Maybe it’s just my age, but it seems easy to see this as a situation where the more mature advisors offered greater wisdom. Their years of experience taught them that being gracious to someone today earns their loyalty for tomorrow. His young buddies appealed to his pride and ego and recommended an answer almost guaranteed to lead to rebellion.
What are some situations where we might find ourselves led by our pride in a setup for rebellion? I think of times as a parent when I pushed too hard on something that didn’t matter because “it was the principle.” That principle being, “I’m the boss.” While that is true, as a parent we must realize that we don’t want our children to obey only when our eyes are on them out of fear or obligation, but we want their hearts to learn to discern right and wrong, so that they make wise choices when we aren’t around and for many years after our authority over them has evaporated. As a manager, I can also be a victim of my own pride by either allowing someone to manipulate me to their own advantage with flattery or by destroying morale by demanding it’s “my way or the highway” or “suck it up, buttercup.” How much more effective it is to create an environment where employees feel like a team, know that you have their best interests at heart, and desire to give 100% because they care about the mission of your organization!
Make no mistake, Rehoboam was going to choose the foolish counsel. God told Solomon before he died that He would rip eleven of the tribes away from Solomon’s heir. But I can’t help but wonder what might have happened if Rehoboam had consulted God instead of these advisors? What if he had turned the kingdom back toward God, destroyed the false gods his father had built for his wives, and led the nation to repent? It is never too late to turn around as long as the desire to change exists. It reminds me of the song from Casting Crowns, One Step Away. Take a listen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrPJZYywTuA