READ: 1 Kings 12-14
THINK: Are you more likely to listen to your parents, your leaders or your friends? Who has more influence in your life-and why? These are important questions to consider, because your responses will in large part determine what you do, what you become, what happens to you and what God can do through you. Wisely evaluate people's advice and influence based on their experience and their regard for God. And don't respond simply out of a desire for acceptance, affirmation or acclaim. Listening to the wrong people for the wrong reasons will lead to spiritual compromise and serious consequences. But listening to godly counsel brings fulfillment and reward.
RESPOND: Why do you think Rehoboam rejected the elders' counsel and followed the advice of the young men he grew up with (12:1-11)? What does this indicate about the connection between advice and experience? What happened to the Hebrew nation after Solomon's death? (See 12:20 note.) Why did God divide the nation? (See 12:24 note.) What portion of the kingdom remained under Rehoboam's rule (12:21), and who became king over the rest of Israel? Why didn't Jeroboam want his people going to Jerusalem, and what did he do to prevent this (12:26-30)? (See 12:28 note.) How did Jeroboam's insecurity cause him to defy God (12:31-33)? (See 12:28 and 12:31 notes.) Why did the older prophet convince the younger to disregard God's original instructions, and what warning does this provide, particularly regarding our response to God's Word? (See 13:21-22 note.) In what ways did Jeroboam do more evil than all who came before him (14:9-11,15-17)? What eventually happened to the nation of Israel as a result of defiance against God? (See 14:15 note.) In what ways did Judah also defy God, and what happened as a result (14:22-26)? (See 14:22-24 note.)? Where had the Israelites learned these detestable behaviors (14:24)?
PRAY: Ask God for discernment to evaluate advice and never accept anything that contradicts God's Word. Pray that God will help you overcome your insecurities so they won't cause you to compromise your relationship with Jesus.
ACT: If you've put more stock in your friends' advice than in a parent's or leader's advice, take time to reevaluate the advice and the situation. While friends may at times give better advice, make sure you're not passing off good advice from your elders just to gain acceptance or popularity with your peers. If you're taking part in anything that's causing unnecessary and ungodly division, turn to God for forgiveness and help to bring healing to the situation.
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