When King Solomon died, huisu son Rehoboam became king. There were some older men who had advised his father and gave him counsel that offered their services to the new king. They explained that their father pushed people to their limits and needed a break. The new king had several friends who were young and also counseled him. They told him to reject the counsel of the old men and be even harder on people than his father. He took the advice of the younger men and the people revolted. The kingdom split and his territory shrink significantly because he refused wise counsel. Pride has a way of telling us that we either don’t need counseling or to reject the advice we’re given. Over and over the Bible reminds us of our need to seek and to listen to counsel. Your ability to make an impact on people is tied to your ability to receive good, godly counsel. Seek it out.
Here are some Bible verses on seeking counsel.
1. The way of the [arrogant] fool [who rejects God’s wisdom] is right in his own eyes, But a wise and prudent man is he who listens to counsel.
Proverbs 12:15 AMP
2. Wisdom opens your heart to receive wise counsel, but pride closes your ears to advice and gives birth only to quarrels and strife.
Proverbs 13:10 TPT
3. The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.
Psalms 37:30 NLT
4. Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 15:22 ESV
5. Listen to counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, That you may be wise in the time to come.
I was watching a video where a, gentleman was discussing how our need for control is often what stunts our growth. We like to be in charge of our decisions and our life, so we often refuse outside counsel. Proverbs 15:22 tells us that our plans often fail because we have a lack of counselors. When we refuse to ask for advice, we stunt our potential. Whether it’s in life or even in following Christ. God sent the Holy Spirit to guide us, but we often disregard His promptings. He’s given us spiritual leaders, but do we ask them for answers? God wants us to succeed in the plans He has for us. That’s why He has sent us a Helper and given us community. Don’t let your need for control cause you to disregard godly advice and conviction
In Exodus, Moses was tasked with leading millions of Hebrews out of Egypt. He was quick to seek God to help him lead better. With that many people, there were disputes and problems. Moses would personally hear each case and decide who was right and who was wrong. When his father in law Jethro saw this, he decided to offer advice. In Exodus 18:18 he said, “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself” (NLT). He then gave him an idea for a structure of hearing cases that was efficient. Moses listened, gave up control and gained his ability to lead back. He was willing to take outside opinions and wisdom.
Proverbs 2:1 says, “My child, will you treasure my wisdom? Then, and only then, will you acquire it. And only if you accept my advice and hide it within will you succeed” (TPT). How often do you seek the wisdom of others? If you don’t, what’s driving that decision. The need for control is referred to as pride. We can wear ourselves out, and others too, when we try to do everything ourselves. God created the Body of Christ to have many functions and parts so we could work together. Don’t disregard another part of the body’s ideas or help because they’re not the same part as you. When we give up our need for control, we increase our potential and our reach. When we accept godly wisdom and advice, we will succeed.
I was discussing the importance of mentorship with a group. While I was debriefing, a gentleman raised his hand. He said, “So I need to find someone who has been here in my position for a long time so I can get knowledge from them?” I told him that was almost it. I explained that it wasn’t really knowledge he should be seeking from the mentor. What he needs to be seeking is wisdom. You can get knowledge from just about anywhere, and knowledge is good to have. However, knowledge doesn’t really help you if you don’t know what to do with it. Wisdom gives you insight on how to make the best decisions with the knowledge you gain.
In 1 Kings 10, Solomon was visited by the Queen of Sheba. She had heard how wise he was and wanted to see for herself. She observed how his servants and palace were organized and run. She also came prepared with lots of questions hoping Solomon would mentor her a bit. After he answered her questions, she said he was even more wise than what she had heard. Then, in verse 8 she said, “How happy your people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom!” (NLT). A Queen was a bit jealous of the commoners who had the opportunity to listen and learn from his wisdom each day.
In Proverbs 5:11 Solomon wrote, “For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.” Our world has given this kind of value to knowledge instead of wisdom. More and more people are seeking knowledge over wisdom, but you and I can’t do that. We must place a high value on godly wisdom rooted in His Word. We must seek out people who are more wise than we are and learn from them. Solomon also said that if you want to be wise, you must walk with the wise (Proverbs 13:10). Look around at the people God had placed in your life. Who can you ask to mentor you and give you wisdom? Be prepared with situations and questions when you meet with them. God desires that we gain wisdom. It’s time we were proactive in getting it.
One of the most important lessons we’re trying to teach our son is to value wisdom over knowledge. We live in a time where knowledge is more accessible than ever. It has become more valuable in our society than wisdom. Because of the, gone are the days of apprenticeship. Gone are the days of seeking wisdom from the elderly. Gone are the days of working your way up a ladder. 1 Corinthians 8:1 warns that knowledge puffs us up. It makes us think we are better than we are.
King Solomon had a son named Rehoboam who acceded the throne after Solomon’s death. The people came to him in 1 Kings 12 to ask him to lighten the work load that Solomon had given them for years. He went to the elderly to seek their advice. In their wisdom , they let him know that the people would be loyal if he did that. However, he spoke to his friends who did not have wisdom. They advised him to prove he was greater than his father and increase their workload. He liked their advice. In turn, the people revolted and the kingdom split. Future generations refused to live under a king from that dynasty.
Proverbs 4:7 says, “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment” (NLT). Wisdom is often what you get right after you need it. However, it can be gained through seeking advice from the wise, through researching history or by asking God (James 1:5). It’s good to have knowledge, but not if you don’t know how to use it wisely. In all areas of our lives we need to seek the wisdom from above rather than knowledge from the world. Don’t fall for the knowledge trap. As believers it’s critical that we gain wisdom and good judgment. If God puts a high value on wisdom, so should we since we are His representatives in this world.
One of the greatest disparities between people today and every other generation in history is the amount of knowledge that is so readily available. In the past, knowledge was handed down from books and elders. Today, the internet has everything you need to know. I’ve used YouTube to learn how to do mechanical work on my car, cook dinner, learn about history and so much more. Living in the age of the internet has definitely increased people’s knowledge.
What it hasn’t done is increase wisdom. I believe because we have forgotten the difference between the two. Knowledge puffs up, but wisdom builds up. Since time began, wisdom has been passed down from elders. With all the knowledge available, we have forgotten to walk with the wise to gain wisdom. God’s desire is that you and I grow in wisdom. Remember, it was the Tree of Knowledge that brought sin into the world. God isn’t against us being knowledgeable, but He understands that knowledge without wisdom is dangerous.
Here are some Bible verses on wisdom.
1. Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe. Proverbs 28:26 NLT
2. Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 HCSB
3. Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do. Whatever else you get, get insight. Proverbs 4:7 GNT
4. Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old. Job 12:12 NLT
5. He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise, But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm. PROVERBS 13:20 AMP
Most of us are happy to talk about our strengths, but are hesitant to discuss our weaknesses. We like to show off what we have, but are afraid to admit what we lack. Instead, we try to overcompensate for our weaknesses or things we lack. We try to substitute something other than what’s needed with what we have hoping it will be enough. Instead of seeking out help or someone with strengths in the areas of our weaknesses, we try to make due what what we have and try to do it on our own.We forget that it’s in our weakness that He is made strong and in our lack that He becomes our Jehovah Jireh.
I love the story of when Solomon became king. In 1 Kings 3, God told Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted. He immediately thanked God for His kindness to his father David. When he thought of his father, he didn’t think of the ways he was better than him. Instead, he saw where he wasn’t up to the task and was inexperienced. He admitted as much to the Lord and asked for wisdom to govern better than he ever could on his own. Because he didn’t ask for things that accentuated his strengths or would feed his ego, God was pleased. It took humility to admit his weakness and even courage to ask for help in those areas. God gave him wisdom, but He also gave him things he didn’t even ask for in order to bless him.
Have you thought much about your weaknesses or the things you lack? What have you been doing to overcompensate? James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (NLT). I love the last part in the Passion Translation. It says, “He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures.” We’ve become so afraid to admit our weaknesses or the things we lack because we’re afraid of being scolded or made fun of. However it’s only when we admit it that we can ask Him for help, and God doesn’t withhold good things from those who have integrity (Psalm 84:11). James 4:2 reminds us that we have not because we ask not. Take time today to think about what you need in order to do what He’s called you to do, and ask God for it. I know that He will give it to you.
I remember taking Driver’s Ed. There came a time in the class where we took the instruction and put it into practice by driving around. When it was my turn to log some hours, he had me drive on the freeway for a while. There were times when he had to hit the brakes on his side of the car because I wouldn’t go slower than the speed of traffic. When I went to change lanes, the instructor asked me what I needed to check after I turned on my blinker. I replied, “My rear view and side mirror.” He then asked, “What else?” I shrugged. He told me I needed to look over my shoulder as well to check my blind spot. If I change lanes and hit a car, it’s my fault because I should have checked my blind spots. I’ve never forgotten those instructions.
We all have blind spots in our lives, and we all need instruction and correction too, but not all of us invite it into our lives. In Exodus 18, Moses’ father in law had heard all of the great things Moses had done for his people, so he went to meet him. The next day he saw Moses judging the people and how inefficient it was. After asking a few questions about it, he said, “Moses’ father-in-law said to him in Exodus 18:17-18, “The thing that you are doing is not good. You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you [to bear]; you cannot do it alone” (AMP). He gave Moses a better way to do it. Instead of responding, “I’m in charge here and don’t need your help,” Moses listened to the counsel, received the instructions and accepted the correction. How do you respond when someone does that to you?
Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.” Counsel is an outside perspective that helps guide us so we don’t hit things, or people, in our blind spots. Instruction is someone else telling us how do something we often think we know how to do. Correction is being told we’re in the wrong. All three are often hard to receive because of our pride. If we’re willing to put aside our pride, and invite these three things into our life with an open heart and mind, we will achieve far more than we ever could without it. We will also have better relationships with the people around us because we won’t be bumping into them in our blind spots as much. The key is for us to invite it into our lives or to accept it when someone else, including an in law, is offering it.
I remember the first piece of advice I ever got as a kid. It was, “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” I wasn’t sure what a wooden nickel was, but I knew not to take one. Ever since then, people have been giving me advice, whether solicited or not. Some of it has been good, and some of it has been terrible. I discovered it was terrible because I followed it not knowing better. Over time, I’ve learned (mostly) what is good advice and what is not.
Since we don’t know everything, it’s important to seek advice in matters where we are unsure of what to do. When seeking advice, we should look for people who have wisdom, experience and are grounded in God’s Word. It’s also good to get advice from multiple people if you can. If they all give the same advice, you can bet it’s the right thing to do. If they give different advice, go with the one who has experienced what you’re going through.
Seeking advice is one thing. Following the advice is another. Proverbs 13:13 says, “If you refuse good advice, you are asking for trouble; follow it and you are safe” (GNT). There have been times when I’ve received great advice, but I refused to follow it. I either didn’t like it or I didn’t like the cost of following it. It turns out, the cost of not following it was even greater. Not following good advice has its consequences.
I love the Proverbs because they bring to light simple truths like this one. When I was a teen, I received some other advice. It was to read one chapter of Proverbs a day. There are 31 chapters so it will take you a month. Reading it throughout the years has helped to increase my wisdom because I’m learning from the wisest person who ever lived. There’s a lot of great advice in this book of the Bible. In fact, my advice to you is the same. If you want to grow in wisdom, read a chapter of Proverbs a day.
I’m curious, what’s the best advice someone has ever given you?
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
One of the Bible verses my wife and I pray often is James 1:5. We are constantly asking God to give us wisdom liberally. When someone needs counseling, we pray that prayer before, and during, the meeting. When we’re trying to make ends meet, we ask for wisdom. When have decisions to make, you guessed it, we pray for wisdom. We often gain knowledge about things, but we understand we don’t know all the facts and that wisdom is knowing what to do with information. We never want to do things out of our own wisdom or knowledge, so we seek God to give us His knowing that He will supply it.
Proverbs 2:6 says, “Wisdom is a gift from a generous God, and every word he speaks is full of revelation and becomes a fountain of understanding within you” (TPT). God wants to give us wisdom, but we must seek it, then listen to what He says. There’s a period a quiet after asking so that the Holy Spirit can call to remembrance verses in the Bible that may apply (John 14:26). How can we hear the Holy Spirit if we’re still talking or praying? He gives the right words at the right time. People need a word from God more than they need words from us. Listening for scriptures or Bible verses is a way to do that.
Also Proverbs 20:45 says, “A man of deep understanding will give good advice, drawing it out from the well within.” We have to dig deep for wisdom. God has put His kingdom within each of us, but it is up to us to seek it and draw it out. When we read the Bible, meditate on it and put it in our heart, we are feeding that well deep with us. The story’s and words we read become a fountain of understanding that God will use in our own lives and in the lives of others. I pray each day for God to give me a deep understanding of His Word and for Him to help me read it with fresh eyes so I can see things I’ve never seen and make connections within it that I’ve missed. I know that when God reveals His Word to me, it isn’t just for me. It’s for anyone I come across who needs a word from Him. By putting it inside of me, I can draw on it through the Holy Spirit when needed.
When you’re in over your head, who do you seek guidance from? I’ve made a few of these calls, and I get a few of these calls from time to time. Each time I’m talking with someone who is asking for guidance, I immediately start praying, “God, give me wisdom. Give me the right words that will help them make the right choices. Give them the courage to make the hard choices necessary. Amen.” I know that my wisdom is flawed, but God’s wisdom is perfect. He sees the whole picture and knows what they need to do. Too often we seek His guidance, or other godly guidance late in our journey rather than at the beginning.
In the books of Chronicles and Kings, you can read about many of the early kings of Israel and Judah. In almost every case, the writer quickly tells you whether they were a godly King or whether they did things that were evil in God’s sight. There were a couple Kings who took the throne when they were kids. In at least two of the cases, they were heavily influenced by godly people. They were taught and encouraged to lead with godly principles. They also continued to seek God’s will and direction for their nation as they ruled. Because they followed God’s plan, they prospered during their reign.
2 Chronicles 26:5 says, “And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success” (NLT). That’s an important lesson for us to learn. If you and I will seek God’s guidance and wisdom, He will give us success in the things we do. God loves to give us wisdom, but it’s our choice whether to follow it or not. The path God gives is rarely the easy path and requires us to make tough decisions. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to us, but remember, He’s not looking at what you see now. He’s looking ahead to the parts of the road you can’t see. The guidance He gives is based on His plan for you, and we know He has good plans for each of us. No matter where you are in your journey, there’s still time to start seeking God’s guidance.