Proverbs 12:5 – “The thoughts[plans; designs]of the righteous are right[lawful; discreet]: but the counsels of the wicked[lawless]are deceit[deceiving; treacherous].”
You can tell a lot about an individual by assessing where and to whom they go for counsel. Some people make foolish decisions by failing to seek counsel. Whether the obstruction to seeking wise counsel is arrogance or ignorance, the results are the same. Others listen to counsel without considering the character of the counselor or the foundation of his/her advice.
Consider some patterns I have observed during my years of ministry. As a youth pastor I witnessed the bent of teens was to allow their peers to weigh sway in their decisions against a parent’s counsel, often leading to a tragic end (1 Corinthians 15:33). I have noticed the same pattern in adults. A Christian student sitting in a secular class under the tutelage of a godless professor might find his faith under assault and the words of his teacher eroding his confidence in God’s Word and the guiding principles instilled in him from his youth. A businessman or woman might seek the counsel of one deemed successful by the world, but find his mentor challenging him to cut corners and be less than a man or woman of integrity. Godly parents might hear the plea of a rebellious son or daughter demanding their freedom, seek the counsel of another who urges them to appease the rebel, but at the sacrifice of their responsibility to teach, train, discipline and direct their child’s heart.
Where and to whom do you go for counsel? The counsel of a godly man or woman is from the Word and Law of God. His “thoughts” are right and lawful (12:5a); his counsel aligned with the Word of God and not the changing tide of pragmatism and human thought. By contrast, the counsel of the ungodly is deceitful, devious and lawless (12:5b). They look to themselves and others likeminded for affirmation.
When Rehoboam ascended to the throne following his father’s death, the people requested that the king would lighten the burden of taxation. Turning first to his father’s aged and experienced counselors, they advised the young king to be gracious, patient and understanding and the citizens of the nation would then serve him forever (1 Kings 12:6-7). King Rehoboam, his heart filled with pride, rejected the counsel of his elders and turned to his childhood peers for counsel. Mirroring the arrogance of their young king, the “counsel of the young men” provoked a rebellion that ultimately divided the nation (1 Kings 12:8-16).
I close by challenging you to list the ones to whom you turn for counsel and direction. Are they godly in their daily walk? Do they evidence the wisdom of God, knowledge of His Word and the experience of years? If your list of counselors consists of peers to the exclusion of parents, pastors and godly elders—you are risking your future!
Proverbs 11:14 – “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”