“Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” (1 Samuel 18:1, NKJV)
Jonathan (the son of king Saul) and David were dear friends. Jonathan did not see David as a threat, far from it. Their souls were knit together, even closer than brothers (Prov. 18:24). Friendship is a marvelous blessing to be cultivated and nurtured. Like Jonathan and David, friends are more than neighbors. Friends are familiar, trusted, and devoted as they share life (1 Sam. 18:3-4; Ps. 41:9). Jonathan and David’s friendship was strong due to their common mind and faith. Their love for one another was great (1 Sam. 18:3-4; 2 Sam. 1:25-26). When Jonathan’s father Saul threatened David’s life, Jonathan endangered himself to protect his friend (1 Sam. 20:4, 16-42). Facebook may say you have many “friends,” but the Bible defines true friendship differently. Consider the following: (1) A friend gives sound counsel even when it hurts. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Prov. 27:6). A friend does not try to manipulate you. A friend’s counsel may hurt, but its goal is to help us, and so, “the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel” (Prov. 27:9). (2) Choose your friends carefully. “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Prov. 12:26). Like Jonathan and David, a shared faith will see you and your friend through life’s trials (1 Sam. 20:12-17). Friends can also hinder your faithfulness to God (1 Cor. 15:33). Choose wisely. (3) Be a friend to Jesus. “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). Jesus will be your true friend. Are you His? Obey Him and it will be so.
7 I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons. 8 I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. 10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:7–11, NKJV)
Who is your counsellor? God had become David’s counsellor. God’s word instructed David and turned his heart to thankful praise for God’s guidance and assurances. In the night, David’s emotions yearned for God’s continual presence. The guidance and powerful comfort of God’s hand enriched his heart with gladness, removing doubts during troublesome times. David was secure because God was with him (“I shall not be moved,” v. 8). He lived in the hope of future life with God beyond the grave. God would make it so. His “Holy One” would not see corruption. David’s hope was fulfilled when Jesus, his seed, was resurrected (v. 10; Acts 2:27, 31; 13:35-37). David’s hope stirs our souls to follow the example of his faith. God’s “path of life” is where we, too, have “fullness of joy” in God’s presence (v. 11; 2 John 9; 2 Cor. 6:16-18). God’s word is the path of life that leads to eternal pleasures under the watchful guidance of God’s mighty hand (v. 12). Like David, let us praise God for the counsel of His word and rejoice in the hope set before us (Heb. 6:18-19).
13 A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. 14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:13–14, NKJV)
The word of God makes a clear distinction between spreading rumors about others (gossip) and seeking counsel from faithful souls who respectfully and scripturally advise (without sinfully violating confidences). Gossip and tale bearing are the sins of meddlers who spread information that is not theirs to spread (2 Thess. 3:11-12; 1 Pet. 4:15). Tale bearing exposes impure motives from a heart that is often bitter, resentful, vindictive, and even hateful. On the other hand, there is certainly value in wise counsel, and we are taught to seek it out and follow it (Prov. 1:5; 9:9; 12:15; 15:22; 19:20; 20:18; 24:6; 27:9). Asking advice from another personal is not automatically gossip or spreading rumors. Seeking out wise counsel on how to handle a matter in a godly way may indeed necessitate sharing certain information about the parties involved. Requesting such assistance must come from a heart set on doing God’s will without being clouded and driven by sinful motives. Seek out counselors who are trustworthy (“a faithful spirit”), who give sound counsel, and who do not make matters worse by revealing things (tale bearing) that ought to be concealed (Prov. 17:9).
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” (Proverbs 13:20, NKJV)
It has been said that courage is contagious. Wise king Solomon said wisdom is, too. Of course, neither courage nor wisdom can be forced into someone’s heart. We must be willing to accept their influence. That’s where choosing to be around people who make wise choices comes into play. Connect with wise people. Watch, listen, and ask their counsel. It will help you become wiser. At the same time, walking life with wise people helps you escape the calamities that confront fools. “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33, ESV). Truly, who we spend time with matters! It is no wonder the psalmist said, “Blessed in the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” (Psalm 1:1). The ungodly are truly foolish about what matters most (Titus 2:11-12). Walk with those who live wisely. Seek and follow heavenly wisdom and you will be blessed with wisdom (Ephesians 5:15; James 3:13-18).
20 “Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, 21 That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?” (Proverbs 22:20–21, NKJV)
God’s word repeatedly extols the virtues of wise counsel that comes from God’s words of truth. Wisdom is not merely knowing something is true. Wisdom is correctly and consistently applying one’s knowledge of truth to life’s situations and circumstances. Wisdom is not merely something to possess, it is something we must apply. As James said, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13). The proverbs are a case in point. These general maxims of life do us little good until we practice them. When followed, their wise counsel leads us down constructive and righteous paths. The wisdom of God is contained in the certainty of His words of truth. We see that one’s attitude toward truth is integral to shaping wisdom within the heart. If we refuse to bend and shape ourselves to the truth of God’s word we will inevitably make foolish, hurtful, and sinful choices. To be wise we must listen to and follow the wise counsel of God’s truth. Write His words on your heart and follow them (Hebrew 8:10; 10:16). They will equip you with wisdom for life’s endeavors and insight to sustain you as you face life’s challenges.
5 A wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; 6 For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 24:5–6, NKJV)
The strength of godly wisdom is mightier that muscle and sinew. By wisdom God powerfully created the world (Prov. 8:22-31; Jeremiah 10:12). Wisdom prompts us to fear the Lord and turn away from evil (Job 28:28; Proverbs 9:10). We are wise to seek counsel from those who fear God, who hate evil, and who have our best interests at heart. Multiply such counselors and you will find safety in their guidance. The wisdom of the world is empty and foolish and gives no thought to the will of the Lord (1 Corinthians 2:6; 3:19). When faced with decisions that affect your life and eternally, whose advice do you trust? Those who live for the world and hold its values and goals, or those who fear God and value the blessings that come from following His word? Choose your counselors wisely.
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. (Proverbs 13:1, NKJV)
Father’s Day is a good time for fathers to remember their God-given work as teachers, guides, and disciplinarians (Ephesians 6:4). Far too many fathers have abandoned their responsibilities as fathers. According to the US Census Bureau (as reported by fatherhoodfactor.com), “23.6% of US children (17.4 million) lived in father absent homes in 2014.” Many factors produce this number, but there is little doubt that a leading reason for fatherless homes is fathers who reject their role in the home. Let us urge and help fathers to fulfill their work that is so vital for successful families. Father’s Day is also a good time for children to honor their fathers by remembering to accept and follow their scriptural, godly, and wise counsel. Fathers want their children to avoid the mistakes they made. Fathers want their children to live with understanding. Godly fathers want their children to be successful in life, and more importantly, in eternity. So, they teach, train and discipline their children. The child who scoffs at his father’s wise and timely teaching shows his own foolishness. Your father’s instruction is for your benefit and progress. Give honor to your father by heeding his instruction.
“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.” (Proverbs 27:9, NASB95)
One of the blessings of true friend is their counsel and advice. When your soul is heavy, a friend offers guidance that will lift it heavenward. A good friend does not always tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. Cherish such a friend. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Prov. 27:6). Better to be wounded by a friend’s godly advice, than to be coddled and flattered by deceptive encouragement. When someone is more interested in supporting you in sinful attitudes or conduct, that is not a true friend. Friends do not have a hidden agenda; your soul is their agenda. They speak the truth to you, not because it is always easy, but because it is right and is the best for you (Eph. 4:25). If you want a friend who gladdens your heart, then be that kind of friend to others. “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (Prov. 18:24).
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. 24 You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” (Psalm 73:23–24, NKJV)
Even though it often appears that the arrogant and ungodly are rewarded with prosperity and ease in this life, Asaph the psalmist came to understand the ultimate outcome of the ungodly is complete destruction and sudden desolation (Psa. 73:1-20). When you see the wicked person prosper in his prideful disregard of God, you must remember there is more to life than the here and now. Eternity looms ahead, and you must continue to trust in the Lord to uphold you with His powerful hand, and to guide you with His holy counsel. When you follow the guidance of God’s holy word, He will receive you into eternal glory. “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:10-11).
23 O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. 24 O Lord, correct me, but with justice; Not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing. (Jeremiah 10:23–24, NKJV)
God’s prophet declares a singular truth: Human beings do not innately possess the knowledge, wisdom and perception to correctly direct our lives before God. Simply put, we cannot save ourselves. Nevertheless, men and women have tried to do so for millennia. Yet, only by accepting God’s correction and following His discipline are we able to walk in the peace of His eternal blessings. Since we cannot direct our own steps, psychoanalysis will not give people the ultimate answers they are searching for in their lives. Peeling back the layers of one’s own mind and emotions will not adequately provide the answers, the correction, and direction to life that brings peace with God. And, isn’t that the peace we ought to desire the most? The answers to life are not found within oneself. They are found in the word of God. By disciplining our hearts and lives according to the teachings of the Bible, we will not only get to know ourselves, but more importantly, we will get to know God and how to live in His salvation.