Friday, July 14, 2023

Wise Counselors (Proverbs 11:14; 16:10–13; 28:2)

"Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Prov. 11:14).

Charles Bridges lived at a time when much of England still basked in the glow of the Reformation, but, like so many epochs in history, its influence had already begun to wane—at least among the nobility. Pastors like Bridges were greatly concerned by the injustices inflicted by the monarchy and the continued toleration of Roman Catholic doctrine by the state church. Bridges longed for a sovereign who would serve God and surround the throne with godly and righteous counselors. He mentions in his commentary on Proverbs 28:2 one man, named Mr. Pitt, who evidently tried to turn the political tide for the good. He praises this leader, saying he is one “of surpassing power and grasp of mind; evidently raised up at a grand national crisis for the prolongation of the state. Such men guided by Christian principle, we would pray might be the counselors of our beloved Sovereign, that her state be prolonged ‘in all godly quietness.’ ” Bridges understood how important it is for leaders to surround themselves with wise counselors. Like David and Solomon, like Pharaoh who benefited from the wise counsel of Joseph, leaders who seek the counsel of godly people will protect their kingdom, and their country, from the wickedness.

History is replete with examples of the need for wise counselors to advise national leaders. One ancient ruler, despite his questionable methods, grasped the importance of gathering trusted men to himself. Bridges relates the account in his commentary on Proverbs 16:10–13: “Constantius, the father of Constantine, tested the character of his Christian servants by the imperative command to offer sacrifices to his gods. Some sunk under the trial. Those, who had really ‘bought the truth,’ would sell it for no price. They were inflexible. [Instead of banishing the disobedient, Constantius exiled those who complied with the decree.] The true confessors he entrusted with the care of his own person. ‘These men’—said he—‘I can trust. I value them more than all my treasures.’ This was sound judgment. For who are so likely to be faithful to their king, as those that have proved themselves faithful to their God?” A leader who would be a blessing to his people surrounds himself with those endowed with the wisdom of God and committed to His purposes.

Read 1 Kings 12:1–24. Who were the two groups Rehoboam went to for counsel? Which group did he listen to? Why do you think he listened to the young men instead of the old? What were the consequences? Who do you go to for counsel? The next time you need advice, seek out the counsel of an older, more mature person.