Monday, June 6, 2011

Surrounding yourself with the Right kind of voices

1 Kings 11:26  There was also Jeroboam, who was the son of Nebat and an EphrathiteZeredah. His mother Zeruah was a widow. He was one of Solomon's officers, but he rebelled against the king. from
1 Kings 11:42-43  The length of Solomon's reign in Jerusalem over all Israel was 40 years.  (43)  Solomon lay down in death with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. His son Rehoboam succeeded him as king.
1 Kings 12:1-14  Rehoboam went to Shechem because all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king.  (2)  Jeroboam (Nebat's son) was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon. When he heard about Rehoboam, he returned from Egypt.  (3)  Israel sent for Jeroboam and invited him back. Jeroboam and the entire assembly of Israel went to speak to Rehoboam. They said,  (4)  "Your father made us carry a heavy burden. Reduce the hard work and lighten the heavy burden he put on us, and we will serve you."  (5)  He said to them, "Leave and come back the day after tomorrow." So the people left.  (6)  King Rehoboam sought advice from the older leaders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive. He asked, "What do you advise? How should I respond to these people?"  (7)  They told him, "If you will serve these people today, humble yourself, and speak gently, then they will always be your servants."  (8)  But he ignored the advice the older leaders gave him. He sought advice from the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.  (9)  He asked them, "What is your advice? How should we respond to these people who are asking me to lighten the burden my father put on them?"  (10)  The young men who had grown up with him answered, "This is what you should tell them: 'My little finger is heavier than my father's whole body.  (11)  If my father put a heavy burden on you, I will add to it. If my father punished you with whips, I will punish you with scorpions.'"  (12)  So Jeroboam and all the people came back to Rehoboam two days later, as the king had instructed them.  (13)  The king answered the people harshly. He ignored the advice the older leaders gave him.  (14)  He spoke to them as the young men advised. He said, "If my father made your burden heavy, I will add to it. If my father punished you with whips, I will punish you with scorpions."
1 Kings 12:20  When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent men to invite him to the assembly. They made him king of all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to David's dynasty.

Read the passages above to get the summary of what I am about to speak.

As leaders and as people of God , we have to be careful with who we surround ourselves with. There are many voices in this world. The voice of God and righteousness. The voice of darkness and deceit and the personal voice within. All play a role in our lives and all are consistent in nature.

King Solomon had rebelled against his God and started to worship false images . Although it is believed that he repented before His death. ( I.E. the book of Ecclesiastes); his arrogance and sin was more well known. After his death, his son Rehoboam became the next succeeded King over all of Israel.  Sometimes greatness is built within you and sometimes it is thrust upon you. For Rehoboam, greatness was thrust upon him, and he failed to rise to it's expectation.

King Solomon had a rebellious servant name Jeroboam. This servant would become a thorn in the side of King Rehoboam in the future. Because of Solomon's sin and unrepentive heart; the Lord had told him that the nation of Israel would split. The choices that Solomon's son would make in the future would fulfill this prophecy.

1Ki 11:10  God had given him commands about this. He told him not to follow other gods. But Solomon did not obey God's command.
1Ki 11:11  The LORD told Solomon, "Because this is your attitude and you have no respect for my promises or my laws that I commanded you to keep, I will certainly tear the kingdom away from you. I will give it to one of your servants.
1Ki 11:12  But I will not do it in your lifetime because of your father David. I will tear it away from the hands of your son.
1Ki 11:13  However, I will not tear the whole kingdom away from you. I will give your son one tribe for my servant David's sake and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I chose."

Sometimes God tells us the future or what could happen if repentance is not met. He compassionately tried with Solomon but Solomon refused to listen. The sins of the one can affect the lives of  the many.  Our sin does not  just affect us but all those around us. Solomon set off a chain of events which would become disastrous for his nation.

King Rehoboam had a decision to make. Jeroboam came out of hiding to ask for compassion and the lifting of a heavy burden that Solomon placed upon him and his people.  Rehoboam asked the elders of the day what he should do. They gave sound advice that would have saved the kingdom, but Rehoboam refused to listen. He asked his friends and peers what he should do. The arrogant answer from the friends would cost Rehoboam the nation. Even though the prophecy was being fulfilled do you think Rehoboam still had a choice to do the  right thing?  I believe so or Jeroboam would have never came to the king for leniency; he would have just taken over the nation. God, in his infinite wisdom, was giving the seed of David one last time to make things right. Unfortunately, Rehoboam listened to the ignorant , prideful, and rebellious friends that surrounded him. Rebellion surrounds itself with Rebellion. The nation of Israel was split. 10 tribes followed Jeroboam and 2 tribes followed Rehoboam.

As leaders we are faced with decisions every day. As people of God we are faced with many different kinds of decisions. Ones that can alter our whole lives and the lives of those around us. Like Rehoboam, we are sometimes faced with several different choices which come from the advice from others. How we take in the advice and respond could change our very lives. Rehoboam listened to his friends who he grew up with. These were his  buddies and the ones that made him feel good to be around. They never questioned his motives or challenged his belief systems. They were, in fact , just like him.  They did not have the life experience or the wisdom to give solid advice for a situation as important as this. They simply told Rehoboam what he wanted to hear. Rehoboam knew about Jeroboam and his fight with his father. Do think maybe Rehoboam already had it planned in his mind what he wanted to do? I think so, and he went to the very people who would tell him how right he was. ( His childhood friends).Pride hangs around Pride.

As Leaders and people of God, it is a fatal mistake when you surround yourself with " YES MEN." or people who always agree with you. Everyone wants to feel that they are right about a situation. Nobody likes being wrong. Nobody, including me.  However, it is a part of life. " Yes men or women"  are not good to have as your best form of wise counseling. They will often tell you what you want to hear because they don't want to rock the boat or because they are in the same rebellious state that you are in. It is better to surround yourself with men and women of God who will listen to the Holy Spirit and not their emotions. Having a wise counsel is important for any believer and leader in the Body of Christ. It keeps you grounded and accountable. Now accountability is only as good as what you are willing to release. Having a wise counsel keeps you from making important decisions by yourself. Guess what? We need each other. We need the sound advice from those you are wise and have the life experience to speak into our lives. I tried to build my leadership team to be more than " YES MEN" This is hard to do at times and the maturity of the leaders makes a difference. Unfortunately , I was not always successful. Fortunately, I had and still have older and more wiser people that I try to surround myself with. In fact, I hope to meet with one this week. I am not too prideful to think that I am always right about everything. That is why I believe strongly in wise counsel and listening to it!  For me it is not about being right or wrong ; it is about following the Lord with my whole heart. I want to be in His perfect will at all times. I don't want to miss Him and His plan for my life. Rehoboam's youth, pride, ignorance, rebellious heart and unwillingness to seek wise counsel caused him to lose his whole kingdom. As leaders, your decisions are important. Major decisions should always be brought under the authority of wise counsel. It protects you, God's kingdom, and the people of God. As the people of God, having wise counsel for major decisions could protect you from stepping into things you should  not be stepping into.

What are some things you should remember in regards to surrounding yourself with the right kind of voices?

1. Take out the pride. Pride stops many from getting the counsel he or she needs. Pride can be the carrier of rebellion. When we allow pride to sink in; rebellion becomes a prodimante spirit.
2. Don't allow " Yes men" to be on your main leadership team.
3. Pray, seek, and find elders in the faith who will help direct you.
4. Listen and pray over the advice you receive. ( You don't always have to listen to the advice given but if the counsel you are surrounding yourself with is listening to the Lord. Then the counsel they give should already be felt in your spirit to do. )
5.Stay humble and don't make it about being right or wrong. ( It is not about being right or wrong. It is about passionately following the Lord and doing what He desires to do. )
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