Listen to advice and accept instruction - Proverbs 19:20a (ESV)
The night before his birthday, Harold laid in bed tossing and turning. For weeks he had been wanting his birthday to arrive, for weeks he had been asking if it was here yet, for weeks he had been driving people crazy, for weeks he had forgotten to figure out what he wanted and as a result he couldn't sleep.
Around 4:00 in the morning Harold decided to get out of bed. “I'm never going to get to sleep until I figure out what I want for my birthday,” he thought. “And I can't do it on my own.” A few minutes later Harold was on the phone calling all his friends over to help him decide what he wanted for his birthday.
Calling your friends at 4:00 in the morning is never a good idea and asking them to get dressed and come over to help figure out what you want for your birthday is even worse. For the most part all Harold got in reply was a click and a dial tone. Barney did manage to come over but he had to sneak out of his houses and the wasn't to happy about doing it for he wanted to sleep like everyone else.
Knowing they he would rather be in bed, Barney hoped Harold wouldn't take too long to make up his mind but he also knew that the only thing Harold was quick to do was eat and get into trouble. “Hurry up and choose already!” Barney told him as he sat down at the kitchen table with him and grabbed a couple of tooth picks to prop his eyes open.
“I wish I could but I can't,” Harold told barney, “That's why I called everybody over here.” “So where is everybody than?” Barney asked with a yawn. “They didn't want to come,” Harold answered, “They wanted to go back to bed and sleep.” “Well, so do I!” Barney growled, “So hurry up and choose already.”
“I need your help coming up with some good ideas.” Harold explained to Barney, “What ever I decide to get has to fit me perfectly.” “An all you can eat pizza for a year coupon should fit you perfectly.” Barney told him, “Now can I get back to bed?” “I'll already get to eat all the pizza I want and to tell you the truth I'm getting sick of pizza.” Harold said, shaking his head.
“What about a bed?” Barney suggested next. “No,” Harold shook his head again, “I just got a new one, besides, I have no room in my bedroom for one.” Well,” Barney yawned, “I'll take the bed and crawl in it. I'm tired.”
“What I really want is something I don't have.” Harold told Barney “Like a pet.” “Than get a pet.” Barney said and then closed his eyes. “But what kind of pet should I get?” Harold asked Barney but the only response he got from Barney was a loud snore. As Harold got up to go to bed he heard a rattle from the garbage cans behind his house and then he got a whiff of a rather unpleasant odor. “That's it!” He exclaimed, “I know what kind of pet I want.”
Have you ever had to make a decision? Have you ever had to decide if you would get out of bed or what you would wear once you got out of bed? Have you ever decided what you would eat or where you would go? Have you ever decide on what you would like for your birthday or if you should go to battle?
When you make your decisions do you make blind choices in a hurry or do you take your time and carefully think things through. Do you seek the advice or counsel of others, of God or do you make all your decisions strictly on your own. Let's look to Jehoshaphat as an example - twice.
1 Kings 22:1-7 For three years Syria and Israel continued without war. But in the third year Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. And the king of Israel said to his servants, "Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, and we keep quiet and do not take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?" And he said to Jehoshaphat, "Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?" And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses." And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "Inquire first for the word of the LORD." Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, "Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?" And they said, "Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king." But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?" (ESV)
2 Kings 3:9-12 So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. And when they had made a circuitous march of seven days, there was no water for the army or for the animals that followed them. Then the king of Israel said, "Alas! The LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab." And Jehoshaphat said, "Is there no prophet of the LORD here, through whom we may inquire of the LORD?" Then one of the king of Israel's servants answered, "Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah." And Jehoshaphat said, "The word of the LORD is with him." So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him. (ESV)
When it comes to making decisions, it is a great idea to get advice from others. Look at these verses from Proverbs, written by the wisest king of Israel.
- Proverbs 11:14 - Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory. (NASB)
- Proverbs 12:15 - The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel. (NASB)
- Proverbs 15:22 - Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success. (NLT)
- Proverbs 19:20 - Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days. (NASB)
Here's Something To Ponder
- Do you seek out help when making decisions?
- Is God one of those whom you ask for advice?