Counsel – Important to Seek

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I. COUNSEL ENCOURAGED
A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5).

And you [the unwise] neglected all my [wisdom’s] counsel, and did not want my reproof (Proverbs 1:25).

They [the unwise] would not accept my [wisdom’s] counsel, they spurned all my reproof (Proverbs 1:30).

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel (Proverbs 12:15).

Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but with those who receive counsel is wisdom.  (Proverbs 13:10).

Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days (Proverbs 19:20).

Prepare plans by consultation . . . (Proverbs 20:18).

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend (Proverbs 27:9).

A poor, yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction (Ecclesiastes 4:13).

Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? (Luke 14:31).

A. MANY COUNSELORS ENCOURAGED
Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory (Proverbs 11:14).

Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed (Proverbs 15:22).

. . . in abundance of counselors there is victory (Proverbs 24:5-6).

1. Additional people increase productivity
. . . five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand . . . (Leviticus 26:8).

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.  But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?  And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him.  A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

B. EXAMPLES OF GIVING/FOLLOWING COUNSEL
Now when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “. . . Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?”  And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God.  When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and make known the statutes of God and His laws.”  And Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good.  You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.  Now listen to me:  I shall give you counsel, and God be with you.  You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk, and the work they are to do.  Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them . . . Moses listened to his father-in-law, and did all that he had said (Exodus 18:14-24).

Then Nathan spoke to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, “Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and David our lord does not know it?  So now come, please let me give you counsel and save your life and the life of your son Solomon (1 Kings 1:11-12).

To me [Job] they listened and waited, and kept silent for my counsel.  And after my words, they did not speak again, and my speech dropped on them.  And they waited for me as for the rain, and opened their mouth as for the spring rain (Job 29:21-23).

C. EXAMPLE OF NOT GIVING/FOLLOWING COUNSEL
Now it came about after Amaziah came from slaughtering the Edomites that he brought the gods of the sons of Seir, set them up as his gods, bowed down before them, and burned incense to them.  Then the anger of the Lord burned against Amaziah, and he sent him a prophet who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of the people who have not delivered their own people from your hand?”  And it came about as he was talking with him that the king said to him, “Have we appointed you as royal counsellor?  Stop! . . . the prophet stopped and said, “I know that God has planned to destroy you, because you have done this, and have not listened to my counsel (2 Chronicles 25:14-16).

II. SOURCES OF COUNSEL

A. LORD
With Him are wisdom and might; to Him belong counsel and understanding (Job 12:13).

I will bless the Lord who has counseled me . . . (Psalm 16:7).

Who is the man who fears the Lord?  He will instruct him in the way he should choose (Psalm 25:12).

I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you (Psalm 32:8).

The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations . . . The counsel of the Lord stands forever (Psalm 33:10-11).

With Your counsel You will guide me (Psalm 73:24).

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord, it will stand (Proverbs 19:21).

. . . and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor . . . (Isaiah 9:6).

And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him [Messiah], the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel (Isaiah 11:2).

This also comes from the Lord of hosts, who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great (Isaiah 28:29).

. . . O great and mighty God.  The Lord of hosts is His name; great in counsel and mighty in deed (Jeremiah 32:18-19).

1. Consequences of not seeking Lord’s counsel
So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the Lord.  Therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).

So the men of Israel took some of their [Gibeonites] provisions and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord.  And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them to let them live [thus the Promised Land was populated with foreigners] (Joshua 9:14-15).

They quickly forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but craved intensely in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.  So He gave them their request, but sent a wasting disease among them (Psalm 106:13-15).

There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains, because they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.  Therefore He humbled their heart with labor . . . (Psalm 107:10-12).

2. The Lord controls the counsel of people
Now someone told David, saying, “Ahithopel is among the conspirators with Absalom,”  And David said, “O Lord, I pray, make the counsel of Ahithopel foolishness.” . . . And David said to him [Hushai], “If you pass over with me, then you will a burden to me.  But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so I will now be your servant.’  Then you can thwart the counsel of Ahithopel for me”  (2 Samuel 15:31, 33-34).

Then Absalom said to Ahithopel, “Give your advice.  What shall we do?” . . . And the advice of Ahithopel, which he gave in those days, was as if one inquired of the word of God; so was all the advice of Ahithopel regarded by both David and Absalom (2 Samuel 16:20, 23).

When Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “Ahithopel has spoken thus.  Shall we carry out his plan?  If not, you speak.”  So Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the advice that Ahithopel has given is not good . . . But I counsel that all Israel be surely gathered to you . . . and that you personally go into battle . . . then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithopel.”  For the Lord had ordained to thwart the good counsel of Ahithopel, in order that the Lord might bring calamity on Absalom.  Then Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, “This is what Ahithopel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel, and this is what I have counseled.  Now therefore send quickly and tell David . . . and they said to David, “Arise and cross over the water for thus Ahithopel has counseled against you.” . . . Now when Ahithopel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and arose and went to his home, to his city, to set his house in order, and strangled himself; thus he died and was buried in the grave of his father (2 Samuel 17:6-23).

B. SCRIPTURE
Thy testimonies also are my delight; they are my counselors (Psalm 119:24).

C. GODLY PEOPLE

1. Mother and father
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head, and ornaments about your neck (Proverbs 1:8-9).

My son, observe the commandments of your father, and do not forsake your mother when she is old. Bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck.  When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you (Proverbs 6:20-22).

Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old (Proverbs 23:22).

A.  Example of godly father’s counsel
As David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son saying, “I am going the way of all the earth.  Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man.  And keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, so that the Lord may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel’” (1 Kings 2:1-4).

2. Those gifted with wisdom
And all the kings of the earth were seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart (2 Chronicles 9:23).

He who walks with wise men will be wise . . .  (Proverbs 13:20).

For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit . . . (1 Corinthians 12:8).

3. Experienced people
King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you counsel me to answer this people?”  Then they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to this people today, will serve them, grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”  But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him . . . (1 Kings 12:6-8).

Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was alive, saying, “How do you counsel me to answer this people?”  And they spoke to him saying, “If you will be kind to this people and please them and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”  But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given (2 Chronicles 10:6-8).

III. COUNSEL TO BE AVOIDED

A. COUNSEL OF THE WICKED
They say to God, ‘Depart from us!  We do not even desire the knowledge of Thy ways.  Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, and what would we gain if we entreat Him?’  Behold . . . the counsel of the wicked is far from me (Job 21:14-16).

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked . . . (Psalm 1:1).

. . . the counsels of the wicked are deceitful (Proverbs 12:5).

1.  Example of evil counsel
Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah . . . and hired counselors against them to frustrate their counsel all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia (Ezra 4:4-5).

From you has gone forth one who plotted evil against the Lord, a wicked counselor (Nahum 1:11).

2. Idolatrous people
For they are a nation lacking in counsel, and there is no understanding in them (Deuteronomy 32:28).

But when I look, there is no one, and there is no counselor among them who, if I ask, can give an answer.  Behold, all of them are false; their works are worthless, their molten images are wind and emptiness (Isaiah 41:28-29).

B. INEXPERIENCED

1. Example of following inexperienced counsel
But he [Rehoboam] forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him.  So he said to them, “What counsel do you give that we may answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, `Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?”  And the young men who grew up with him spoke to him . . . the king answered the people harshly . . . and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men . . . (1 Kings 12:8-10, 13-14).

But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him.  So he said to them, “What counsel do you give that we may answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?”  And the young men who grew up with him spoke to him . . . the king answered the people harshly, and King Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the elders.  And he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men . . . (2 Chronicles 10:8-10, 13-14).

IV. BLESSING AND CURSES

A.  BLESSINGS AND BENEFITS OF SEEKING COUNSEL

1. Success
. . . in abundance of counselors there is victory (Proverbs 11:14).

Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed (Proverbs 15:22).

. . . in abundance of counselors there is victory (Proverbs 24:6).

2. Direction and guidance
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you (Psalm 32:8).

With Your counsel You will guide me . . . (Psalm 73:24).

My son, observe the commandment of your father, and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck.  When you walk about, they will guide you . . . (Proverbs 6:20-22).

3. Wisdom
. . . with those who receive counsel is wisdom (Proverbs 13:10).

Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days (Proverbs 19:20).

4. Joy (in giving counsel)
. . . counselors of peace have joy (Proverbs 12:20).

B. CURSES/CONSEQUENCES OF NOT SEEKING COUNSEL OR SEEKING WICKED COUNSEL

1. Death
So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the Lord.  Therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).

He [Ahaziah] also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord like the house of Ahab, for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction.  He also walked according to their counsel . . . (2 Chronicles 22:3-5).

Then the prophet stopped and said, “I know that God has planned to destroy you [Amaziah], because you have done this [worshipped foreign gods], and have not listened to my counsel (2 Chronicles 25:16).

Because I [wisdom] called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; and you neglected all my counsel, and did not want my reproof; I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm, and your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come on you.  ‘Then they will call on me, but they shall not find me, because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord.  They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof.  So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be satiated with their own devices.  For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them, and the complacency of fools shall destroy them” (Proverbs 1:24-32).

2. Strife
Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but with those who receive counsel is wisdom  (Proverbs 13:10).

3. Plans frustrated
Without consultation, plans are frustrated . . . (Proverbs 15:22).

4. Failure
Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory (Proverbs 11:14).

5. Miscellaneous curses and consequences
So the men of Israel took some of their [Gibeonites] provisions and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord.  And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them to let them live [thus the Promised Land was populated with foreigners] (Joshua 9:14-15).

They quickly forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but craved intensely in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.  So He gave them their request, but sent a wasting disease among them (Psalm 106:13-15).

There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains, because they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.  Therefore He humbled their heart with labor . . . (Psalm 107:10-12).


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