Advice shopping has been described as the practice of asking different people for advice until someone tells you exactly what you want to hear. The Bible shows the wisdom of asking for advice from trusted counselors- “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). However, most people who seek advice already have their mind made up and are simply looking for someone to affirm them. This concept of “advice shopping” is an unwise and ungodly way to receive counsel.
In 2 Chronicles, we see the folly of “advice shopping” from the life of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the son of Solomon and was the next in line to become the king of Israel. After Solomon’s death, Rehoboam went to Shechem so the people could make him king. Another man by the name of Jeroboam had been promised by God that he would rule over a certain portion of Israel. Interested in the next successor to Solomon, Jeroboam and other Israelites came to Jeroboam with a request: “Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee” (v. 4). The people of Israel desired to have relief from the burdens that Solomon had placed upon them during his rule. Therefore, they saw this as an opportunity to appeal to the new king for relief from their heavy yoke. If Rehoboam would take away their heavy yoke, they would give their allegiance to him. Rehoboam asked for three days to seek counsel before giving an answer. This is where he went wrong. Instead of seeking after God’s counsel first, Rehoboam sought after man’s counsel.
The first group that we see Rehoboam consulting were the older, more experienced men that were Solomon’s advisers. They said, “…if thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants forever” (v. 7). These men obviously had seen some of the negative effects of Solomon’s rule and recommended that Rehoboam show kindness to this people. In v. 8, the Bible says, “But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him…” Rehoboam obviously already had his mind made up. Before even hearing the young men’s counsel, he completely rejected the older men’s counsel. By turning to those who he knew would think like he did, he received the counsel that he desired from the young men who recommended that he put a heavier yoke upon the people. Rehoboam chose the path of folly by hearkening to the voice of men. Age was not the issue. Old and young men can give bad counsel. When looking for advice, we must seek counsel from God first. Second, we must surround ourselves with godly counselors who will point us to God.