Listen to the Older Fellers

Like many Christians, I am in the middle of a Bible reading plan. While studying the 12th chapter of 1st Kings, I noticed where Rehoboam is asked by Jeroboam and others to make their service lighter. In return, Jeroboam and the others promised to serve Rehoboam. “Depart for three days and come again,” King Rehoboam responded.

It was during this time that the king consulted with older men, particularly those that stood before his father, Solomon. When he asked them how to answer Jeroboam, they gave him this response:
“‘And they spake unto him, saying, ‘If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever’” (1 Kings 12:7)

Even so, the next verse tells us that Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men, and consulted with the young men that he grew up and essentially hung out with. They gave him the exact opposite advice. In fact, they urged King Rehoboam to make life even worse for Jeroboam et al.

If you read further into the chapter, you will see that Rehoboam pays a heavy price for this decision. Israel separates as a kingdom, with Rehoboam reigning over Judah and Benjamin. Jeroboam is made the king of Israel, but I digress.

I had just finished reading this chapter when I attended a church service. The sermon involved a similar concern, that being Rehoboam forsaking the advice of older men. I don’t know about you, but I generally view this as the Holy Spirit speaking to me, telling me to pass on this information.

You see, men are not experts. No matter how big and bad we think we are, we need advice. One way to get that advice is by going to the older, wiser men at church. Why should you care what they have to say? Older, wiser men were not always old. Meanwhile, they are wiser today because they’ve learned from situations in the past. The same can be said for the older men of Rehoboam’s day. They were most likely old enough to know what Solomon went through before and during his time as king. Even so, Rehoboam went another route. Rehoboam went his way. It’s pretty dumb when you consider that his dad was among the smartest people to ever live. That said, I’m beginning to think that Rehoboam sought out the advice he wanted to hear, which may bring into question why he was friends with those younger men in the first place.

Whether it is marriage, work, or worship, there are men at your church that can share stories and tips on life. If you are not in church, visit one. Visit several, maybe even the New Testament churches that older, wiser co-workers attend. When time allows, speak to them and ask questions. You may not always like what they have to say, but that does not mean they’re wrong. The real question is whether you will listen to the older fellers.

Chris Woodward

Assistant Editor, One Million Dads
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