Recently, I was reading 2 Samuel 10 in my daily Bible reading. What a sad story. Because King Hanun listened to the bad advice of his princes, a series of battles followed that cost hundreds of lives.
I can’t help but compare this to Rehoboam in 1 Kings 12 or King Xerxes and Haman in the book of Esther. Even Absalom in 2 Samuel 17 is an example of following bad advice, even though we all cheer when we read his story, knowing that Hushai’s counsel was actually intentionally given to save the lives of King David and the people with him.
Considering all of these stories, I can’t help but come to a couple of conclusions.
Counsel is important.
There’s a lot of cockiness wrapped up in every one of the personalities mentioned above. Yet, each one of them sought counsel. Even with their high opinion of themselves, they still sought out the counsel of others.
Most of what we observe in the character and behavior of these men is not admirable, and we should not strive to emulate it. Except in this one thing. Like them, we should never be too proud to seek counsel.
But, we should remember a second reality that these men, sadly, ignored.
Our choice in counsel is even more important.
This is where I’ve been parked lately. How do I choose my counselors? Do I seek out those who will simply support what I already want to do? Do I look for the popular or easy to follow advice? Or do I see advisers that will steer me well, regardless of my desires?
The wise choice seems obvious, doesn’t it? Yet, so often that wisdom does not flow through into our practical choices. We instead surround ourselves with advisers and counselors who advise based on practical ideas or pros and cons or what they see will make us happiest or what will keep our relationships and status quo running smoothly.
The advice we need has nothing to do with the most practical option or even our happiness or relationships. It has to do with the will of the Lord. In fact, far more often than not, His will seems to completely contradict the practical and “obvious” route. His will involves trust even when the path is not clear. It involves obedience even when the results seem painful.
Godly advisers will help us know how to trust and obey. Are those the counselors we seek?