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Summary: The answers to the riddles & problems of life lies with God. Therefore wise counselors know the God of the Bible & know the Bible of God. The Bible’s profound insights should cause us to face & solve problems in the wisest way.

Giving and Receiving WISE COUNSEL

PROVERBS 19:20-21

The answers to the riddles and problems of life lies with God. Therefore wise counselors know the God of the Bible and know the Bible of God. Together the God of the Word and the Word of God bring wise counsel to bear on the needs and circumstances of individuals. When we use advise from Scripture we rest assure that God will watch over it to preform it and give our counsel, which is His counsel, success. Isaiah 55:11 instructs us, "So will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth. It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." God’s Word brings forth spiritual life. It produces the fruit He plans, accomplishing His purpose.

All situation though are not specifically address by the Scriptures. In these situations we need to seek out godly counselors. The Bible’s profound insights should cause us to face and solve problem in the wisest way. Let’s look a the advise Proverbs offers us concerning wise counsel.

[Tahbulah translated counsel is probably related to the noun hobel or sailor, and may originally have meant "boat steering skill." Later, tahbulah was used figuratively to mean "the skill of steering or guiding actions." In the OT, tahbulah is used only in Job and Proverbs, always in its plural form. Tahbulah usually refers to the body of guidance, counsel, or strategy offered by a group of skilled counselors. The Hebrew wisdom tradition taught that the discerning man acquires wise counsel from skilled advisors (Prov. 1:5).]

Proverbs 8:14 teaches that wise counselors are those who know both the Lord and His Word. "Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine."

Wisdom enables people to give wise counsel and sound judgment, and to have understanding (insight) and power. Only God’s wisdom makes men capable of honestly holding and faithfully discharging the duties of a counselor or instructor.

Proverbs 12:15 indicates that humility, listening skills and discernment are essential to both those who given and receive counsel. "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel."

Personal opinion becomes what is best to a fool. The fool (hardened, thickheaded) obstinately thinks his way is right (21:2), which explains why he will not receive instruction (1:7) no matter how clear and true it is. A fool persistently takes his own thinking as right, but the one who shows real wisdom is the one who listens to advice. The wise will listen to godly counsel because he realizes his fallen condition and inclination. He understands that his own thinking may not be the wisest or even correct.

Proverbs 13:10 teaches us to receive godly counsel and not to contend defiantly for our own way. "Through insolence comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel."

Insolence or pride (z don, from zîd, "to boil"; 11:2) means an unyielding arrogance. Such an inflated, know-it-all view of oneself leads to quarreling. In contrast a humble, wise spirit makes one willing to learn and take advice.

The root reason for contention is pride. Someone is envious of another, feels intimidated by another, or is hurt by another. What is the cure? Paul’s was simply to die daily (1 Corinthians 15:31). What ever our abilities, actively, thankfully receiving godly counsel will improve them.

Proverbs 15:22 states that without much counsel plans will go astray. "Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established."

Where "counsel" (especially from those who know us intimately and understand us personally, as the Hebrew word suggests) is absent, "plans" are frustrated and break down ("go awry"). When our perspective is enlarged by input from a number ("multitude") of caring, experienced and honest advisers ("counselors"), the plans will be examined and improved until they are "established,"(executed) or come to pass.

Practically speaking, it useful to have counselors who know you well, from whom you have few secrets, but who also have wide-ranging experience in the areas where you need help. Obviously, some pastors, elders and trustees play this role. But so do coworkers. Their knowledge of you and their intimacy with the situations you face combine to provide good advice. [Foolish are the ministers who do not listen to their wife, and assistants. Dangerous are the pastors who do not seek the counsel of their secretaries.] [Hubbard, David. The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol 15: Proverbs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989, S. 292.]

Proverbs 19:20 teaches us to break with our undisciplined self-will so that we can listen, learn and become wise. "Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days."

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