Tag Archives: 2 Chronicles 10

The Wisdom of Those Who’ve Gone Before

But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.
2 Chronicles 10:8 (NIV)

Like most young people, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life. As a young man I’d heard God’s calling to be a Messenger and  I made a young man’s naive assumption that this necessitated some kind of full-time vocational ministry. For whatever reason, I decided to go to a handful of my elders who were in pastoral ministry and ask them a question: “If you had the ability to go back and do college all over again, what would you do differently?

I found it fascinating that the answers I received from different people were eerily similar. They told me that they found much of their their Biblical studies in undergraduate and graduate school to be wasted repetition. “When you go to college, study something you love. Follow your passion and your gifts,” they told me. I listened, and majored in Communication with an emphasis in Theatre. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

One of the great life lessons I learned in that experience was that seeking the advice of those who have gone before me is a wise thing to do.

Solomon’s son Rehoboam had enjoyed a charmed life. He was heir to the throne and was afforded all of the privileges that came with the wealth, opulence, and deference that came with being the one who would succeed his successful father. We can assume that he and his frat-boy buddies grew up getting everything they wanted and being denied little or nothing they desired. In his very first political crisis, Rehoboam makes a classic young person’s mistake. Like me, he received the advice of his elders, but he chose to listen to his homies instead.  He foolishly chose the path of power instead of the path of mercy. He chose pride over humility. It cost him the kingdom and ranks as one of the most memorable and epic fails in recorded history.

This morning I’m looking back at my life and feeling gratitude for the grace that was afforded me to seek and heed wise counsel as a young man. As I transition to a new position of leadership in business this year I realize that seeking the wise counsel of those who’ve gone before me on this path is now almost second nature. I’ve learned that the journey goes much smoother when I seek the wisdom of those who’ve already traversed the section of life’s road I currently find myself trekking.

Chapter-a-Day 2 Chronicles 10

But he rejected the counsel of the elders and asked the young men he’d grown up with who were now currying his favor, “What do you think? 2 Chronicles 10:8 (MSG)

For the past two years, I’ve helped our daughters make the transition from living at home to being out on their own. The process of leaving the nest is a fascinating one. Given complete independence and autonomy, it’s interesting to watch the decision making process. Sometimes they listen and heed your wisdom. Sometimes, like Rehoboam, they defiantly choose their own way.

I’ve had to discover new levels of discernment as a father. When do you give unsolicited advice? When do you press for them to make the right decision, knowing that it will be best for them? When do you step back and let them make foolish choices, knowing that they will have to learn from the consequences?

I’ve done my best to bite my tongue when appropriate, and have resisted the urge to offer an “I told you so” when it would feel so satisfying to say it. I can thank my own parents who, I know realize, bit their tongues plenty of times as they watched my own foolish decisions and observed me ignore their advice.

And, even though I’m a parent I think about my never ending relationship with my Heavenly Father. Despite all of the wisdom I’m supposed to have at this point in the journey, how often do I still find myself ignoring the advice of God’s message and going it on my own?

Today, I’m conscious of my heeding the wisdom of God, my eternal Father – even as I continue my role of helping our children navigate their own fledgling paths.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and pauldcocker