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(#39) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:14-Advice on “Advice”

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 11:14: “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

If by “counsel” one means advice, then more than one opinion is necessary for leadership to succeed. Government by only one opinion is destined to fail. The Israelites split their kingdom into North and South when Solomon died, and his son, Rehoboam, rejected the advice of the elders who had advised Solomon, and instead, heeded the advice by those who were his same age and inexperience (1 Kings 12:1-17). Even personally, decisions should be made with extra information involved from a proper source. Let’s not forget this is a Book of Proverbs of Solomon to whom God’s Wisdom had been given!

Other proverbs uphold this wisdom: “Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established” (Proverbs 15:22); “Plans are established by counsel; By wise counsel wage war” (Proverbs 20:18); “For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 24:6). Our plans fail “without counsel,” and no one should “wage war” without “wise counsel.” Some try to live completely free of “wise counsel,” and their lives end in wreck and ruin. Some try to rule by war “without counsel,” that is, impulsively, without considering from where the money or manpower will come, or having a strategy to win. The idea of a “multitude of counselors” simply emphasizes the need for considering all sources of knowledge possible before making the decision. A good way to lose a fight is to not observe and know your enemy!

There is a reason we need “second opinions:” when one doctor diagnoses a serious illness; or we are buying a vehicle; or choosing clothes; or making financial decisions; or choosing school classes. The reason is: they can give us information we may not know. This is the very reason we should turn to God’s Word and use every principle or recommendation of His we can apply. Under Moses’ Law, God decried the condition of His people when, as a nation, they became “void of counsel,” “without understanding,” who needed to be “wise” (Deuteronomy 32:28-29). Under Jesus Christ’s Law, the Apostle Paul said to the Elders of the Ephesian church of Christ, “I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). This is always needed, not just “in church,” but throughout society, as well!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

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