26 October 2009

Repeating the Mistake of Rehoboam

It occurred to me the other day that when we listen solely to contemporary scholars and theologians, and when we listen exclusively to the demands of the folks around us, we are making the mistake of Rehoboam. You recall how he responded to the demands of the northern tribes and Jeroboam? He rejected the council of the old men who had served under his father and went with the young folks who grew up at court with him. The sad result was that he lost the larger part of his own inheritance. I think we repeat this mistake and lose our inheritance as a Church whenever we fail to attend to our fathers and mothers who lived the faith before us and give heed only to the "latest and greatest" - whose approach has not been shown capable of withstanding the tests of time.


Mike Keith said...

Good insight. It seems to me that not long ago it was seen as common sense to respect the wisdom of one's elders. Now a days it is seen as "quaint."

Perhaps it is like the well known saying: When a teenager moves out of his parent's home for the first time he realizes his parent's were not the idiots he thought they were. Perhaps in time the Church of our day will come to the same conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Why in the world do we bother studying church history several times over if we are going to ignore the lessons of history and those of our "grandparents"?

Former Vicar

Past Elder said...

This is something we caught from the culture, which has indeed undergone a revolution.

Culture was something passed on from the community through its parents and elders of various kinds to its newer and younger members.

Now culture is determined by the young and the community and its various elders needs to catch on and get with it.

My generation turned adolescence into an adult lifestyle.

Jim said...

"[W]hen we listen exclusively to the demands of the folks around us, we are making the mistake of Rehoboam."

But recall that the elders counseled Rehoboam TO listen to the "demands of the folks" around him, i.e., the people demanding a tax cut. Rehoboam's young friends counseled him to ignore the demands of the people.

While the elders' counsel was undoubtedly wise politics -- who doesn't want a tax cut, after all -- I'm not sure that their counsel was any more godly than the counsel of Rehoboam's young friends. The elders counseled Rehoboam to bribe the people to keep them loyal. That's hardly a strong foundation for a claim to everlasting loyalty to the Davidic king.

Anonymous said...

The thing that always struck me about this passage is that leadership begins in service.

"Then they spoke to him, saying, "If you will be a servant to this people today, and will serve them and grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever." "But I am among you as the one who serves."