And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. – 1Kgs. 12:7 KJV
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It was time for the Almighty God to implement His decision to punish the house of David because of the decision of King Solomon to allow his seven hundred wives to lead him to commit the act of idolatry in his old age. He probably was able to resist their efforts to lure him to worship their gods when he was younger but his resistance was broken in old age and he, in the process incurred the anger of the Lord – 1Kgs. 11:2-10. He not only worshipped these gods, but also had buildings dedicated to them. It was for this reason that the Almighty God decided to tear the kingdom from him, but due to considerations for the faithfulness of King David, his father, and the promise the Lord had made to him that there will always be a king amongst his descendants, He decided to leave only the lineage of Judah under his control – Jer. 33:17. In addition, he planned to implement this decision during the reign of his son and not during his own tenure – 1Kgs. 11:11-13.
It should have therefore been expected by people of knowledge, who are aware of this pronouncement of the Lord, that at some stage during the reign of King Rehoboam, who succeeded King Solomon, an event that will bring to pass this judgement of the Lord will occur. They probably would have anticipated it when the simple case of the people approaching the king for a lightening of their burden became an ego issue. King Solomon had needed to build the temple and even though, all that he required may have been provided for by his father before his transition, he probably still placed some financial burden on the people which he did not remove until his departure from the earth. It was natural that this people be relieved of such burdens which was why they presented their request to his son as a pre-condition for them to accept him as their next king – 1Kgs. 12:1-4.
Before responding, King Rehoboam sought the counsel of several groups ranging from his father’s advisers when he was alive to his age mates who were currently serving him in that capacity – 1Kgs. 12:5-11. The counsel of the elders that advised his father is the scripture for today’s devotion. They had advised him to accept to be a servant of the people so the people can serve him throughout his reign. Subsequent portions of the scriptures revealed that he rejected their advise and chose to do otherwise and the people did not hesitate to rebel and declare independence from the lineage of David, thus fulfilling the word of the Lord.
Although this counsel was delivered to King Rehoboam, it remains ever-green and relevant to anyone who intends to have people serve him/her. Most people today who have witnessed rebellion against their reign have blamed everyone but themselves for the act of rebellion. Truth be told, there can never be any reason that will justify the act of rebellion but the fact that it is a wrong act does not mean that some leaders who experience rebellion do not deserve it. The foundation of rebellion sometimes lies in inhuman treatment of the people that are being led. The position of leadership is a privileged position that must be handled with utmost care as conditions easily change in life. One who leads without the spirit of serving should count him/her self lucky if he/she does not experience the act of rebellion during his/her reign. This is not to say that all the victims of rebellion are very bad servant leaders, but just to highlight how more likely such people will be rebelled against.
Jesus Christ himself, in the course of teaching his disciples advised them to serve if they expect to be served – Matt. 20:20-26. Beyond rebellion, there will be several other acts from the led that may make the tenure of a leader very discomforting if he/she does not imbibe the attitude of serving the people he/she expects to serve him/her. Yes! It is true that enemies have risen since you got that appointment into that position but it may not be entirely true that it is all because of envy. Your unwillingness to serve those you expect to serve you may be a contributing factor. Change your attitude to leadership today by serving those people that you expect service from and you may just begin to witness a new dawn during your reign. If you are aspiring to the position of leadership or you are already earmarked to occupy a leadership position, determine to serve the people over whom you will be or have been so appointed, and you can be sure that your reign will witness peace and will be devoid of acts similar to that of rebellion in Jesus name. Amen.