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The Importance of Wisdom In Leadership

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

Written by Jacqueline Ugwu

Leadership is a pretty heavy responsibility. It is therefore not something to be grasped the way most people vie and fight for leadership positions. These kinds of people have no understanding of what true leadership is about. Their motivations are clearly not pure. They are usually driven by a lust for power, wealth, and pride.

True leadership requires certain skills, the first of which is wisdom. Wisdom is essentially knowing what to do and actually doing it. King Solomon in the Bible goes down in history as the wisest man who ever lived. The same, however, cannot be said of his son, Rehoboam who succeeded him. Let’s do a quick Bible study now, shall we? In 1Kings 12, we see the key players in what would be the beginning of a divided kingdom.

A young man named Jeroboam who had served under King Solomon’s administration at some point rebelled against the King and when the King sought to kill him, he fled to Egypt on asylum. Now King Solomon was dead and Jeroboam returned to Israel. Upon his return, he learned that Rehoboam had been crowned king. He, therefore, led a delegate of Israelites who came before Rehoboam and said the following to him:

‘Your father made our yoke harsh. You, therefore, lighten your father’s harsh service and the heavy yoke he put upon us, and we will serve you.’ 1Kings 12:4 CSB.

Rehoboam asked that they give him three days to consider their request. This in itself was a wise idea. It is good practice to take some time to consider a matter properly before reaching a decision. So, in this respect, we can say that Rehoboam did the right thing. Within the three-day time frame, he consulted with the elders-in-council.

The crucial Role Wisdom Plays in Leadership

The old men who had experienced his father’s rather high handedness wisely counseled him to concede the people’s demands, speak kindly to them, and in doing so gain their undivided support. Well, suffice it to say that Rehoboam was dissatisfied with the wise counsel of the old men. He sought counsel with his fellow young men who grew up in the court with him. The following was their reply:

‘…This is what you should tell them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! Although my father burdened you with whips, but I will discipline you with barbed whips.’ 1 Kings 12:10b CSB.

This foolish counsel seemed to please Rehoboam. When the people returned on the third day, he responded harshly to them according to the counsel he received from the young men. This infuriated the people, to say the least, and sparked a revolution that split the kingdom of Israel into two to this day. Only the tribe of Judah stayed loyal to Rehoboam’s leadership. The remaining ten tribes crowned dissident Jeroboam king and he reigned over them. Thus, King Rehoboam’s foolishness cost him greatly. As a result of his foolishness, he sold his grandfather’s kingdom.

Why Wisdom?

Foolishness will surely cost us but foolishness by a leader will cost even more. In light of the current situation in my nation, Nigeria, the country’s leaders failed to properly address the demands of the masses, the foremost of which is to end police brutality. And as such things escalated, innocent people lost their lives, and many more, their livelihoods.

The events that have occurred over the past couple of days, and on-going around the world really, is an outcry for wise counsel in positions of power, people who will have the best interest of the masses at heart. If Rehoboam had paid attention to the wise counsel provided him, the kingdom of Israel wouldn't have been split in two. Yet, his disregard for wisdom cost Israel dearly.

But throughout scripture, we can see wisdom demonstrated by leaders who acknowledged God as their God, such as King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20, and the famous King David who was the grandfather of Rehoboam. Such men sought the Lord when they were faced with calamities, and asked for His direction and intervention. They were also surrounded by wise counsel, people who were quick to call them out when they faltered, something that will do a lot of good to nations if rulers surround themselves with them and also seek the Lord’s help.

Like what you just read? Here are more insightful articles from this author:

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About The Author: Jacqueline is a lawyer as well as a PR professional. She is also mom, to two energetic soldiers who constantly keep her on her toes until they fall asleep. In her spare time, she loves to sing and is also an aspiring writer. Connect with her on Instagram with @zeerrific1.

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