1. Need for Guidance
Everyone needs advice, no matter how experienced or knowledgeable they may be. Sooner or later we all need advice; because in some field or other we are at a loss to know what to do, which way to turn, how to decide. So we have to ask someone who knows. And the more readily available the advice the better. It is not necessary to prove this point because we all know how true it is.
Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellers there is safety.
2. Who to ask
Identifying one's need for advice is comparatively easy. The
problem is, whose advice to take. For, believe it or not, in every
field of human activity (agriculture, sport, science, economics
or health) there are many people ready to give advice - often
too many. The choice is so wide it's confusing.
But which one of the many to ask? Here are some guidelines to go by:
* First identify your need. What exactly are you after?
* Then ask yourself: What does the Bible say on the matter? Does the subject have spiritual implications?
* If the answer is YES then go to the section entitled Spiritual Decisions.
* If the issue doesn't have spiritual implications then:
Examine the benefits and the cost. What price will you have to pay in terms of cash, time, friendships, health etc. to achieve what you want? Write these down and analyse the facts. Make your own decision at this stage - if you can.
If in doubt locate the experts in the field, the ones who are manifestly better than others in the thing you are trying to achieve. Ask the advice of several experts and compare results; because even the experts have conflicting views.
Then do what the champions tell you.
3. Spiritual Decisions
If the subject of your interest has moral implications, in other words if ignorance could lead to you sinning, then seek counsel (advice) in prayer of the Almighty. He is a Wonderful Counsellor and His advice is recorded in the Scriptures.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Immutable Advice given under Oath
Hebrews 6:17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: (immutability = unchanging)
Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19: As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
However, few people take the Lord's Advice
Jeremiah 23:18-40 For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?
Proverbs 1:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
31: Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
4. Bad Advice
The tragic examples of people taking the wrong advice are legion. Here are a few examples. Consider the repercussions in each case.
Consider for a moment the terrible repercussions of Eve's foolishness in taking Satan's advice.
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2: And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4: And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6: And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Here is the story of a foolish young king taking the advice of his misguided associates. The result was he lost most of his kingdom.
2 Chronicles 10:9 And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us?
10: And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.
11: For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
12: So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day.
13: And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,
14: And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
15: So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
16: And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.
17: But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
18: Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
Israel's frightening decision to reject Christ Jesus
Matthew 27:22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
23: And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
24: When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
25: Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
26: Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Oh what a tragic decision Israel made by rejecting the Saviour in favour of Barabbas the murderer. The results are still being witnessed in these latter days. But, note this carefully, the nation of Israel was not totally rejected because of that blunder. Israel is still the Chosen of God!
5. Good Advice
The rewards of taking good advice are also enormous. Consider a few examples:
Genesis 41:25-45 ... And the thing (Joseph's advice) was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants.
Jethro / Moses
Exodus 18:13-24 Read this amazingly good advice. It has come down through the ages and now operates in the government departments of many nations.
1 Samual 25:32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:
33: And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.
Abigail later became the queen of Israel.
Acts 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5: And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6: And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
6. Giving Advice
It is more blessed to give than to receive. Giving good advice brings great blessing to the giver. In exactly the same way "It is more cursed to give bad advice than to receive it." Woe to those who give bad advice.
Jeremiah 23:9 Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.
10: For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right.
11: For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.
12: Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.
13: And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.
14: I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.
15: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. 16: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.
17: They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.
18: For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?
19: Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.
20: The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.
Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
7. Challenging Questions
* What is the subject? Has it spiritual implications? Will
ignorance of it lead me to sin?
* Can the Scriptures help me find the answer?
* Am I taking the advice of the people who really know?
* Have the results of previous advice I have taken from people like them proved beneficial or disastrous?
* Have I consulted God in prayer?
* Am I taking His advice or listening to blatant sinners who think nothing of breaking His law?
* What kind of advice am I giving to others?
By David B Loughran
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