“Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward (stand before God for the people), that thou mayest bring the causes (disputes) unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide (select) out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, [to be] rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons (times): and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.”Exodus 18:19-23
I was taught by my dad that it never hurts to listen to advice, but the important part is discerning the advice to see if it is valid and applicable. One of the biggest pet peeves people have is getting unsolicited advice. I have been given advice on all types of things from how to improve my marriage to how to get oil off of concrete. I have sometimes asked for this advice, but most often people wish to share it with me, regardless of whether I have asked or not. I know people from whom I value advice, and I have come to know others who I try to avoid when I need advice.
Proverbs 11:14 states, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” I have come to know my wife as a wise counselor, and I often go to her for advice on various things, ranging from the color of my tie to whether or not I should apply for another job. She has been instrumental in giving me good advice, and I would be foolish not to listen to her. I have wrestled with things only to seek her advice and find peace about a decision that I needed to make. I am also grateful for friends in whom I can confide, and who also are good sounding boards in getting advice. I have learned that it is not the amount of advice you get. but the quality of advice you get, and there is no sounder advice than the advice from God’s word.
We can ask for advice in ways that lead people to answer how we want them to, instead of truly seeking sound advice. I remember when cell phones became somewhat affordable and I really wanted a flip phone that could easily fit in my pocket. We went to the mall to look around, and I wandered into the Radio Shack. In the front of the store, they had a Motorola phone that was speaking to me, and I was determined to not leave the mall until I had it. I told Rebekah my need for this phone. She pointed out to me the fact that I already had a phone, but I told her it was not a flip phone. I went on and on and she grew weary of my sales pitch. She did not sign off on me getting the phone, but told me I could do whatever I wanted.
I got the cell phone and it turned out to be a huge fight. I was wrong to override my wife’s input. I was not asking for her advice, but I was just wanting her to agree with me on what I already had decided to do. Very soon after purchasing the phone, I lost it at a restaurant on Valentine’s Day, and I ended up pulling out my old phone and using it. Rebekah never said “I told you so”, but my guilty conscience told me such. I was a fool not to listen, and I try to not make that same mistake again. Moses listened to the wise advice of his father-in-law, Jethro, and did what he suggested. Jethro knew Moses was not intended to carry the full burden of the children of Israel, and he recommended a plan that would help both Moses and the people. Moses listened to Jethro’s advice and it saved his health and allowed him to endure in the work God had called him to do.
Who are you listening to? Are you taking advice from the local talk show host or are you asking those who are walking with God? Do you truly seek God’s will or do you ask simply to find someone who agrees with you? How do you react when someone disagrees with what you want to do? Do you disregard them or do you take it to heart? Are you asking God for direction or are you simply begging Him to get your way? May we be careful in choosing whom we ask for advice, and may we always test the advice we are given and compare it to the truth of God’s word. May we heed and surrender to godly counsel, and may we bathe our decisions in prayer. God is always speaking, but we must take the time to listen to Him.