Summary: How to know God’s will through godly counsel of others

SBC Philippi 6/5/05 am

Rev.Jeff Simms

Knowing God’s Will: Godly Counsel

Exodus 18:7-26

Primary Purpose: To discuss how to understand God’s will from God’s counsel.

For the last three weeks we have been talking about how to know God’s will. We have said that some of the ways that we know God’s will is through the Word of God and prayer. We can also know God’s will at times through godly counsel and circumstances. I want to talk with you how to know that the counsel you receive is truly God’s will and what are some warning flags that it might not be. For an example we will look at Jethro, who was Moses’ father-in-law who came to visit him near Mt.Sinai. Read Exodus 18:7-26

When we talk about discovering God’s will we are primarily talking about at this time about specific decisions that must be made apart from moral decisions. There are some decisions that are black and white and I don’t need to ask anyone about. For example: I know that it is God’s will for you to be sanctified and to abstain from sexual immorality. Even sinful or lustful thoughts. You don’t need to pray about that or seek counsel. That is a moral decision that is clear from scripture (see 1 Thess 4:3) I know that it is God’s will that I accept that free gift he offers me through his son. I know that he desires to forgive me of my sins. I know that he desires for me to love other people and to love Him. But, for those other decisions that aren’t primarily moral in nature we might look to counsel for others.

Jethro had stayed in the desert with Moses’ wife and two sons while Moses went to talk with Pharaoh and bring the people out of Egypt. Now they are reunited. In the course of their visit, Jethro stays to see the work that Moses is doing. We don’t know a lot about Jethro except that he was a priest. Evidentially he was a man that Moses respected quite a bit and learned from. We see right away that Jethro’s reaction to all that God has done is one of joy for God’s people, so that says something about him right away.

As Jethro watches Moses the next day vs.13 he sees the terrible struggle that Moses is under (and the people who are waiting all day) in judging and making decisions. He says that he is doing this because the people are coming to him to know God’s will in decisions. Even though God could have spoken to Moses directly about appointing judges, he chooses instead to speak through Jethro to give wise counsel. Even though Moses was a man who met with God, he did listen to other people. In fact, scripture warns us that a wise person will listen to others advice. Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.”

“Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed” (Proverbs 3:21). We can say it another way: Heed wise counsel, or watch your hopes be cancelled.

The hard won truth of this proverb is evident in an experience that riveted my generation. In January of 1985 Roger Boisjoly, an engineer for Morton Thiokol, observed that under unusually cold conditions, an o-ring seal on the Space Shuttle’s solid rocket booster would fail. Further tests were done, and in July of 1985 Boisjoly wrote a memo to the Vice President of Engineering at Morton Thiokol which stated: “It is my honest and very real fear that if we do not take immediate action to dedicate a team to solve the problem, … then we stand in jeopardy of losing a [space shuttle] flight…” (Roger Boisjoly January 1985 ).

Even in the hours leading up to the launch of the Challenger in January of 1986, Boisjoly and other engineers were stating their belief that it was not safe to launch the shuttle. Despite the engineer’s concerns, a general manager for Morton Thikol said, “We have to make a management decision” (address given at MIT ). They made the decision to launch.

I wonder how many months and years it took those men who made “a management decision” to be able, once again, to sleep through the night. Proverbs teaches us: “Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.” It is true: Heed wise counsel, or watch your hopes be cancelled. Contributed by: Dr. Bruce Emmert

Notice that I am repeatedly saying that he offered up “godly counsel”. There is a difference from the perspective of godly persons and the world. You are under no obligation to seek counsel from worldly people though God can use them sometimes. We are to seek godly counsel. People who we know are walking with God and have a lifestyle of faithfulness to his word.

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