Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 20:18 Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.

Good advice is necessary for good decision-making, and good advice is only gotten from good counselors. Solomon here taught you to submit your major plans to the scrutiny and criticism of wise counselors, who can save you from disappointment and trouble. This is true wisdom – to deliberate before you act, and to establish your plans by wise counsel.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, for your deceitful heart convinces you that your plans are brilliantly devised and certain to succeed (Pr 16:2,25; 18:17; 21:2; 28:11; Jer 17:9). You must use a multitude of counselors for safety (Pr 11:14; 15:22; 24:6).  Rushing forward in heady pride is foolish and will soon cost you. If you are prone to be impulsive and hasty by temperament or training, you must doubly heed this warning.

It is a sin to be hasty in spirit, in speech, or in action (Pr 14:29; 29:20; 19:2). Haste is destructive, as a common adage says, haste makes waste (Pr 21:5; 25:8). Paul condemned a sinful trait he called heady, which is to impetuously and rashly rush ahead in some activity or choice recklessly (II Tim 3:4). Slow down to get counsel and good advice.

If you neglect seeking counsel, you are proud, heady, hasty, or foolish. If you reject counsel you have been given, you are rebellious or stubborn. If you avoid counsel for fear of its criticism, your heart is foolishly involved in a risky proposition – you are already emotionally attached to a plan. It is foolish to get your heart involved before your head.

The only perfect counselor is the Lord (Is 9:6). But He has not left you without other counselors. You have His perfect Word, which can make you wise (Ps 19:7-11; 119:98-100). You have His ministers, who can be perfect counselors by His Word (II Tim 3:16-17; Mal 2:7). You have parents, who usually have much greater wisdom and experience, and they also have strong motivation to save you from trouble (Ex 18:13-27). You have friends and brethren who are known for wisdom (Pr 20:25; 27:9-10; Acts 15:1-6).

What kind of counselors do you seek and use for your weighty decisions? Though older men are not always wise (Job 32:9), they generally are wiser (Job 12:12). A saint is better than a pagan, if there are any moral considerations at all; they should have God’s wisdom in their heart and the highest degree of concern for your safety and prosperity. Look for critical counselors for sure, for the landscape is littered with the corpses of optimists.

When a plan or purpose is established, it is made stable, secure, and permanent. It has a solid foundation for the future, and this is obtained by good counsel. When plans and purposes are pursued without good counsel, they are usually disappointed (Pr 15:22). How can you avoid the mistakes that so many make? By keeping this proverb diligently!

Merely seeking counsel to fulfill this proverb is not enough, for you must also listen to the advice and follow it. Otherwise, the whole mechanism of safety and success is violated and overthrown. Rehoboam sought counsel, but he rejected the advice of the wise men who had counseled his father (I Kgs 12:1-19). And he lost the kingdom for it.

A multitude of counselors is not needed for every decision, and you can see this by the inclusion of war in the proverb. War is the weightiest decision made by men, for it determines the lives and futures of whole nations, with enormous hardships. It should only be pursued after thorough counsel from many angles (Luke 14:31-32). So the lesson does not apply to all decisions, but rather to those of serious consequence and risk.

But matters like marriage are certainly worthy of counsel. The pain and consequences can be horrible; most people entering marriage have no experience at it, so they need the good advice of others (Pr 19:13). An uninvolved third party can save you much grief in this decision, and he or she can probably spot potential problems more easily than you.

Other matters like business ventures, employment changes, housing moves, health issues, child training, investment alternatives, and similar plans should be subject to counsel. Why would you rush ahead in such large decisions without seeking good advice? The consequences of mistakes in these decisions far outweigh the hurt pride of correction.

A multitude of counselors is the wisest course, for they will give you much to think about from different perspectives and a variety of experiences. If their counsel is shared with a wise man, it will result in even better counsel. The bottom line should be found by considering the overall weight of answers, the answers of the wisest counselors, and the advice on the most important aspects of your plan or purpose.

Of course, this choice to seek counsel takes time. It also requires humility to ask others for their opinion, implying your need of their assistance. Such caution is prudent discretion, and such humility is wisdom. Do not let men or devils convince you that you cannot afford the time or that you can make better decisions than counselors yourself.

Young man, you need wise counsel more than most. Folly and vanity are still bound in your heart, and sober counsel can save you from much trouble and pain. Older man, you are not above this lesson, for the hearts of all men are deceptively dangerous (Jer 17:9). It is pride, not principle, that keeps you from seeking counsel and testing your own plans.

The ultimate counselor is the Holy Spirit, Who guides you by the Bible, not feelings. It is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Ps 119:105). If you submit your plans to the Lord, He will establish your thoughts (Pr 16:3; 3:5-6). If your heart is in fellowship with Him, you can move ahead with plans, submitting all to His will (Pr 16:9; Jas 4:13-15).

The more you learn the word of God, the more wisdom you will have (Ps 19:7-11; 119:98-100; Is 8:20). And this book of Proverbs is filled with the wisdom of the wisest man with the most experiences in life, and he wrote by the inspiration of God (Pr 1:1-9). The Lord Jesus Christ has all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and the closer you are walking with Him, the more wisdom you will have yourself (Col 2:8).

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