Saturday, June 23, 2007

Quiet Time Files - Wise Counsel edition

But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him.
2 Chron 10:8 (NASB)

Full passage: 1 Kings 12 and 2 Chronicles 10:1 – 11:17

Background: Rehoboam had just become king. A delegation came to him from his people complaining that his father, the previous king, had been hard on them. If Rehoboam would “ lighten the hard service”, the people would serve him willingly. Rehoboam’s father’s old advisers told him that if he would be kind to the people, they would serve him forever. Rehoboam’s own friends, however, counseled him to be even harder on the people, perhaps to assert his authority.

Rehoboam followed his friends’ advice, with disastrous consequences; the kingdom was eventually divided.

“Comptroller’s Office, Diane speaking.”

“Diane, I have a question for you…” My colleague goes on to describe a particular situation, and I explain how it needs to be handled.

Thirty seconds after I hang up, I hear the phone ring in MJ’s office, and I smile. The colleague with the question is calling MJ, since my answer apparently wasn’t what she was looking for. I’m smiling because I know MJ will tell her the same thing I did.

We laugh, but how often do we do something similar? We ask for advice, but really only want to hear things that agree with what we have already decided is the correct course of action. So we go from friend to friend, psychologist to psychologist, pastor to pastor, searching out counsel that will validate the path we’ve chosen.

Paul was speaking to the church when he wrote:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2 Tim 4:3-4 (NASB)

Still, the principle applies to us individually as well. We care less for hearing and following the truth than about having our ears tickled with words that agree with our own thinking. We chose our advisers not based on their proven wisdom and ability to think through an issue, but on how closely their thinking is aligned with ours. And as in the case of Rehoboam, the results are sometimes disastrous.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
Prov 12:15 (NASB)

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