Many people know the value of good counsel. Businesses hire consulting firms with good credentials and reputations to advise them in many areas, including financial, technical, and legal matters. Without that wise counsel, their businesses could suffer significant losses or even failure. National leaders should also seek sound counsel for the good of their nations.
Counsel is advice, and may include steps as a plan of action to achieve a goal. As children, our first consultants were our mother and father, grandparents, and others. Later, our counselors included teachers, coaches, and other instructors. Reaching maturity, we were advised by financial, insurance, medical, legal, real estate, and other entities whose counsel was intended for our success.
Good counsel helps us avoid problems and achieve success. If we receive bad counsel, we should choose our counselors more carefully. If we are wise, we should seek counsel from a variety of individuals, eliminating those with less than sterling reputations and spotty track records of success. Advice when you are struggling can sound appealing, but it should always be carefully considered.
One example of failing to heed good counsel but listening to bad counsel is that of the ancient Israelite king Solomon’s son and successor, Rehoboam. In the Bible, the book of 1 Kings, in chapters 11 and 12, details Rehoboam being made king after Solomon died (1 Kings 11:48). As king, Rehoboam consulted with the elders, who advised him well about how to conduct himself as ruler over the nation. Sadly, he rejected their wise counsel (1 Kings 12:6–8) and instead sought the counsel of his young friends. Their poor and unwise counsel, which Rehoboam followed, resulted in the loss of ten of the twelve tribes of Israel, leaving him with Judah.
Psalm 1:1 declares, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.” A disheartening trait of human nature is a tendency to reject sound counsel in favor of unwise counsel that agrees with or supports what someone already wants over what is right. We often want to make our own decisions, but often fail to acknowledge our own limitations. This tends to lead us down wrong paths, which often ends in failure and heartache.
Ancient and modern history amply demonstrates the consequences of failure to heed warnings from a wise God given in the book of Deuteronomy. Through His servant Moses, God counseled Israel (and anyone who will listen) about both the good that results from obedience and the curses that result from rejecting His wise counsel. His counsel was put into the form of a song, which Moses taught the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 31:22).
This counsel predicted the many sufferings Israel would experience throughout their history because they would not heed God’s wise counsel. “For they are a nation void of counsel, nor is there any understanding in them. Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!” (Deuteronomy 32:28–29). If only our modern nations would consider the results of failing to heed God’s wise counsel.
The Hebrew word for void in the verse above means “to wander away, lose oneself, fail, perish, have no way to flee.” The word counsel means “advice, by implication plan; prudence,” and understanding means “intelligence, discretion, reason.” So, Israel wandered away without advice or a plan, and without intelligence and discretion.
Today’s modern nations follow bad counsel that is leading to our demise. Surveying the poor decisions and bad results, we conclude that our nations today are void of sound and wise counsel and are without understanding. The consequences of the decisions and actions of our leaders are piling up and leading to severe results.
Proverbs is a book of wisdom and counsel. But our nations have “disdained” God’s counsel (Proverbs 1:25, 30). Our leaders take counsel, but not of God, leading to more and more sin (Isaiah 30:1).
God’s counsel is in the pages of His Bible. To aid you in studying His word, be sure to enroll in the Tomorrow’s World Bible Study Course.