Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 3 March 2018
Page 4

A Crown of Glory

Andy Robison

Andy RobisonFirst Kings 11 records a prophecy that the kingdom of Israel—united under Solomon—would be divided under his son. First Kings 12 records how that came to be. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, exercised his free will and made a bad choice, but God used it to accomplish His purpose (cf. v. 15)

Upon the death of Solomon, the people petitioned Rehoboam for relief from the heavy taxation and forced labor imposed upon them (vs. 1-4). Rehoboam wanted three days for consideration (v. 5). One could argue that taking time to think about a matter was a wise choice of this new monarch, but it went downhill from there.

Rehoboam asked the elders of the people what he should do. They wisely replied that he should be a servant to the people, and then the people would serve him willingly (vs. 6-7). It was good advice. Leaders are really to be servants of the people (Mark 10:42-45). Wrongly, Rehoboam rejected their counsel (v. 8).

Instead, he sought out his young peers. They advised that he should be tough on the people—tougher than his father. Metaphorically, he said, “My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s waist” (v. 10). Probably not so metaphorically, he threatened, “I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!” (v. 11). The division then ensued (vs. 12-14).

A prime lesson to gain herein is to generally respect older people. “You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32). Of course, one cannot mindlessly accept all advice of everyone older; discernment is needed. There are some older people who have lived wickedly and who would give bad advice. This is why the Scriptures qualify, “The silverhaired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31).

A great error is to dismiss the whole of the elderly (or anybody older) as out-of-touch, old-fogies who don’t know anything about the present situation. There may be some who have wicked counsel, but being out-of-touch with some things (pop culture, technology, etc.) does not make people automatically unwise.

If life were an education (and it is), then older people have more of the education than do the younger. Advice should be sought and carefully considered from previous generations. An attitude of flippant dismissal of an older generation is never appropriate—especially in the church, among people who should know better.

There is a generation that curses its father, And does not bless its mother. There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men. (Proverbs 30:11-14)

Jesus Advanced

Mark McWhorter

Mark McWhorterLuke 2:52, “And Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” This verse is at the end of the retelling of His trip to Jerusalem when He was 12-years-old. He went with his parents to observe the Passover. After His parents fulfilled their responsibilities, they started traveling back to Nazareth. After a day and a half, they realized that Jesus was not with the caravan. They returned to Jerusalem to look for him. They found him in the Temple sitting with the doctors of the law. He was asking and answering questions.

His parents stated their anxiety toward Him by stating they sought Him “sorrowing.” They did not understand His extreme interest and yearning to know the Father’s will. He was a carpenter’s son, but he wanted to know the Scriptures. Yet, His desire to formally study the Scriptures did not stop him from obeying His parents. In verse 51 we read, “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them…”

That is when our verse above is revealed. In the verse, the word “advanced” is the Greek word derived from the act of pioneers cutting down trees in front of an advancing army. Jesus hewed down all obstacles in the way of his growing mind. The use of this word lets us know that Jesus expended great effort in growing in wisdom and stature. He gave a great deal of energy in making sure He was right with God and with all men. It is important that we are told He was doing this when He was 12-years-old. Parents should expect big things from their children in spiritual matters.

Follow Jesus’ example. Be studious. Give effort in making sure you know God’s will and in getting along with others. And if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

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