Saul was the first king of Israel.
David was the second king.
Then Solomon was the third king.
Each one of these kings reigned for forty years, which means for 120 years they had had only three kings.
Now, we come to Rehoboam, the son of Solomon.
When you read Proverbs which was written, for the most part by King Solomon, you will notice that many times, especially in the opening chapters of the book of Proverbs, Solomon will say, "My son."
I have wondered when Solomon said that if he was talking in particular about his son Rehoboam.
Were these words of wisdom give by Solomon, who was the wisest man who ever lived, for his own son Rehoboam?
We know that in the latter years of Solomon’s life he departed from the wisdom of God and he became a very foolish man.
I wonder if Rehoboam disregarded the words of his father and rather followed the example of his father.
Rehoboam was 41when he began to reign; he reigned for 17 years in Jerusalem.
I. The Counsel He Seeks.
He has come to be king in a time when the people are disaffected.
There is trouble in the kingdom.
There are rumblings of revolution.
He goes over to Shechem, evidently to see if he can't conciliate the people.
The word gets all the way down to Egypt where Jeroboam has fled because of his conflict with King Solomon.
Jeroboam hears about it and comes back into the land.
The people appoint Jeroboam to be their spokesman.
In v. 2-4 Jeroboam lays before the new king Rehoboam the situation and the concern of the people.
In verse 4 he has laid it out quite well.
Look at what he says to Rehoboam, speaking as an official spokesman for the people.
"Your father made our yoke grievous."
They were saying, "Your dad made it hard on us."
He basically says, "If you will make our yoke lighter, if you will lighten up on us some, then we will serve you."
When you study the reign of King Solomon, you will find that this is legitimate.
Solomon built the temple of the Lord and we are told in the fifth chapter that he conscripted the people.
About 30,000 of the people were put into hard labor to build that temple.
It was a very tedious and a very difficult situation.
In addition to that, there was heavy taxation on the people, oppressive taxation.
Here in America, one of the issues that caused the American Revolution was taxation without representation.
Rather than being a shepherd of the people as the kings were intended to be, he became a slave driver of the people.
Basically they are saying, "You just be the kind of king you are supposed to be and give us a break.
Lighten up on us a little bit."
You read about the great leaders in the Scripture and they were servants of the people.
There was Moses, the great leader who led the people of God out of the land of Egypt and led them through the wilderness to the Promised Land.
He was a servant of the people.
Even David, his grandfather, was a shepherd of the people.
He was a servant of the people.
Jesus said one time in Luke 22, The gentiles have leaders who Lord it over you.
He said it's not to be that way among you.
"He who would be the greatest among you, let him be your servant."
Real leadership is servant leadership.
That's their request.
Now look at verse 5. Rehoboam says, "Depart yet for three days, then come again to me, and the people departed."
He is saying, "Give me some time to think this over."
Any leader needs to be very deliberate.
He doesn't need to make snap judgments.
He asked for three days to consider their requests.
We don't have any evidence that he spent those three days in prayer.
No mention of that.
We have no evidence that he sought for the priests to see if they would go to God on his behalf.
Nor do we have any evidence that he sought the prophets of God and ask what the men of God had to say about the matter.
But there is evidence that he sought counsel.
That is a good thing to do.
It is always wise to seek counsel.
Verse 6 says, "And King Rehoboam consulted with the old men that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, 'How do ye advise that I may answer this people?'"
So far, so good.
He has advisors around him.
He goes first of all to the older men, which is not to say necessarily that they will all give good counsel either.
Old men can be fools just as young men.
But he goes and they give him some advice.
That was good counsel.
The Scripture establishes the great principle of getting good, godly counsel.
Rehoboam got good counsel.
But in verse 8 it says, (8)
The indication to me is that Rehoboam has already made up his mind.
He has pretty well decided what he wants to do.
When you have made your mind up what you want to do, chances are you are going to fish around and look around until you find somebody to tell you to do what you really want to do in the first place.
Am I right?
Rehoboam evidently has decided already what he wants to do.
Now, he turns to the young men.
You read about that crew in verse 8. "...consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him."
That's the palace gang he was brought up with.
That was all the young lions of the establishment.
They were part of the elite.
Their daddies were the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Treasury, and Chief of Staff.
These were the sons of the whole palace crowd.
They had been brought up with Rehoboam.
They had been running together.
Now they are going to run the government together.
Verse 9 he says to these young guys, "What counsel give ye that ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter.
And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us, thus shalt thou say unto them.
My little finger shall be thicker than my father's lions."
In other words, you think my dad was tough on you, you just wait until it get hold of you.
Verse 11 says this. "And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke, my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions."
Scorpions was probably a reference to a whip that had metal in it.
Their advice was, SHOW THEM!
Their advise was, listen the only way to run this crowd is bully them.
That's the idea some people have of leadership, just be a bully.
Just run all over people.
These young punks have the mistaken idea that the people existed for them.
They have the idea that somehow the people were to respond to them and do what would please them.
These young guys are basically saying this.
"We need to be respected."
I hear people today saying that they demand to be respected.
You can't demand to be respected.