Where do you look for direction when you come to crossroads in life? Who do you turn to for advise? Who do you call or email for wisdom? Do you read and meditate upon the Scriptures? Do you pray and wait on the Lord to give you direction and peace?
Your answer to those questions reveals a lot about your character. The fatalistic [“What will be, will be”] give little thought to the weight and importance of decisions. Many turn to peers who “parrot” their own inexperience and “will tell them what they want to hear”. Few purpose in their heart to seek wisdom and get godly counsel.
It takes an open heart, humility and discipline to pursue counsel that is spiritually intuitive and trustworthy. Notice Solomon’s advise to his son concerning counsel and direction:
Proverbs 20:5 – “Counsel [advice; plan; purpose] in the heart [mind] of man is like deep water [spring]; but a man of understanding [wisdom; discretion; discernment] will draw it out [let down a bucket; drawing out water; lift up].”
Solomon portrays the labor of a man seeking water to quench his thirst with the task of one who seeks godly counsel. I have childhood memories of wells in the front or side yards of century-old clapboard-sided country homes. Those old wells dated to the late 19th and early 20th century when travel was on foot, horseback or by wagon. It was a simpler, kinder era when you knew your neighbors. Wells located near a path or road offered a place for neighbors to quench their thirst, water a horse and visit with their neighbor. An ever-present tin or wooden bucket attached to a rope would plunge into the darkness of the well and a splash promised a cool drink of water. Hanging nearby would be a community tin cup for all who stopped to rest.
Application – The promise of cool refreshing water made the effort of stopping and drawing up water from the well a worthwhile task. The same is true of seeking wise counsel—there are people in your life–parents, grandparents, teachers and pastors who represent deep wells of wisdom and insight from life experiences. An effort to engage them in conversation and draw upon their knowledge will prove a worthy investment of your time and labor.
Solomon’s exhortation to his son continues in Proverbs 20:18.
Proverbs 20:18 – “Every purpose [plan; plot; imagination] is established [prepared; ordered; confirmed; put right] by counsel [advice]: and with good advice [counsel; guidance] make war [advance warfare; battle].”
Solomon draws upon the analogy of a king preparing for battle in this verse. A foolish king goes to war without hearing and heeding the counsel of his officers; however, a wise king seeks the counsel of his experienced officers to formulate a battle plan that will give his army the best opportunity of success in battle.
A word of caution: When people do not ask for your advice it is because they are either too proud or do not value your counsel. Unsolicited advice is usually received with resentment.
Application: Wise counsel is the precursor of success both on the battlefield and in life.