Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 91 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 Kings 12 today and our focus is on how to lead well – leadership lessons from the lives of the kings of Israel. Well, by the time you are listening to this podcast, we should be 1/4 of the way through the year, and we seem to be going full steam ahead – it feels like Christmas was just last month. It is April, and that means a new Bible memory verse for April – I know you can’t wait to hear it for the first time, but you’ll just have to wait until the end! We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Tasmania, Australia, Lower Saxony, Germany, Tamil Nadu, India, Wales, United Kingdom, Springfield, Illinois and Denver, Colorado. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan
Today we are going to learn some great lessons on leadership from a negative model. Learning by observation is a very important skill to pick up. We can learn how to do things well from good leaders and good examples, and we can learn how to do things poorly from bad leaders and bad examples. Today we have a classic example of a bad example making a terrible blunder. In terms of secular advice, the third most important bit of advice for a king to consider after “never get involved in a land war in Asia, and never go in against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line,” is to never take the advice of your young and inexperienced friends while utterly rejecting the advice of your experienced and wise counselors.
Solomon the wise has died, and unfortunately, he didn’t finish his race well. God had warned the kings of Israel to not take many wives, nor to take wives who worshipped other gods, but Solomon ignored these commands and others, and his last years saw him divided in his allegiance to God. Did he repent and turn to God wholeheartedly before he died? I don’t see any indication of that in Scripture, but I hope he did.
Upon his death, his son Rehoboam became king over Israel, and immediately he faced a crisis. Should he rule as a servant-leader – with kindness and wisdom; or should he rule as an authoritarian despot with power and might? Let’s read 1 Kings 12 and see what path Rehoboam chose.
In case you missed it, here is the tragic decision that sealed Rehoboam’s doom:
6 Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon when he was alive, asking, “How do you advise me to respond to this people?” 7 They replied, “Today if you will be a servant to this people and serve them, and if you respond to them by speaking kind words to them, they will be your servants forever.”8 But he rejected the advice of the elders who had advised him and consulted with the young men who had grown up with him and attended him. 1 Kings 12:6-8
So, the young men tell him to be a brute and tax the people up to their eyeballs and rule as an unquestioned sort of dictator. Terrible advice, and a terrible decision to follow it. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that any leader who leads by taking as much as possible from his people in as brutish a way as possible is a sorry leader. Flee from any leader in christendom, or any dom, that is like this. Let’s focus on the advice of the elders, however, because I find this unusually good and surprising leadership advice. Some of the best leadership advice you’ll find in the Bible, precisely because it lines up with the advice from the greatest leader and teacher who ever lived – Jesus.
The elders give Rehoboam two pieces of leadership wisdom. #1 Be a servant and serve the people. #2 – Speak kind words to your people. Astounding – listen to how similar the Words of Jesus are:
25 Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. 26 It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-27
I could talk on this subject for another hour, but we’ve reached the end of our time, and those Words of Jesus are a good place to end on. One last thing:
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for April James 4:6 “But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
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