Everyone enjoys asking for help right?. What man does not immediately pull over and ask for directions when lost? Putting together the new entertainment center, obviously we all pour carefully over the instructions. For some people this is true. For many it is not. The reality is we don’t always want to ask for help. Asking for help means admitting we need help, that we aren’t always strong enough, or smart enough.
It’s not always easy to do, but it is often the wise thing to do. Still, asking for advice only works if we ask the right people. Do they know what they’re talking about? Do they have experience? Do they give advice from a Biblical perspective?
In 1 Kings 12 Solomon’s son Rehoboam has just become king and he is faced with his first opportunity to show wisdom. Some men come to him requesting he lighten the hard labor demands and taxes his father had put on them. This is an important opportunity, cause his dad was unquestioningly the wisest man who ever lived. Don’t wanna mess this up. He started off strong too. He sent them away and consulted with some wise men.
1 Kings 12:6-8 (ESV) Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” 7 And they said to him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.”8 But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him.
Rehoboam disregarded the advice of the men who had advised his father. Think about that. These are the men who had the ear of the wisest man in the world. Solomon would listen and take into account their advice, and instead King Rehoboam listened to his friends. That’s not a good move.
How often do we do the same thing? We are quicker take advice from our peers rather than seeking counsel from those further down the path of life than us. It sometimes works out, but sometimes it all falls apart, like it did for Rehoboam. The people turned on him, and he lost control of 5/6 of the Kingdom of Israel. He listened to the wrong people.
Sometimes people give you advice and you shouldn’t listen to them! An example of the is found in 1 Kings 13. A man of God had gone to Bethel to deliver a message from the Lord. He had been instructed not to eat or drink while there. He had already turned down an invitation to dine with the King. Now as he was leaving he is interrupted by an old prophet who also invites him to eat.
1 Kings 13:16-21 (NLT) 16 “No, I cannot,” he replied. “I am not allowed to eat or drink anything here in this place. 17 For the Lord gave me this command: ‘You must not eat or drink anything while you are there, and do not return to Judah by the same way you came.’”
18 But the old prophet answered, “I am a prophet, too, just as you are. And an angel gave me this command from the Lord: ‘Bring him home with you so he can have something to eat and drink.’” But the old man was lying to him. 19 So they went back together, and the man of God ate and drank at the prophet’s home.
20 Then while they were sitting at the table, a command from the Lord came to the old prophet. 21 He cried out to the man of God from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: You have defied the word of the Lord and have disobeyed the command the Lord your God gave you
What the old prophet said sounded good. It seemed like God was speaking, yet it wasn’t God at all. The man of God shouldn’t have listened to the old prophet. He didn’t stop and pray and ask the Lord if this was really true. He listened to a lie and disobeyed the Lord.
When do we listen to the word of others? When it confirms what the Lord is speaking to us. When we are wrestling with a decision and need help. When someone gives you a word that directly contradicts what you feel the Lord speaking to you, don’t just blindly go with it. Pray about it! Confirm it with more than one person.
When Saul first gave his heart to the Lord he travelled to Jerusalem to meet with the Disciples. They were rightly skeptical. Sorry, if a man known for killing Christians came into my church meeting and said, “I’m one of you now.” I would be a little bit cautious too.
Acts 9:26-27 (ESV) And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.
God hadn’t spoken to the apostles concerning Saul. Why did they listen to the word of Barnabas and accept Saul? Barnabas was a trusted brother of good reputation. He had a testimony tried and true. They knew he could be trusted and so they accepted what the told them and embraced Saul.
We must be discerning. We must learn to seek counsel, but most of all we must learn to seek good counsel. Find a hand full of people you trust. People who know more than you do. People who pray. People who know the Word of God. I promise you, we all need good counsel. If you don’t have people in your life to talk to, seek them out. You will be glad you did.