But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:…
(I Kings 12:8, KJV)
But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.
Delivered Sunday, March 13, 2005 at Castalia Baptist Church
This past week (March 6, 2005), I read the story of an incarcerated rapper. While in prison, it was projected that his newly released album would sell one million copies in four days!
Jokingly, I shared with someone that I had been in school most of my life, preparing myself to think, read, and write. Yet, I had difficulty selling four of my books in a million days!
The popularity and material wealth of the rappers bespeak the enormous appeal they have, especially with our youth. While all are not guilty, many gangsta rappers have lyrics that defame women; advocate violence; and freely and loudly use vulgarity.
In our text, we run across a young king who is in a dilemma. Who should he listen to is the question before him? His older and seasoned advisers give him advice that the young monarch finds unpalatable.
Consequently, Rehoboam seeks a second opinion. This time instead of seeking sound counsel, the young king opts for puppet peers. who rubber stamp his ideas.
Unfortunately forIsraeland the king, this son of Solomon makes a very unwise decision. He listens to the wrong advisers. He turns to endorsers rather than sages. He prefers flattery to principled advice. He does not appreciate the truth. Sound counsel is unpopular with him.
Therefore, at the beginning his reign, Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, played the fool. He rejected the words of the elders for the approving talk of his young peers As a result, he proceeded down a road of action that eventually split thekingdomofIsrael. He will be rejected by all but two tribes-Judah and Benjamin.
Indeed, we all need to consider the source of ideas, styles, habits, practices, and the like before we accept them. Everything that is appealing is not in our best interest. There are so many people who know how to emotionally charge us. This type of person gets us fired up for action with little or no thought given to what they are saying.
Historically, most often such people have been called demagogues. Especially, in politics they appealed to the baser instincts of people, which included their fears and prejudices.
Examples of political demagogues are readily called to mind. Such people as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini are instantly thought of as diabolical leaders who persuaded their followers to pursue a course of action that led to World War II and the dreadful holocaust.
Even within theUnited Statesthere have been notorious demagogues that have captured so many people’s attention and support. There have been the likes of Ben Tillman ofSouth Carolina, Theodore Bilbo ofMississippi, and George Wallace ofAlabama. Frequently, their rhetoric inspired discrimination, violence, and a mean resistive spirit to the ideal of universal brotherhood.
From the African American vantage point, we can look back and ask, “How could anyone be so weak as to listen to such people? How could anyone be so unprincipled as to find these demogogues’ poisonous messages enticing?”
Well, as we look back there and ask such questions of others we must now ask the same questions of our present age. How is it that gangsta rap has become so popular with so many? How is that lyrics that advocate shooting the police and engaging in sexual perversion are so readily sold in the market place? How is it that criminals are one of the richest growing segments of blackAmerica? How did gangs become so powerful and enticing to so many who are easily recruited to their ranks? How is it that homosexual convicts can start a trend of wearing their pants down to their knees that even straight males imitate? How is it that we would rather heed the negative and irresponsible talk of idol and repetitive callers to radio talk shows than to informed and wholesome expert advice?
I believe we are living in a time when we are listening to the wrong people. Like Rehoboam, we find enticing that which does not help us. Rather than seeking the wisdom of God, so many are going for the foolishness of the world.
Rather than read God’s holy word, so many would prefer to watch the suggestive videos of MTV and BET. Rather than come to Sunday School, so many prefer to play violent video games. Rather than enter into the sanctuary of the Lord, there are those who desire to enter into a chat room with someone that they do not know and make arrangements to get together for immoral reasons.
Satan is slick. The evil one knows how to use new methods to get his same old wicked message to the weak and unsuspecting. Wickedness is prevalent today. Confusion is being peddled in the market place. That which is false and destructive is being constantly paraded and sold to the public.
It is high time we stop and think. Consider who is influencing your life. The person you are hearing, where is he or she today? What is that person’s track record? What has the individual done with his or her life? Who are you hearing and heeding? Where are these voices leading you?
Make no mistake about it. The wages of sin is still death. However, the gift of God is eternal life. Jesus Christ is still the answer to all the world’s problems. Nobody can do for you or with you what Jesus can do. We need to hear and heed Him.