The 20s are a big transition for many people. College, moving away from parents, choosing a career path, discovering what you believe and why, relationships, and more. One of the most important pieces of advice I have received and, thankfully, implemented often is to seek wise counsel. And now that 30 and a whole new decade of learning experiences are around the corner, I don’t intend to stop seeking mature, godly, and wise counsel.
8. Seek Wise Counsel.
My mind keeps going back to an unfortunate note from history when a certain newbie king ascended the throne and made a complete fool of himself. Do you remember Rehoboam? King Solomon—the wisest man ever, except for the Lord Jesus Christ—left his rule to his son Rehoboam—a young man who had some apparent respect (and peer pressure) issues. (Solomon wasn’t Mr. Perfect either. He had his own sins and weaknesses, deviating from the path of obedience, and ignoring God’s great gift of wisdom by chasing after a ginormous harem, idol worship, political alliances, and seemingly everything else “under the sun.”)
Here’s what happened with Rehoboam:
“’Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.’ He said to them, ‘Go away for three days, then come again to me.’ So the people went away. Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, ‘How do you advise me to answer this people?’ And they said to him, ‘If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.’ But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him.” (1 Kings 12:6-8 ESV)
My point is not that younger friends or peers cannot also be wise and godly. I have many friends who fall into that category. But if wise Solomon consulted with these “older men,” shouldn’t that have been an obvious clue to Rehoboam? Typically, older individuals have seen, absorbed, and experienced more. And they’ve also, hopefully, learned the better road to follow.
“Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 11:14 NASB)
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” (Proverbs 12:15 NASB)
“Through insolence comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.” (Proverbs 13:10 NASB)
“He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof Will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.” (Proverbs 15:31-33 NASB)
“Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days. Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand.” (Proverbs 19:20-21 NASB)
History repeats itself. I’m sure you can think of many other situations where wise counsel was offered and then promptly ignored.
I’m not perfect. I haven’t always implemented or followed sound advice. I stand accountable before God for every decision I make, good or bad. We all do.
But this is where wise counsel comes in. Prevent sin. Set up barriers against expected temptations. Seek honest and available accountability. When hard decisions arise, ask questions and pursue guidance.
Unfortunately, most young people tend to listen more to their peers than to their seniors. As the old cliché has it—“too soon old, and too late smart.” So the cycle continues, generation after generation.
There have been godly exceptions, of course, such as Mary and Daniel and Timothy, and some today as well, who have maintained a strong stand and witness for God and His Word all their lives. As our text (written by King Solomon in his old age) indicates, youth can and should be a time of real joy, but the best joy is “the joy of the LORD” (Nehemiah 8:10). Such joy is true pleasure and happiness, and is much better than mere “fun.”
Don’t keep your blinders on and follow the hasty steps of Gandalf. Saruman? Really? C’mon. You think a wizard would know better! Just because Saruman is old and gray-haired doesn’t mean he’s wise or altruistic.
Be discerning—even picky—in choosing your counselor.
Chase after wisdom, not folly. Find someone you know and trust who will help you through the sticky times. Actively seek wise counsel.