The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
Imagine your son or daughter asks, “Would you please help me with my math homework?” Translation: “Would you please give me the answers?” It would be easy just to give your child the answers so you can get back to whatever you’re doing. But to do so would be to short-circuit their academic development. More important than your child receiving the right answers is your child developing the skills to discover the right answers for themselves.
That analogy often helps me when I’m frustrated with God. Many times, I’ll ask, “God, please show me what to do,” and He doesn’t seem to answer my request for direction. God could tell me the right answer to whatever dilemma I’m facing. He could write it in the sky or thunder it down from heaven. So why doesn’t God always immediately answer my desire for direction?
Because God knows that even more important than our receiving the right answers is our developing the spiritual maturity that comes from discovering the right answers for ourselves. You see, the process of reading the Bible, praying, and evaluating signs in order to discover God’s will for our lives develops spiritual maturity in us. And that’s certainly true of another way that God reveals His will: through the people He places in our lives.
Admittedly, it’s a risky proposition for God to trust other people to deliver His message to us. Do you remember the game called gossip or telephone? You’d sit in a circle, and somebody would whisper a message to the person next to them. Then that person would repeat the message to the next person, and so on. By the time that message came back to the person who first whispered it, any resemblance to the original message was purely coincidental. It would get totally mangled in transmission.
In the same way, it seems like God’s depending on other people to speak to us would risk us getting the wrong message. Nevertheless, the Bible says a wise person listens to the counsel of others. For example, Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” And Proverbs 13:10 says, “Through insolence comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel.”
This week, as we talk about the people God uses to speak to us, we’re going to see that learning to listen to and evaluate their counsel develops some important character qualities in our lives.
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.