose to serve others before being served themselves. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!