Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Knowledge of your Elders

Then the king answered them roughly. King Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders, and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!” - 2 Chronicles 10:13-14

Rehoboam, son of Solomon, had begun to reign as King when Solomon had died.  Being young, he had a lot to learn about leading a kingdom.  He also had a lot to learn about people, and how to communicate and be a leader.

Jeroboam and the Israelites had been made to work hard by Solomon.  So when Rehoboam took the throne they came to him and asked that the workload they had been given would be lightened.  Rehoboam, not knowing how to answer, requested they return in three days.  Three Days.

During that time, he consulted with his elders, those older wise men that knew his father.  No doubt these men had gained wisdom from Solomon on how to relate to the people of the kingdom.  They told Rehoboam “If you are kind to these people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be your servants forever.”

Now why Rehoboam didn’t take their advice I will never understand.  But do we ever understand why we decide to go against the advice of our elders?

He went next to the young men that were his friends.  Asking them the same question, their reply was to be mean and threatening, most likely thinking that a show of power would cause submission.  Their advice was to say ““Thus you should speak to the people who have spoken to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter on us’—thus you shall say to them: ‘My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s waist!  And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with [a]scourges!’ ” (2 Chronicles 10:10-11)

Rehoboam, young and unyielding to his elders wisdom, spoke to the Israelites on that third day, giving them the harsh words of his friends.  What happened?  The revolted!  They went to their tents and refused to work for him or to even pay taxes!

When we’re young, toddlers to adults and forward, we must learn how to respect people and communicate. 

A toddler learns that taking away another child’s toy makes that child cry, and possibly gets them punished.  And from that they learn.

Children learn that telling lies breaks friendships and trust that may not be rebuilt.

Teens learn that their words can cut to the core, and that friendships can be permanently broken.

Adults learn that speaking to authorities is not to be taken lightly, and that communications are to be formed and framed – rather than words tossed about lightly.

With all that said – our Elders – no matter what the age – are wiser than we simply by the experiences they’ve had with people and communications.  If there was ever a time when we should consult our elders, it’s when we have relational issues with other people.  Their experiences may provide insight.

The moral of this story, as I see it, is never underestimate the wisdom and knowledge you can gain from your elders.  And since relational situations can arise without a three-day period of forming an answer, it’s best to sit in their company often and grow your wisdom before you’re required to have it.