There are two things that keep true leaders in check, and on the right path…even if they are not that crazy about staying on the right path. First, there is God; the Lord almighty. Second--the people they rule over. However, it is still up to the leader to heed his/her people. History is replete with devastating examples of leaders who marched civilizations over a cliff in order to ‘win’ their own way.
In watching the events unfold in Syria and other portions of the Middle East, one can not help but to think about King David’s grandson, and King Solomon’s son--King Rehoboam. History does have a tendency to repeat itself--especially in politics. Rehoboam came to power with plenty of pomp and circumstance. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a godly heart like his grandfather, nor the wisdom of his father. This new king quickly set about leaving his own ‘stamp’ on his ‘administration’. The entire sad story plays out in I Kings, chapter 12 (KJV).
Rehoboam needed advice and counsel on a matter of state. He had some of the more senior advisors who were from his father’s administration (verse 7). These older men had seasoning and wisdom beyond the young king’s years…which is what he needed. He quickly gave them their pink slips, and went to his contemporaries--who were younger and less experienced in politics and diplomacy (verse 8). Their advice led to a formal splitting of the nation of Israel; with ten tribes breaking away to form the Northern Kingdom, and two tribes remaining with Rehoboam in the Southern Kingdom.
The new king’s pride cause a split in the national fabric, and caused ruination that lingered for years among God’s people (verse 16).
To forsake the will of the people in order for the entertainment of a leader’s own agenda always leads to trouble. Remember: America ‘started’ in Vietnam as ‘observers’…and ended up leaving with our tails between our legs. Why? Because we had leaders who did not listen to sound advice…or the people. America can’t afford to repeat the Vietnam experience in Syria. There are too many of 'We the people' who are old and wise enough to remember our national folly because we had leaders who 'stuck their noses' where they didn't belong.