How do you make good decisions in life? Even better said, "How do you make decisions that will not end in you falling on your face? That is what is addressed in the proverb for today. There is a way to be confident that your decisions will not come back to haunt you later. Let's take a look at what God's wisdom has to teach us today about this.
This proverb is all about being willing to seek and take advice. This does not mean that we cannot know what to do ourselves and do it, but it does warn against the person who thinks in all matters that what is in his own mind will suffice. This man does not seek counsel at all. When we read the passage it speaks of having "NO" guidance. The problem here is that we have a decision maker with an excessive amount of pride in his own thinking. The willingness to seek and accept advice is a plus - because godly counsel is a must if we are going to walk in God's ways. We even need to be able to hear and consider advice that we don't want. Some think that anyone they consider inferior to themselves is unable to offer counsel. That is a sure way to fall. It is when we have an abundance of godly counsellors in our life that we will have victory. The word for victory is "tesuah" and it means to have deliverance, safety, or victory. It speaks of a military context, of course, but goes beyond that one to also speak of deliverance from sin and from making foolish decisions that harm us later.
When thinking about this verse two examples come to mind. The first is that of Balaam. He sought after and received God's counsel (even though he did it by divination). But after receiving God's counsel - he decided after seeing the possibility of a huge payday from Balak, to ask God if He had any other ideas concerning cursing Israel. When God allowed Balaam to go (but only speak what God says) Balaam took it as far more freedom to do what he wanted (which was to make a lot of money from Balak). Since he would not take counsel from God - the Lord intended to kill him. Were it not for the counsel of his donkey - he would have been killed that next day. Balaam had what he wanted to do in his mind - and would not listen to God's counsel. Fortunately for him the advice the donkey he had just beaten got through to him for a while. Unfortunately for him - his donkey was not able to speak a second time to keep him from counselling Balak to send his women among the Israelites to get them to commit sexual immorality with the men - to get God to curse Israel. In the end, Balaam's desire for money and power cost him his life - and eternity in hell.
The second example is that of king Nebuhadnezzar from Babylon. His pride and arrogance was leading him down a very destructive path. He felt "he" was sovereign over his own life - and that all his power and authority had come from himself. First God sought to counsel him by giving him a strange dream - then Daniel interpretted it. Daniel let Nebuchadnezzar know that if he did not repent of his pride and arrogance, admitting that God alone was sovereign, he was about to experience life as a beast. Nebby listened, but did not take the advice. He fell from being king to being an ordinary beast of the field for 7 years. He ended that time by lifting his eyes and finally taking counsel to admit that God alone was sovereign. It took a while, but he learned that in the abundance of counsellors (God and Daniel) there is victory.
Where are you? Are you one who thinks that your own understanding is sufficient? Do you shun the offer of advice and counsel of godly men and women? If you are, I would encourage you to seriously consider today's proverb. It warns of a fall that is coming your way. It also gives you advice about having an abundance of godly counsellors to help you know wisdom - know victory - and know the favor and blessing of God. A wise man would take this counsel. A foolish man would seek no other guidance than that which his own mind produces - oh - and he will fall flat on his face eventually.