King Solomon was the wisest man in the world, and, because of that, he understood the value of seeking counsel. If God had already gifted him with wisdom, why did he pursue advice from others? It seems like it would have been appropriate for Solomon to say, “My wisdom and understanding comes directly from God. I will make decisions about my next steps based on that wisdom alone.” His son, on the other hand, was not so smart.
We can read about Solomon’s son, King Rehoboam, in I Kings 12 and II Chronicles 10. As Rehoboam transitioned into power, he needed to determine how he was going to rule his people. Initially, he sought the advice of his elders. The older, more-experienced advisers told the king to be kind to the people. If so, the people would remain faithful and would always be the king’s servants.
Then Rehoboam sought the counsel of a different group of advisers. They were younger men. They had grown up with the king. One could argue that since they were so close to Rehoboam, they told the king what he wanted to hear. Their advice was different. They encouraged the king to treat the people harsher. They encouraged the king to make the burden even heavier.
Rehoboam made a poor decision. He followed the direction of the younger, less-experienced advisers. As a result of that decision, the people of Israel rebelled against his leadership. What’s fascinating is it says in this passage that this poor choice was “from God.” Isn’t it interesting? Since Rehoboam distanced himself from the heart of God, God allowed Rehoboam to make a poor decision and face the consequences.
As Christ-followers we have the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in us.
John 14:26 says the Holy Spirit “will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
It’s as if we’re receiving wisdom directly from God. Again, if I was God, I’d say, “The Holy Spirit is sufficient. There’s no need for seeking the advice of others.”
Yet that’s not God’s design. He designed us to teach others. He designed us to be in relationship with others. He designed us to mentor others. He designed us to learn from others. We see examples of this throughout Scripture.
Wisdom comes from God, but it oftentimes comes through the counsel of other people.
The Moses Complex
There’s a dangerous trend I’m seeing in churches today that embraces this theology of leadership. I refer to it as the “Moses Complex.” In these environments, only the senior pastor can receive a vision from God and it only happens through a Mount Sinai-type experience.
In churches that embrace this theology, everyone waits for the pastor to receive a vision, and then all the staff “leaders” are responsible for executing the vision God gives the senior pastor.
The problem with this theology is that it discounts many passages of Scripture that offer contrary perspective on attaining wisdom. It’s based on broken theology and, in practice, it leads to an unhealthy and dysfunctional leadership culture.
Are you seeking advice from others?
Ironically, in the wisdom that God granted Solomon, the wisest man in the world understood the value of receiving advice from others. For example, Solomon offered:
God granted Solomon wisdom, and part of that wisdom from God was that we need to seek wise advice from others. We should do the same.
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