February 16, 2013

“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsel. Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! Psalm 81:11-13

When I was young, I could not wait to grow up.  I remember day dreaming about the time when I could have my own things and make my own decisions.  I felt very constrained as a child.  My parents decided when and where we would go.  They decided what I would eat and what I would wear.  They decided what activities that I was allowed to be involved in.  They made my work schedule.  They treated me as a child when I wanted to be treated as an adult.  I could not wait to be an adult and to experience the associated freedoms.

I realize now that I had a wonderful childhood.  I would not want to change any of it.  My parents loved me and nurtured me.  I am deeply grateful for the childhood that they gave me.  Yet, I still wanted to grow-up even though I had a wonderful childhood.

Adulthood was my escape.  In adulthood, I would be allowed to make my own decisions.  It was not that my parents were poor decision makers.  They made very good decisions.  I just wanted to make my own decisions.  However, it was never about decisions.  My desire for adulthood was rooted in control.  I wanted to be free to do what I wanted to do.

Adulthood has not turned out to be as magical as I had thought.  The freedom of making my own decisions is not as liberating as I thought it would be.  Escaping the shackles of my parents has only revealed the heavier yoke of adulthood.

I never realized the weight of adult uncertainty until I became an adult.  I had always thought that adults just did whatever they wanted to do.  I now know that is not true.  Adults have to do a lot of things that they don’t particularly care to do.

I had always thought that adults just knew the right thing to do.  I think that is one of the greatest ruses that adults play on children.  I always thought my parents knew what they were doing.   They did not.  They were figuring it out as they went along.  I have come to realize that clarity does not accompany adulthood.  We all are doing the best we can with the information and resources that we have available to us.

Bible Study 2

Bible Study 2 (Photo credit: DrGBB)

Just as my childish view of adulthood revealed my desire for control, how you view the Bible reveals your attitude about God.

There are many people who view the Bible as a book of “don’ts”.  They view it like a child views his parent.  It is a book that is removing their freedom. It is a book that tells them what they can’t do and what they have to do.  It is a book that treats them like children when all they want to be is an adult.  That sort of attitude can lead to day-dreaming about activities and a life free from those oppressive constraints.  Many have felt that if they were just free to follow their own counsel then they would be happy and satisfied.

The refusal to walk in the ways of the Lord is not about decisions it is about a heart battling for control.  We want to do what we want to do.

How do we know what is the right thing to do?  We all have a choice.  We can either follow our own counsel or the counsel of God to decide what the right thing is.

My counsel comes from me.  I don’t know anything beyond my experience.  Therefore, my counsel is an undulating wave of feelings and convictions evolving from my attempt to figure this world out as I am passing through it.  My counsel involves trial and error.  It requires me to make to decisions on how the universe works that I can’t know.  My counsel speculates what the future holds with multiple layers of assumptions and inferences.

My counsel is a guess,  biased by a stubborn heart.

God’s counsel is from the One who created this world.  He is the One who knows the purposes and meanings of this world.  He is the author of this world’s purposes and meaning.  God knows all that happens. He is in control of all creation; taking it along His divine plan.  God’s counsel entails the most complete and deepest understanding of the past, present, and future.

God’s counsel is the most reliable source of guidance available to us because He has a perfect understanding and knowledge of all things.

Why would anyone choose their own counsel?

A stubborn heart has a deleterious effect on our decision-making.   A stubborn heart will elevate our own counsel because that will get it what it ultimately wants.  A stubborn heart demands the freedom of selfish pursuits just like a child can long for adulthood.  The achievement that perceived control is merely a life of eternal insecurity because it is inevitably based on a heart that is trying to figure it out.  Clarity and certainty is impossible. There will come a day for all people when they realize that they are still subject to the requirements of this world.  Just like adults don’t get to do whatever they want to do, this world has consequences for the actions of every person.  It doesn’t matter what we day-dream the world to be like.  Reality has a way of waking us up.

When it comes to the knowledge of this spiritual universe, I am a child.  I can’t figure out how it works on my own.  I don’t want to rely on my day-dreams of what I hope it will be like.  I need a trustworthy Counselor.  I have a Father in heaven who loves me and knows how to give me good things.  He has given me His counsel.  Why would I reject His counsel?  Why would I think that I could know better than Him?

We need to cling to the good counsel of our God even when we really don’t like what it might be saying.  Don’t trust your feelings.  The discomfort that we may feel from God’s counsel is merely the abrasion of a stubborn heart; a stubborn heart that needs to be daily worn down by the Gospel.  It is the Gospel that softens our stubborn hearts and creates a desire for God’s word and a disdain for the contrary counsel of this world and our own mind.

Whose counsel will you seek this day?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for not leaving us on our own.  Thank you for providing us with your Word and giving us your Counsel.  Forgive me for acting like I know better.  Forgive me for not following your Word like I know that I should.  You have given it to me for my good.  It is a wonderful gift.  Father, I delight in you Word; write it upon my heart.  Weave your counsel into every part of my life.     Amen


  1. […] WHO IS YOUR COUNSELOR? – Feb. 16. […]

  2. As Paul says, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” Thanks for the reminder.

  3. You are right about keeping our own counsel. Its better to go to the Lord for it! A friend made a very cute embroidery picture for me which says “He shall guide thee with His counsel” Psalm 73:24. I keep it where I can read it every day. Thanks for stopping by my blog. God bless.

  4. Wonderful description of control and choices. I have a 19 year old son who only today said that he wanted to be 21. God’s ways are best and there is also an overlooked element in our culture. That of the value of godly counsel from elders with years of life experience. Thanks for the post. I would email it to my son but doubt he would read. Still longing to make his own decisions!

  5. Love this so very much – thank you, thank you, thank you! The only time I feel a semblance of clarity, truly – is when I am either in prayer and communion with God and no distractions are getting in the way, and HE reveals more to me of His greatness. The rest, is just as you said – essentially a muddled up little mess mixed with feelings, perceptions, and illusion – ha ha. I love this writing, my friend. I will cherish it for a long time. I think I will be coming back to it often. Annie B 🙂

    • I am so glad that it was helpful and encouraging. God Bless!

  6. Very well put: many thanks!

  7. Reblogged this on Sharper Than Any Two-Edged Sword… and commented:
    “When it comes to the knowledge of this spiritual universe, I am a child. I can’t figure out how it works on my own. I don’t want to rely on my day-dreams of what I hope it will be like. I need a trustworthy Counselor. I have a Father in heaven who loves me and knows how to give me good things. He has given me His counsel. Why would I reject His counsel? Why would I think that I could know better than Him?”

    • Thank you for the reblog.

  8. God knows the best!

    • Amen!

  9. Thank you for popping in on my blog. I was encouraged as I in turn read this post. What a refreshing read. I flew in an airplane about a week ago….as I looked down….while way above the white clouds…I occasionally caught a glimpse of earth. We are but specks….yet often think we are so great. It was then that I kept reflecting on this verse.
    Psalm 8:4
    4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

    God is an amazing God. I am so glad He knows everything about me and still loves me. I was blessed with a Godly Mother, who taught me how to become a Christian and showed me how to develop a more personal relationship with Christ by studying HIS word daily.
    May God bless you as you share HIS word with others.

    • Thanks for your comments. Our God is amazing! God Bless!

  10. Good words. Just what I needed as I work on the final touches of this week’s sermon. Thank you.

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