The Heart of A King: Balance over Progression.

Hello!!! How is everyone doing? Remember that awesome article Smish wrote on The Heart of a King?! If you haven’t read it, you can check it out here. He decided to bless us by writing a sequel to it. I see a series coming up here and Lord knows i’m excited about that. 

Sit back, relax and enjoy this insightful piece.

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Youth is always typified by strength, energy and zeal. But as we all know, there are two sides to a coin, so with youthful strength and ardour comes inexperience. This of course, can be countered by wise counsel and advisers. This is the reason why having/taking advice is always encouraged, both by religious and secular.

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed – (prov 15 v 22)

But the question is, how does one tell good advice from bad?

…a prince must therefore, NEVER lack advice – Niccolo Machiavelli (The Prince)

But the question is, how does one tell good advice from bad?

To pick out my point,  I will turn to my favourite book, The bible.

In 1 Kings 12, we have the story of a young prince called rehoboam. His father (solomom), who was the wealthiest man that ever lived and also a great technocrat had just died and he is to be installed as king. On his coronation (the equivalent of the present day swearing in of a head of state) however, the citizens came with a list of demands. They wanted better economic benefits from his government: lower taxes, increment in minimum wage and in return, they promised to serve him. They didn’t even ask for infrastructure, because the truth is a lot of people don’t care too much about these things as long as their most basic needs are met and their standard of living is okay. However, it is the role of the government to promote infrastructure and its benefits. At the end of the day, this increases the standard of living of the people. The people don’t fully understand that, but you as a politician/ leader should. I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Anyways, Rehoboam asked them to give him some time (three days to be exact) while he consulted his advisers on what he should do about their proposition. First, he spoke to the advisers from the previous government. The bible referred to them as elders. And what makes an elder? EXPERIENCE. They had served under his father, who was a progressive leader and he promoted infrastructral development over the people’s welfare. He achieved a lot, but his subjects were disconcerted and unsatisfied, and a government where the people’s welfare isn’t the number one agenda isn’t much of a government, its similar to tyranny. You begin to get the feeling when the people told rehoboam that “your father put a heavy yoke on us”.

These elders, seeing the effect(s) of ambition and progressiveness on the common man, proposed a radical shift in orientation/ policy. From progressiveness to balance. They wanted him to serve the people and heed their demands. In return, the people will serve him. Service in this context means that the people would be willing to work WITH him, they would make his government easier. In other words, they wanted a share in the economic entity called Israel. This is so vital because, a leader that inspires the support of the people will have a easier time when things are rough. They will stand by him.

Sadly though, just like any other political setting, Rehoboam had his ‘own people’. They were his peers, people he grew up with. They shared youth and experience alike and their counsel was that of further ambition and progression. This is easily noticeable from their response “tell these people that…my little is thicker than my father’s waist”. On a lighter note, we all know that one of the most productive parts of his father (solomon) was his waist area (man had 700 wives and 300 concubines! Damn!).

Anyways, this was a statement of intent. Rehoboam’s peers were basically saying “tell the people that you plan to do more than your father, you’re more ambitious than him and making their workload less can and will not achieve that which you have in mind”. Therefore from their own point of view, if Israel wanted to progress, it has to be off the people’s backs. The funny thing about situations like this is that it’s the masses that bear the brunt of the price of progression. The elite are well padded and protected, economically and politically. Still, rehoboam went with the policy of progression over balance and he answered the people harshly.

Their reply, sums up rehoboam’s government..

When all of israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king: “what share do we have in david, what part in Jesse’s son? To your tents,  O israel! Look after your own house, oh david” – 1 Kings 12:16

They spoke blatantly in economic terms here, “what share do we have in David, what part in Jesse’s son”

They were basically saying that, we have no share in this nation/ entity, Why should we work for the common good? What’s the return if we put our effort in building this country? We’d rather go back home and work for ourselves. If you can’t work with us, we can’t work for you.

And from the first day, the breakdown of Rehoboam’s government started. There is no way a nation can move forward if the people don’t work with the government and vice versa. Both sides will be frustrated. The U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry while giving a talk about Nigeria stated that “there is a feeling of helplessness and frustration when you believe that the system/ government that is supposed to serve you is rigged against you”

That’s what the Israelis were feeling here, and they revolted.

Dear young/aspiring politician, the PEOPLE come FIRST, over whatever plans or progress you plan to make. Settle them first. Pay your dues, make life easy for them and they will help promote your agenda. After all democracy is government Of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE and for the PEOPLE. You’re to serve the PEOPLE, then they will work with you.

First things first, balance over progression please.

God bless you.

 

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