There is a way that appears to be right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.—Proverbs 14:12
Every now and then, you hear news reports about people who have been killed in head-on crashes because they drive into oncoming traffic. Sometimes people are impaired. Other times, they don’t realize they’ve gone the wrong way until it’s too late. Unfortunately, the world is filled with people who don’t realize they’ve gone the wrong way until it’s too late.
Every day people make deadly choices. Sometimes these choices appear well-thought out. People labor about them and find ways to justify them. Sometimes decisions result when people act rashly out of pride or frustration. But every single time, these decisions prove to be disastrous because they have a foundation in something other than God’s wisdom.
King Solomon—considered the wisest man who ever lived despite succumbing to idols and the women who worshiped them—wrote many of the Proverbs. Yet his wisdom fell on deaf ears when it came to his son and successor, Rehoboam. Instead of listening to wise counsel that could have kept his kingdom intact, Rehoboam chose to follow the advice of his young, foolish friends. (See 2 Chronicles 10.) His choice resulted in the death of his kingdom, which became divided and would eventually fall.
Yes, Rehoboam had cause to question his father’s choices because he had seen his father’s failures firsthand. But Rehoboam’s decision wasn’t based on caution—anything but. It was based on rebellion and pride.
The young men who had grown up with him replied, “The people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”
Three days later, Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” The king answered them harshly. Rejecting the advice of the elders, he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” —2 Chronicles 10:10-14
Rehoboam ended up fleeing for his life as Israel stood against him. His choice could have resulted in physical death. Bad choices sometimes do. Sometimes they result in other deaths—of a career path, financial well-being, relationships, or the collapse of our mental or physical health. As in the case of Rehoboam, these choices can become a curse passed on to subsequent generations. Unlike Rehoboam, few of us make choices that affect millions of lives. But like Rehoboam, none of us lives in a bubble. Our choices have ripple effects throughout our spheres of influence and throughout the generations.
Do you need wisdom about a decision you’re facing? I know an endless source of it.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.—James 1:5
Choose wisely. Choose God. Choose life.