The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel. —Proverbs 12:15
I was more than an hour from home in the boondocks on a story assignment. My maps app had gotten me there without issue, but the route required multiple turns onto unfamiliar roads for 20-some miles of the way, so I needed to rely on the app to get back home. But instead of getting directions, all I got was a lost connection.
I could manage the first part of the journey without help. After a while, I decided to ask Siri to direct me to the toll road. Siri got the maps app working—well, sort of. It would have been working if Siri actually understood where I needed to go. I pulled off the road and tried to type in the destination, but again I was getting a lost connection error. So all else failing, I headed north and looked for signs.
Finally I pulled off into a restaurant parking lot and found a county worker, somebody you would assume would know the roads. “Excuse me. Can you please tell me where 417 is from here?” I asked.
“Where what is?” he asked.
“State Road 417, the toll road. Do you know where the entrance is? My maps app is no help out here.”
“Oh, the toll road! Well, this place sprang up in the past couple of years, so I doubt it’s even been mapped yet,” he explained. “You go left here, go through that light, and the on-ramp will be a few miles down the road.”
Though I was grateful for his help, his directions led me to the turnpike, not the toll road I needed. So again I was on my own. And I prayed for help.
Finally Siri and I developed a mutual understanding, and I found the entrance to 417, discovering I had actually traveled quite a ways north and was closer to home than I expected.
Poor counsel results in misdirection, and misdirection can result in much more than lost time. It can result in lost blessings and heartache—not just for you but for those you love. Solomon’s son Rehoboam learned the hard way.
Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, saying, “How do you advise me to answer these people?” And they spoke to him, saying, “If you are kind to these people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be your servants forever.” But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him . . . So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.—2 Chronicles 10:6-8, 19
The elders advised Rehoboam to swallow his pride and breed goodwill. But the young king felt compelled to flex his newfound muscle. So he went along with the counsel of those who were equally self-centered, immature and foolish so he would be justified in his own eyes.
HIs kingdom fractured, and war erupted. His legacy became one of more than just pride. It became one of death and judgment. And his foolishness is recorded as a lesson for us all.
Bad counsel brings division and sets in motion a ripple effect of pain and resulting judgment. But good counsel will always lead you on the path of grace and peace, one that leads you to honor others above self. It leads you down a humble path in which you must decrease so He can increase. It is an often-ignored path, but it is the path of God’s blessing.
Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.—Proverbs 4:26