*Advice of parents often helpful
Esau married pagan women, and this upset his parents greatly. Most parents can be a storehouse of good advice, because they have a lifetime of insight into their children’s character. You may not agree with everything your parents say, but at least talk with them and listen carefully. This will help avoid the hard feelings Esau experienced. (NLT)
Genesis 26:34-35 – At the age of forty, Esau married a young woman named Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hittite. He also married Basemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite. But Esau’s wives made life miserable for Isaac and Rebekah.
* Always seek God’s advice.
Jacob spoke of God as his shepherd throughout his life. In his old age, he could clearly see his dependence upon God. This marks a total attitude change from that of his scheming and dishonest youth. To develop an attitude like Jacob’s, let God shepherd you as you trust in his provision and care. When you realize that all good things come from God, you can quit trying to grab them for yourself. (NLT)
Genesis 48:15 – Then he blessed Joseph and said, “May God, the God before whom my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac, walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life…
* Be careful about negativism in advice
The negative opinion of 10 men caused a great rebellion among the people. Because it is human nature to accept opinion as fact, we must be especially careful when voicing our negative opinions. What we say may heavily influence the actions of those who trust us to give sound advice. (NLT)
Numbers 13:33-14:4 – We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and that’s what we looked like to them!” Then all the people began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of complaint against Moses and Aaron. “We wish we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they wailed. “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and little ones will be carried off as slaves! Let’s get out of here and return to Egypt!” Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a leader and go back to Egypt!”
* Don’t be too quick to reject advice
Evaluate advice carefully, comparing advice to the teaching in God’s Word. The advice may be God’s message. (NLT)
Numbers 14:6-10– Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to the community of Israel, “The land we explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey, and he will give it to us! Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”
But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites from above the Tabernacle.
* Seek God’s advice even in minor issues
When the leaders sampled these men’s provisions, they saw that the bread was dry and moldy, the wineskins were cracked, and the clothes and sandals worn out. But they did not see through the deception. After the promise had been made and the treaty ratified, the facts came out—Israel’s leaders had been deceived. God had specifically instructed Israel to make no treaties with the inhabitants of Canaan. As a strategist, Joshua knew enough to talk to God before leading his troops into battle. But the peace treaty seemed innocent enough, so Joshua and the leaders made this decision on their own. By failing to seek God’s guidance and rushing ahead with their own plans, they had to deal with angry people and an awkward alliance. (NLT)
Joshua 9:14-17 – So the Israelite leaders examined their bread, but they did not consult the Lord. Then Joshua went ahead and signed a peace treaty with them, and the leaders of Israel ratified their agreement with a binding oath.
Three days later, the facts came out—these people of Gibeon lived nearby! The Israelites set out at once to investigate and reached their towns in three days. The names of these towns were Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim.
* How to carefully evaluate advice
Rehoboam asked for advice, but he didn’t carefully evaluate what he was told. If he had, he would have realized that the advice offered by the elders was wiser than that of his peers. To evaluate advice, ask if it is realistic, workable, and consistent with biblical principles. Determine if the results of following the advice will be fair, make improvements, and give a positive solution or direction. Seek counsel from those more experienced and wiser. Advice is helpful only if it is consistent with God’s standards. (NLT)
1 Kings 12:6-14 – Then King Rehoboam went to discuss the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”
The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to serve the people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.” But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and who were now his advisers. “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?”
The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist—if you think he was hard on you, just wait and see what I’ll be like! Yes, my father was harsh on you, but I’ll be even harsher! My father used whips on you, but I’ll use scorpions!’ ”
Three days later, Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had requested. But Rehoboam spoke harshly to them, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father was harsh on you, but I’ll be even harsher! My father used whips on you, but I’ll use scorpions!”
* Following bad advice can cause disaster.
Rehoboam lost the chance to rule a peaceful, united kingdom because he rejected the advice of Solomon’s older counselors, preferring the counsel of his peers. Rehoboam made two errors in seeking advice: (1) He did not give extra consideration to the suggestions of those who knew the situation better than he, and (2) he did not ask God for wisdom to discern which was the better option.
It is easy to follow the advice of our peers because they often feel as we do. But their view may be limited. It is important to listen carefully to those who have more experience than we do—they can see the bigger picture. (NLT)
2 Chronicles 10:1-15 – Rehobaom went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of Solomon’s death, he returned from Egypt, for he had fled to Egypt to escape form King Solomon. The leaders of Israel sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel went together to speak with Rehoboam. “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.” Rehoboam replied, “Come back in three days for my answer.” So the people went away.
Then King Rehoboam went to discuss the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?” the older counselors replied, “If you are good to the people and show them kindness and do your best to please them, they will always be your loyal subjects.”
But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and who were now his advisers. “What s your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?” the young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist—if you think he was hard on you,, just wait and see what I’ll be like! Yes, my father was harsh on you, but I’ll be even harsher! My father used whips on you, but I’ll use scorpions!’ ”
Three days later, Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had requested. But Rehoboam spoke harshly to them, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father was harsh on you, but I’ll be even harsher! My father used whips on you, but I’ll use scorpions!” So the king paid no attention to the people’s demands. This turn of events was the will of God, for it fulfilled the prophecy of the Lord spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat by the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.
* Don’t seek God’s advice if you’re going to ignore it
Wicked Ahab asked Jehoshaphat to join forces with him in battle. Before making that commitment, Jehoshaphat rightly sought God’s advice. However, when God gave his answer through the prophet Micaiah, Jehoshaphat ignored it. It does us no good to seek God’s advice if we ignore it when it is given. Real love for God is shown, not by merely asking for direction, but by following that direction once it is given. (NLT)
2 Chronicles 18:3-8 – “Will you join me in fighting against Ramoth-gilead?” Ahab asked. And Jehoshaphat replied, “Why, of course! You and I are brothers, and my troops are yours to command. We will certainly join you in battle.” Then Jehoshaphat added, “But first let’s find out what the Lord says.”
So King Ahab summoned his prophets, four hundred of them, and asked them, “Should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead or not?” they all replied, “Go ahead, for God will give you a great victory!” But Jehoshaphat asked, “Isn’t there a prophet of the Lord around, too? I would like to ask him the same question.” King Ahab replied, “There is still one prophet of the Lord, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but bad news for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah.” “You shouldn’t talk like that,” Jehoshaphat said. “Let’s hear what he has to say.” So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Quick! Go and get Micaiah son of Imlah.”
* Test others’ advice against God’s Word
Although it is wise to seek advice, we must also carefully weigh the advice we receive. Ahaziah had advisers, but they were wicked and led him to ruin. When you seek advice, listen carefully and use God’s Word to “test everything . . . . Hold on to what is good.” (NLT)
2 Chronicles 22:4-5 – He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab had done. After the death of his father, members of Ahab’s family became is advisers, and they led him to ruin.
* Understand a person’s situation before giving advice
Eliphaz was correct—it is a joy to be disciplined (chastened) by God when we do wrong. Eliphaz’ advice, however, did not apply to Job. As we know from the beginning of the book, Job’s suffering was not a result of some great sin. We sometimes give people excellent advice only to learn that it does not apply to them and is therefore not very helpful. All who offer counsel from God’s Word should take care to thoroughly understand a person’s situation before giving advice. (NLT)
Job 5:17 – “But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the chastening of the Almighty when you sin.”
* Some need compassion more than advice
Job said that Eliphaz’s advice was like eating the tasteless white of an egg. When people are going through severe trials, ill-advised counsel is distasteful. They may listen politely, but inside they are upset. Be slow to give advice to those who are hurting. They often need compassion more than they need advice.
Job 6:6-7 – People complain when there is no salt in their food. And how tasteless is the uncooked white of an egg! My appetite disappears when I look at it; I gag at the thought of eating it!
* Seek advice from those with more wisdom & experience
It is natural and good for children, as they grow toward adulthood, to become increasingly independent of their parents. Young adults, however, should take care not to turn a deaf ear to their parents—to reject their advice just when it is needed most. If you are struggling with a decision or looking for insight, check with your parents or other older adults who know you well. Their years of experience may have given them the wisdom you seek. (NLT)
Proverbs 6:20-23 – My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s teaching. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. Wherever you walk, their counsel can lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up in the morning, they will advise you. For these commands and this teaching are a lamp to light the way ahead of you. The correction of discipline is the way to life.
* – Words from a good person are valuable (“sterling silver”). A lot of poor advice is worth less than a little good advice. It is easy to get opinions from people who will tell us only what they think will please us, but such advice is not helpful. Instead, we should look for those who will speak the truth, even when it hurts. Think about the people to whom you go for advice. What do you expect to hear from them? (NLT)
Proverbs 10:20 – The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless.
* Seeking advice from everyone but God
The rebellious children are the people of Judah, those who have rebelled against God. The negotiations for an alliance were underway, and Isaiah condemned their twisted plans. The people of Judah sought advice from everyone but God. When we are driven by fear, we tend to search everywhere for comfort, advice, and relief, hoping to find an easy way out of our troubles. Instead, we should consult God. Although he gives emergency help in a crisis, he prefers to be our guide throughout our life. By reading his word and actively seeking to do his will, we can maintain our bond with him who provides stability no matter what the crisis. (NLT)
Isaiah 30:1 – “Destruction is certain for my rebellious children,” says the Lord. “You make plans that are contrary to my will. You weave a web of plans that are not from my Spirit, thus piling up your sins.”
* Love often means giving tough advice
Jesus showed genuine love for this man, even though he knew that the man might not follow him. Love is able to give tough advice; it doesn’t hedge on the truth. Christ loved us enough to die for us, and he also loves us enough to talk straight to us. If his love were superficial, he would give us only his approval; but because his love is complete, he gives us life-changing challenges. (NLT)
Mark 10:21 – Jesus felt genuine love for this man as he looked at him. “You lack only one thing,” he told him. “Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
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