Getting advice is a good thing. It’s a good idea to surround yourself with wise counselors because you never know when you’re going to run into a situation that you’ve never experienced before. But just because you’ve never experienced it doesn’t mean someone else hasn’t. And getting their opinion on how to handle the situation is invaluable, especially if whatever decision you have to make will affect more people than just yourself.
Everyone has advisors. Everyone has teachers and parents and friends who they listen to. Even in film. Luke Skywalker had Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi and the dubious influence of Han Solo. Jack Bauer has Chloe O’Bryan. Dr. House has his team of diagnosticians in training, although he really only keeps his own counsel. Maybe Dr. House is a bad example.
Having people you trust around you is important, and having people you trust who are experienced with life is even more important. Because you can draw from their wisdom. It makes no sense to fumble through life and make the same mistakes other people have made and suffer the same consequences someone else has. Because all you have to do is ask someone who went through the same thing so you can know how to avoid the same pitfalls.
Todays’ verse is Proverbs 19:20-21.
20 Get all the advice and instruction you can,
so you will be wise the rest of your life.
21 You can make many plans,
but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.
Get as much advice and instruction as you can. Surround yourself with wise people and learn from them. Learn from their success. Learn from their failure. Learn the right direction to travel and learn how to keep going, whether you lose everything or whether you gain everything (because either one can be devastating).
Get wisdom and then live a wise life.
Even the President has a cabinet of subject matter experts who he turns to when a situation exceeds his understanding. So why don’t we? Because when troubles come our way (if they haven’t already swept you off your feet, they will), we need the advice and support of our closest friends who have already been through the same struggle. And if you listen to their advice and do what they suggest, you have a good chance of surviving whatever circumstance you find yourself in.
I’m making the assumption that our counslors and advisors are believers, students of Scripture, seeking God actively in their life. If you want to live a successful, godly life, that’s the kind of counselor you need (and that’s the kind of counselor you need to be).
Now, that all being said, our focus needs to turn to verse 21. I think it’s funny that it is included in today’s passage because it’s actually a separate thought. Proverbs is full of short little one-liners. Many of them, I can imagine some little merchant saying or some grandma while she sits and darns socks. If you’ve ever watched Fiddler on the Roof, you can appreciate the value of a good (or even a not-so-good) proverb.
But verse 21 is an interesting reminder that no matter how much good advice you get, God’s purpose and plan will remain the same. And no matter how much wisdom we accumulate, God’s wisdom is still higher. And we can plan and plan and plan until our whole lives are just one big step-by-step process, but God is the one with the real master plan and if your plan doesn’t fit with His, your plan has to change. That’s the definition of a master plan.
By surrounding yourself with wise counselors who are familiar with biblical truth, you can gain wisdom and know how to handle the rough situations that life throws at you. But remember that no matter how wise you think you have become, God still knows more than you do.
And when it comes down to it, I would rather follow God’s plan than my own.