Monday, October 30, 2017

Dear Abby

Where do you go to for advice? A newspaper columnist, Oprah, social media, etc.? We all have decisions to make, some trivial, some life altering. Depending on where you go for advice, the counsel you receive may be wise or it may be just plain foolish.  Let’s look at Rehoboam, son of Solomon, to see how he handled his first major decision as a new king (and following in the footsteps of the world’s wisest man!) Solomon had taxed the people heavily to help pay for the building of the temple and his other public works projects.  When he died the people went to his son, Rehoboam, to beg for an easing of the taxes.  This is the question he put to the elders and then to the young men in his court. Long story short, he rejected the advice of the elders to create good will with the people and instead was greedy and egotistical and doubled down on the taxes.  This is what created the division within Israel and led to the civil war that ensued.

1 Kings 12:6-8
Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.
They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”
But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.

Things to think about:
·       Do you tend to ask for advice when faced with a decision?
o   If so, under what circumstances? If not, what holds you back?
o   If you do ask for advice, who do you go to?
§  Does who you go to change based on the context of the decision you are trying to make?
·      I believe God gives us several avenues to help us walk in His ways and make wise decisions:
o   Prayer
o   The Bible
o   Spouse
o   Friends
·      In James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously without finding fault, and it will be given to you
·      Philippians 4:6-7 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
o    Do you find it easy or hard to pray about decisions? Does it vary based on the decision you are trying to make?
o   Are there areas like work or relationships where prayer isn’t a reflexive action for you to take?
·      2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
·      Proverbs 2:6 - For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
o   What are some of your favorite Bible verses on wisdom?
o   How do you use the Bible shape your decision making process?

·      Proverbs 18:22 – He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord
·      Proverbs 19:14 – Houses and wealth are inherited from parents but a prudent wife is from the Lord
o   Our spouses know us better than anyone, both our strengths and our flaws.
o   Oftentimes, they are our opposites.  This is helpful to have someone who knows us well that can complement our blind spots.
o   How does your spouse help you make wise, godly decisions?

·      Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, a brother is born for adversity
·      Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one man another
·      Proverbs 15:22 – Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed
o   Do you have a “go-to” friend when you need someone to listen and offer godly counsel?
o    When was a time when a friend really stepped up and helped you make the right call?

·      Can you think of a decision you have made where going to one or more of these resources may have led to a better outcome?
·      What decision are you trying to make now where one or more of these avenues needs to be pursued?

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