Posted by: arieliondotcom | June 22, 2013

The Counsel of the Culture (2 Chronicles 10)

The Counsel of the Culture
(2 Chronicles 10)

Solomon as rich and powerful as he was still died. And for all his wisdom he had done great damage to the 12 tribes of Israel that his father David had reunited.

While he was alive Solomon had befriended Jeroboam, a member of one of the tribes that had left David which David had coaxed back. Solomon trained Jeroboam to be a great leader but when a prophet of GOD predicted Jeroboam would take 10 of the 12 tribes away from his son, Solomon tried to kill him. Jeroboam escaped to Egypt where, ironically, he was given refuge from his fellow Israelites.

This tearing of Israel was a judgment from GOD because of Solomon leading the people into idol worship. As we will see later, this idol worship is another thing Jeroboam remembered all too well from Solomon and Shishak, Pharaoh of Egypt, who gave him safety.

As part of GOD’s plan, when the people of the 10 tribes hear that Solomon is dead and his son, Rehoboam, is king in his place Jeroboam leads them to Rehoboam. They ask King Rehoboam to treat them better than Solomon had. Solomon had broken the Law of GOD not only in idol worship to please his foreign wives but in taxing the children of Israel more than he should. He may also have used some of the Israelites as forced labor which was also illegal. Only the foreigners who had tricked the Israelites into keeping them alive could legally be used as forced labor. Now these overtaxed, overworked people were asking King Rehoboam for mercy.

Rehoboam tells them to let him think about it for three days, then get back to him. During that time, he asks the wise men who had advised his father. These people were “old enough to know better”, as the saying goes. They knew what GOD had said. They had the wisdom of experience. They had spent decades in the presence of Solomon, known for his wisdom from GOD. They advise Rehoboam to practice servant leadership. If he is good to his people, his people will be good to him.

Next, Rehoboam goes to his buddies, the same age and lack of experience as himself. He asked them what to do. They say to tell people, “My father was rough on you. I’ll be even rougher!”

Rehoboam goes with the advice of the inexperienced people his own age rather than the wisdom of the older counsellors. This is intentional by GOD and has the effect you’d expect. As the prophet had predicted by GOD Jeroboam led the 10 tribes in rebellion away from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

Although this was used for GOD’s purposes it is a terrible leadership practice and something we can learn from today.

The culture of the world today is a culture known as Radical Pluralism. As we saw in the book of Judges “everyone does what is right in their own eyes.” Personal opinion overruns law and even common sense. It is an age where criticizing evil is considered as wrong as the evil itself. And whether something is evil or not is personal opinion.

“Eye of the beholder” is legitimate in artistic taste but disastrous in government where the vision is corrupted by power. It can end only in anarchy or enslavement.

In the case of Israel and Judah it would result in both. The 10 tribes under Jeroboam go their own way into idolatry. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and later the Levites who will return to Jerusalem to take care of the temple, go their own way, too. But they, too, will later become corrupted by the surrounding culture of idolatry.

Jesus would say many years later that Christians must be “in the world but not of the world.” Believers must influence the world with the Spirit of God but not be part of the world and its corruption.
Christians are by definition counterculture. We cannot follow what is right in our own eyes. We do not follow what is the eye of the beholder. We have the mind of Christ.
The mind of Christ is not to ignore the needy and the corrupt but to help them. We must never, however, become one of them and, like the Prodigal Son, eat the food meant for pigs.

Following the counsel of the culture will lead to destruction, as it led Rehoboam to bad decisions lacking experience and Jeroboam into idolatry. Only the Word and Spirit of Christ and the wisdom of experienced godly counselors can lead us in His way.

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