Use Counsel Wisely

A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.
–Proverbs 1:5

God could write His will for you in the sky. But there are qualities He desires in your life that you develop in the process of discovering His will. By submitting to authority figures, you develop the quality of obedience. By seeking and evaluating the advice of wise counselors, you develop discernment. And by turning to fellow Christians, you develop dependence.

As you listen to these people, let me give you three things to keep in mind. First of all, don’t use wise counsel as a cop-out. For most people, the real problem is not discovering the will of God but doing the will of God. They keep asking for advice without ever making a decision. But there comes a time when you need to stop seeking advice and just do what you know you need to do.

Second, the counsel you receive may be wrong. That was true of the Israelites in Numbers 13. They sent twelve spies into the promised land to see if they could take possession of it, and the majority said, “The challenge is too great.” Only two spies said, “With God’s help, we can take possession of the land.” Many times, the counsel you receive will be wrong.

Finally, any counsel you receive must be measured against the Word of God. Sometimes people want a new revelation from God about a dilemma they’re facing when He has already addressed that issue. We see this in 1 Kings 13. God had told a prophet, in essence, “Go to Bethel and destroy a pagan altar. Then go directly home. Do not pass go; do not collect $200.”

This prophet was on his way home when an older prophet stopped him and invited him over for a meal. The younger prophet protested, but the older man said, “God has given me a newer revelation than what He told you.” So instead of going directly home, as God had told him, the younger prophet went to the older prophet’s home. Look at what happened next: “The word of the Lord came to the [older prophet]; and he cried to the [younger prophet], saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Because you have disobeyed the command of the Lord, . . . your body shall not come to the grave of your fathers”’ (vv. 20–22). And when the younger prophet left to go home, verse 24 says, “a lion met him on the way and killed him, and his body was thrown on the road.”

What’s the point of this bizarre story? God was teaching us that we are never to contradict what He has already clearly spoken. If somebody is counseling you to do something that violates the Word of God, don’t follow their advice. All counsel must be measured against the Word of God.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “Who Speaks for God?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

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. www.lockman.org.

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