Spiritual Leadership Principle- Advice (Pt. 1)

Spiritual Leadership Principle: To be a successful Christian leader and achieve great things for the kingdom requires having people around us who give us wise and Godly advice.

Person: King Rehoboam

Passage: 1 Kings 12

When King Solomon died his son Rehoam succeeded him as king. King Rehoam,

  • Became king at a young age.
  • Became king following the wealthiest and wisest king ever.
  • Had a group of experienced and wise people around him (Solomon’s counsel).
  • And had an immediate leadership challenge that demanded advice and a response.

The problem came when the people came and asked for the taxes to be lower. They said, “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.” King Rehoam replied, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away.

King Rehoam had a choice. To either lower the taxes and win the favor of the people or to keep the taxes high and create even more problems. King Rehoam was given advice from two different groups of people:

The first group included the older and wiser advisers who had counseled King Solomon. They advised him to “give the people a favorable answer” because they then would “always be your servant.” The second group included the young men who had grown up with King Rehoam. They told him to tell the people, “my father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier.”

Three days later King Rehoam “answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” So the king did not listen to the people.”

The results of his decision lead to the Kingdom being divided and “Israel being in rebellion against the house of David to this day.” 

This story has some essential leadership principles:

Three Advice pitfalls

If you want to receive advice which leads to a greater potential the outcome turns out positive then remember to avoid these advice pitfalls:

No Advice- When it comes to important or big decisions a leader should get advice. However some leaders, because of pride or ego, can believe their own knowledge and talents are enough to make the right decision. Leader’s who fail to get advice from team members, other leaders, or outside sources can negatively impact the organization with their decision.

Popular advice- It might be tempting to get and follow popular advice. It can be popular to reject the advice from older people and to follow the advice of those in your own social group or age group. King Rehoam allowed the younger people who he had grown up with to influence his decision. The outcome of the decisions only benefited them and not the people they should have been serving.

Weak advice- The final pitfall can be getting advice from people who are not new in their faith or who have no experience in the decision area. Those who are new Christians are still learning about God and the Bible. Those who have no experience might not have the knowledge to give wise advice. This does not mean a leader cannot listen to or get advice from those people, it just should not determine their decision.

In part 2 we will discuss:

  • The importance of leader’s getting wise and Godly advice.
  • What a strong inner circle of people looks like.
  • The characteristics and qualities of a wise and Godly person.
  • Some practical steps before you make a leadership decision.

Questions: Have you ever fallen into one of the three advice pitfalls? Why do you think King Rehoam made the decision he did?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Getting advice is so important. I am looking to have a chat with someone who helps run a college ministry that is at 30+ colleges in the north east. They are where Ignite wants to be. The smartest thing I could do is get advice from people who have been there, done that. It’s a humility thing, for sure (something I wouldn’t have done a few years back).

    • Great idea Jason, asking people how have already done what you want to do is so important. Thank you for sharing.

  • When you talk about getting advice I want to make sure I seek the best advice I can get from other Leaders. I know that I can’t make huge Leadership and life altering decisions without the advice from someone that has already lived it and has been in a similar situation before. I am in the middle of such chaos now and am seeking counsel. Thanks for the spiritual aspect of Leadership lessons, they go a long way.

    • Your a wise man Lincoln Parks. Great point about getting advice from someone who “has already lived it and has been in a similar situation before.” Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • This is a good case study. Rehoboam should’ve been more concerned about his purpose than his position. It took a lot of work and resources to build all the things Solomon was purposed to build. Instead of figuring out what God has purposed for him, Rehoboam wanted the people to regard him as just as powerful an authority as his father. In the end, he learned what servant leaders know, that people don’t always choose who gets to be in charge, but they do choose who they will follow.

    • Great points Nathan. I like your statement about being more concerned with his “purpose than is position.” Something we all need to remember at times. Thank you for taking the time to read and share.

  • floyd

    Wise advice in itself. I’ve listened to the wrong advice, but most of the mistakes I’ve made in life have been from seeking no advice at all. It’s usually when we can’t see the forest for the trees that we need the advice of others who are sitting above watching.

    The advice of peers and not following the advice of age and wisdom is a huge point here Dan. Good job.

    • It’s the people “sitting above watching” who can give us the needed advice and guidance. Thank you for reading and adding to the conversation.

  • Bernard Haynes

    I fell victim to popular advice. I made a horrible decision a few years ago because I listened to popular advice from people that didn’t know the real details. Instead of seeking to wise counsel, I got caught up in popular advice that did not take the whole picture in consideration. I rejected some good advice because it was contrary to what I thought was the right thing to do. It cost me a lot of time, money and heartache listening to popular opinion and not sound wise counsel. I learned a valuable lesson from my father several years ago while hanging drywall that I use today. He said “measure twice before you cut.”

    • Bernard,

      Sorry to hear you went through that tough situation, at least you allowed it to teach you the importance of getting wise advice:) I’m sure you won’t make the same mistake again. What wisdom from your father, “measure twice before you cut.” So powerful and true. Thank you for being open and sharing your experience.

  • King Rehoam, made the decision he did because he wanted to get himself out from under the shadow of his father King Solomon. But instead of being wise himself – having lived with the wisest man one would think he would have learned from his father – King Rehoam wanted to break from his father and the wisdom, and made a terrible mistake.

    • Juan,

      Great point, I totally agree. He wanted to leave his own make and he sure did. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • Dan, I really appreciate how you weave deep wisdom and Biblical messages into your posts. Great work! As far as King Rehoam, I get the sense that he wanted to show the people and the elders who was boss. “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.” Prov. 16:18

    • Thank you Chris. Great point and passage, I agree with you. It shows the danger of a leader being title minded and prideful. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • Powerful post Dan. The king was young and seems not to have ‘inherited’ his father’s wisdom, just his kingdom :). i know that parents are not ultimately responsible for the kind of choices their kids make. But God does instruct them to train up their kids in the way they should go.

    I have fallen for all three pitfalls at one time or another :). The ultimate thing is to keep on growing and learning from mistakes. great thoughts and looking forward to the next post in the series.

    • It seems like Solomon could have done a better job with teaching his son the way’s of the Lord and in wisdom. I also have fallen for each of these pitfalls, the best thing we can do is to learn and make a better choice the next time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Brian Wright

    Dan, this was an awesome post. You are right in that sometimes the right decision isn’t the most popular. Good job, my friend!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for stopping by.

  • It’s scary to think where bad advice or no advice can take us, Dan! Thanks for the insight and the reminder to seek out Godly counsel.

    • Yes it is. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  • I’ve seen the popular advice strategy fail again and again. It’s easy to listen to the loud, clanging counsel of the ungodly – even if we do so unwittingly.

    • Same with me. It takes character and wisdom to not follow popular advice. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • This is valuable reading. Popular advice especially is always a tempting one. We often long to be affirmed rather than challenged and can easily gravitate toward trying to hear what our ‘itching ears’ want to hear. I guess it’s why leadership has so much to do with character. If we don’t have the integrity to be accountable to sound counsel, however uncomfortable it might be, we’ll always be vulnerable to poor choices.

    • Yes, the foundation to successful and lasting leadership is character. To follow our beliefs and values. Thank you for adding to the discussion.