I was watching a part of The Sound of Music on TV last week and I had a “yelling at the TV” moment. Liesl, the eldest Von Trapp daughter and her boyfriend, Rolfe, are singing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and Liesl sings, “I need someone older and wiser, telling me what to do. You are 17, going on 18, I’ll depend on you.” WHAT???!!! The LAST person a 16 year old girl needs telling her what to do is a 17 year old boy! And, yes, I actually yelled at the screen, “Are you CRAZY?!” 

The Bible clearly spells out the need for counsel, and a variety of it, in Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel [is], the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors [there is] safety. And Proverbs 15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

But not all counsel is equal. It is tempting, when seeking advice, to go to my friend or friends who I know feel the same way I do. Or to just speak to that person who will hear me out and say, “you do what you think is best.” If I am thinking of buying an outfit that is super cute but does not fit my age, shape or career, I need my sister with me because she will say, “No. Put it back on the rack.” She cares too much about me to let me embarrass myself with the outfit. How much more is sound and honest feedback necessary in life’s bigger decisions!

Remember the fairytale of the Emperor’s New Clothes? His “friends” were willing to let him run around naked to save their own pride. It took a humble, honest child to give it to him straight. We all need people who will be frank and honest with us – those who can say the hard things because we have built a relationship over time and because they truly want the best for us. 

There are times to seek professional counsel as well – for marital issues, addiction concerns, big purchases, a career change, childrearing advice and many other issues. 

Rehoboam’s example makes the perfect cautionary tale regarding seeking counsel. [See 1 Kings 12:4-15] After he was named king, the people came to him and asked for relief from the “heavy yoke” that Solomon had put upon the people. Rehoboam first consulted with the elders who had been there for his father, who advised to him lighten the people’s load. But, he, apparently did not like that advice and rejected it in favor of the advice given to him by his buddies – the guys he grew up with. The result was that he lost most of his kingdom to Jeroboam. Rehoboam needed to take the advice of the older and wiser men around him.

If you don’t know where to start in looking for wise counsel, I have good news for you. Jesus is named as our counselor before His human birth: 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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. We can begin with seeking His advice – including asking Him to lead us to wise counselors and to give us hearts to listen to the hard things we may need to hear.

God, alone, needs no advice. His own counsel is enough. Romans11:33-34 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

But, as for the rest of us, let’s try not to go with the example of Leisl or Rehoboam.

 I’d love to hear your thoughts too. Write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.