Godly Counsel

Decisions Have To Be Made

Have you ever had times in your life when you were not sure of what you should do?   I daresay, ever person at some point or another has felt this way.  I know I have many times.  There have been times when I have faced decisions and the answer to the dilemma seemed very elusive.  At other times, I have been going about my own business and was confronted with the fact that what I was doing was, simply stated, dumb.

Everyone in my family is indecisive.  I recall when our children were in their school age years, we would usually go out to eat once a week.  Trying to decide where to go was always a testing of my patience.  Not that everyone wanted to go to a different place, but that no one wanted to decide.  Everyone would say, “it doesn’t matter’, or “I don’t care.”  One week my bright children finally solved the weekly problem.  They got out a piece of paper and wrote down the name of the various restaurants where we would eat.  They then cut the names apart, placed them in a bowl and said that each week we could just draw a name out and the decision of where to go would be decided.  But then the next decision up for discussion was who would draw out the name!  Of course some issues are no brainers.  Common sense (for those that have some) will determine the correct course of action.  At other times the issue at hand requires wisdom and solid advice.

Moses Receives Counsel

In Exodus 18, Moses’ father-in-law came to visit.  Jethro had heard of all that God was doing and came to see Moses in the wilderness.  During the visit Moses told Jethro about all that God had been doing for the Children of Israel.  He related the story of how God had brought them out of Egypt and of all the things from which He had delivered them.  When Jethro heard of all that God had done, he praised Him and then took a burnt offering to offer to the Lord.  Moses, Aaron and all the elders of Israel came together with Jethro to share a meal before God.

The next day, Moses went out to sit before the people to be their judge as they brought before him all their problems.  That day lasted from morning until evening.  Jethro had observed what Moses was doing and came to him and offered counsel.

Exodus 18:14-23 (NKJV)

14 So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?”

15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.”

17 So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. 19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. 20 And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. 21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.””

Seeking Counsel

Jethro was able to give Moses some Godly advice.  Notice, though, that not only did he give Moses advice based on his personal opinion, but in verse 23, he tells Moses to also listen to God to see if that counsel was sound.  When we need help in making a decision, we often do need to talk with people around us to get their advice.  We just need to be careful that the people we talk to are Godly.  Jethro gave evidence of his right relationship with God when he offered up praise and sacrifice.  We should ask ourselves when we seek counsel from others if they exhibit evidence that they will give us Godly advice opposed to the wisdom of the world.

Notice in Proverbs 1:5:

“A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,” (NKJV)

And then in Proverbs 19:20-21:

“20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days.21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.” (NKJV)

When we seek counsel from man, we should seek wise, Godly people that can be trusted to give advice that is aligned with the Word of God.  But the ultimate test of whether the advice we receive is of God or not is to take it before Him.

When the birth of Christ was prophesied, there were several names given that He would be called:

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6  (NKJV)

Christ is the ultimate counselor.  When we approach Him seeking wisdom and direction, we can be sure that His leading will be His perfect will for our lives.  So how do we hear the counsel of God?  The answer is obvious but so often underutilized.  We receive counsel from God as we read His Word.  When we really seek to follow Him, when we really strive to live for Him, then as we read the Bible, God will reveal His truth to us.  I think it is really amazing that the first song in God’s songbook, Psalm 1, addresses exactly this issue.

Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV)

“1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.”

When it comes to making decisions, we don’t have to write down our options on pieces of paper and draw the “lucky straw.”  We only need to delight in the Lord just like Jethro praised God and offered him a sacrifice.  We study God’s word and go before Him just as Jethro told Moses to do.  When we seek the Lord, He will reveal to us the path we should take.

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