The Verbs #15 (Good Counsel)

22           Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail;
take good counsel and watch them succeed.
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 15:22). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

This verse has been one of my life verses. There is much in this life that I do not know; however, I do know people who know much of what I do not know. My objective in any decision that I make, is to find those people and ask them questions so that I become knowledgeable on the situation. For much of my life, I have pursued people that are much older and wiser than I am. I have found that hanging around people that are at a higher level than I am, causes me to rise to a higher level.

In my speaking with other people, I listen to what hurdles they have overcome, what trials they have been through, and I listen to see how they handle circumstances that are not life’s best. How do they operate and handle the obstacles that come in this life? How do they handle themselves publicly and privately in a crisis? Why are these questions important to me? Because I want to handle myself in the ways they have handled themselves. I too, want to overcome the obstacles, hurdles and trials in this life, and by listening to their advice, I might avoid additional crisis’s, obstacles and hurdles.

I seek out people, invite them to lunch, just so I can ask them three questions. Certainly, it will relate to areas in which I need help. There isn’t a single person that has made it by themselves. Every person needs help. Let me remind you that when you see a turtle sitting up on a fence post, you can be assured that the turtle did not get there by itself. The same thing holds true with us. Somewhere along the way, all of us have had some help. Early on in my leading at the Worship Center, I received so much help. One would think, now that I have been here and we have had a great revival, that I may not need any more help. On the contrary, I receive more help, and now I desire more help than ever before. Never be ashamed to ask for Godly help, advice or counsel; however, when you ask for Godly help, advice, and counsel then you should strongly heed that advice. That is exactly what this Proverb is stating; refuse good advice and watch plans fail.

Solomon wrote the Proverbs to his son Rehoboam. Rehoboam took the throne as king after Solomon died. To give a little perspective on the story I want to share with you, I must tell you about what happened towards the end of Solomon’s life. Solomon began letting his relationship with God slip. He begin to live in a way that was not godly. (I Kings 11:1-6)

Much was happening in the kingdom towards the end of Solomon’s reign as king, and most of it bad. People in the kingdom were being forced to flee to other nations to escape death. Solomon brought in idol worship, and instead of governing wisely, Solomon placed a heavy tax burden upon the people. The choices made by Solomon, to choose women over God and money over the people, caused an enormous weight to come upon the people. This weight caused a nation that was once wealthy, healthy and unified, to collapse upon itself.

Ultimately Solomon died, and his son Rehoboam began to reign in his place. At the time of Rehoboam coming to the throne, the Bible states this:

Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt,* for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. 4
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (1 Ki 12:1–4). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Notice who came to speak with Rehoboam. The leaders, those who had left Israel and the whole assembly, went to speak with him. That’s quite a group of people coming to meet you on your first day in office. Here’s why they wanted to meet with him:

 “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.”
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (1 Ki 12:4). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Here they are, giving the new king a way to unify the country, gain loyalty and make the nation a pleasant place to live again. They laid it out; here is the advice, counsel and steps you need to take in order to have a successful kingship.

Rehoboam asked for three days to think about the council’s advice. Here is what happened in those three days. He asked the older men who had been counselors to his father.

The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (1 Ki 12:7). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

But Rehoboam rejected the advice. The counsel of the elders was rejected. Rehoboam then went to his friends, the younger men who had grown up with him, who were now his advisors and he asked them what he should do. Here’s their response…

10 The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’ ”

Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (1 Ki 12:10–11). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Wow. If you look at these two pieces of advice, you can immediately recognize the vast difference between them. One was good advice and the other should have been rejected on its face; however, Rehoboam did exactly as his father told him not to do. He rejected the good advice and went with the advice of his friends. It cost him. It cost him dearly. The kingdom divided and civil war was narrowly avoided.

Let this proverb and the practice of it become a part of your life. Seek good counsel, then don’t ignore it. Your life will be the better for it. Your plans will prosper by taking and heeding the advice of wise counsel.