WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 30, 2021
TOPIC: BE CAREFUL WITH THE COUNSEL YOU FOLLOW
BY T. O. BANSO
“Then the men of David said to him, ‘This is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you’” (1 Samuel 24:4 New King James Version).
No man is an island to himself. We all live with people or have other people around us. We interact with and influence each other. Sometimes you will ask for people’s advice and sometimes they may offer you, unsolicited counsel. Whichever way you receive counsel from people, be careful with the counsel you follow
Not all pieces of advice are right. It is not every piece of advice people give you that is sound. Not every counsel that appears good may actually be when subjected to the test of the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, or societal laws. Therefore, be careful. Don’t be in haste to follow every counsel. Sometimes, the people you respect because of their spiritual maturity, age, or position may offer you the wrong counsel.
A supposedly good counsel is not the same as God’s counsel. If you follow wrong counsel, you will bear the consequences. You may blame others but it is useless passing the buck because the final decision rests with you. And blaming others doesn’t change anything.
Counsel is very important in life because nobody knows everything. Don’t be a Mr.-know-it-all or Mrs.-know-it-all. Do not be wise in your own opinion (Romans 12:16b). “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15 New King James Version). Proverbs 26:12 says, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (New King James Version).
Although you need counsel to succeed in life, you need wise counsel. Proverbs 20:18 says plans are established by counsel and by wise counsel wage war. “For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 24:6 New King James Version).
Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established” (New King James Version). But it must be wise advice. “The godly person gives wise advice, but the tongue that deceives will be cut off” (Proverbs 10:31 New Living Translation). Be careful with the advice you follow.
In Proverbs 1:8-19, the writer warns his son not to follow evil counsel. Don’t walk in the counsel of the ungodly. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:1-3 New King James Version).
While you should not follow sinful, ungodly counsel, don’t reject the counsel of God contained in His Word, the counsel of the Holy Spirit, and godly counsel. If you do, you will suffer the consequences. You cannot have your cake and eat it. There are consequences for every action. You will reap whatever you sow.
Because the Israelites rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High, He brought down their heart with labour; they fell down and there was none to help (Psalm 107:11-12). If you sow the wind, you will reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7a).
But God is a merciful God. His anger is not forever. When the Israelites cried out to Him in their trouble, He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke their chains in pieces (Psalm 107:13-14). But if they had followed His counsel, they would have saved themselves the suffering. They wouldn’t have gone through the trouble they suffered.
In 1 Kings 12, Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, didn’t prove that he learnt or inherited wisdom from his father. He rejected the counsel of the elders and followed the counsel of his contemporaries. He paid dearly for it. Because of his foolishness, the kingdom was divided during his time. He promised to add to the burden of the people and not reduce it as the people had requested as a condition for serving him. That was the height of foolishness. What leader would say that and his subjects or followers would praise or continue to serve?
The elders who served his father had advised him thus: “If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever” (1 Kings 12:7 New King James Version).
But the youths he consulted gave contrary advice. “Thus you should speak to this people who have spoken to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter on us’ — thus you shall say to them: ‘My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s waist! And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!’” (1 Kings 12:10-11 New King James Version). Consequently, the people revolted against him and the kingdom was divided.
Be careful with the counsel you follow. Amnon, the oldest son of David, died prematurely because he followed the advice of Jonadab on how to rape his half-sister, Tamar. If he were a godly person, he should have rebuked Amnon for his lust. But 2 Samuel 13:3 says Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, was a very crafty man. He advised Amnon how to rape his half-sister. Two years later, Absalom, Tamar’s brother from the same mother, murdered Amnon (verses 23-29).
Judge every advice by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Also, consider the laws governing society that don’t violate the Word of God, employee code of conduct, the ethics of your profession, and so on. Don’t follow any piece of advice that is contrary to these.
1 Samuel 24:4a says, “Then the men of David said to him, ‘This is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you’” (New King James Version). This was the advice of David’s men. They wanted him to kill Saul who was also chasing him everywhere to kill him.
This counsel looks very logical. If someone wants to kill you, if you have the opportunity, kill him before he kills you! They even spiritualize it thus, “This is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’” But there is no record of the LORD saying so.
Indeed, the LORD had anointed David as king of Israel in place of Saul by the hand of the prophet Samuel. Jonathan, Saul son, even assured David, his covenant friend, that he would be the king of Israel, and he would be next to him, as his father, Saul, was well aware (1 Samuel 23:17). In addition to what Saul had told Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:31 that he would never become king as long as David was alive, he also told David later that he knew that David would surely be king, and the kingdom of Israel would be established in his hand (1 Samuel 24:20). But nowhere in the Bible did God say what David’s men credited to Him.
David could have followed their counsel and killed Saul to ascend the throne that God had already anointed him for. But he refused to follow their counsel because he would not touch the LORD’s anointed. He restrained his men from harming Saul. He only secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe, which shows that he was close enough to him to have killed him. But David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. David had regard for the anointed. He didn’t follow the wrong counsel. God knew how he would remove Saul Himself and make David king. He left his case in the hands of God.
In 1 Samuel 26:8, David was given a similar counsel to kill Saul when there was another opportunity. “Then Abishai said to David, ‘God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!’” (Verse 8 New King James Version).
What was David’s reply? “But David said to Abishai, ‘Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless?’ David said furthermore, ‘As the LORD lives, the LORD shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’s anointed. But please, take now the spear and the jug of water that are by his head, and let us go’” (verses 9-11 New King James Version).
David refused to follow the advice to kill Saul on these two occasions and told Saul this to disabuse his mind about those who misinformed him that he was after his life. Saul’s reaction to the speech of David who spared his life for the second time was “I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly” (verse 21 New King James Version).
Saul further said to David in verse 25, “May you be blessed, my son David! You shall both do great things and also still prevail” (New King James Version). God fought for David. At the right time, He brought him to the throne – first as the king over the tribe of Judah and later as the king over the entire nation of Israel.
Don’t follow wrong and ungodly counsel. Be guided by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Also, be a law-abiding citizen. Avoid any advice that will make you breach the ethics of your profession or employee code of conduct.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me not to rebel against the words of God or despise the counsel of the Most High. Let me not be wise in my eyes and become a fool but let me heed wise counsel. Give me godly persons who will give me wise advice. Deliver me from evil counsellors. Father, help me to always be able to differentiate between a wise and godly counsel and a foolish and ungodly counsel.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947