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Good People, Bad Advice

Prepare plans by consultation, and make war by wise guidance.
–Proverbs 20:18

Abraham and Sarah had no children, even though God had promised to give them many descendants. Instead of waiting on God’s timing, they moved forward in their own way to bring about this promise. Look at Sarah’s proposal in Genesis 16:2: “The Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” Sarah was saying, “You take Hagar, my slave, and sleep with her, and maybe she will conceive the child God has promised us.”

The Bible says Sarah was a woman of faith, but even people of faith can have lapses of faith. That is what happened here. She was saying, “We have been in the land for ten years, and God has not kept His promise. We cannot depend on God any longer. If this is going to happen, we better do it ourselves.” And Abraham agreed to her plan.

Do you know why this temptation was particularly appealing to Abraham? Not only did it appeal to his sexual appetite, but he also shared his wife’s distrust of God at this point. He really did not believe he could count on the Lord to fulfill His promise. But there is a third reason I think this temptation was particularly potent with Abraham: it came from his wife.

Now, a godly mate can give great counsel. My wife, Amy, has given me great counsel through the years–I only wish I had listened to her more in some situations. The principle here is we need to evaluate by God’s Word any counsel we receive. The fact is, good people can give bad counsel. We should not accept any counsel we receive from our mate, our Christian friend, or even our pastor without evaluating that counsel by the truth of God’s Word. When Sarah proposed her idea, Abraham should have said, “Is this really God’s plan for our lives?”

I think about the story of Jesus telling His disciples that He must be crucified. Peter said to Him, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). How did Jesus respond? He turned to Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan!” (v. 23). It is not that Peter was Satan or even that he was a bad guy. He loved the Lord, but he was using a worldly rather than a godly perspective to shape the counsel that he gave. You can have some wonderful people in your life who give you counsel that is not based on God’s Word but on their own fears, prejudices, and perspective. We need to evaluate all the counsel we get according to the truth of God’s Word.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Walk, Don’t Run” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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