Scripture Passage: I Kings 13
Advice is something we are given all the time. Advertisers give us advice about the products we should purchase, family members and friends give us advice about decisions we make, sales people give advice about the items they are selling. We can ask for advice if we don’t know how to do something, or we can research it online to see what advice is there. But advice can be given even when we don’t ask, there is solicited and unsolicited advice. Some advice we listen to others we don’t but we are constantly given advice in one form or another. In a world of advice and information how do we navigate it all; what principles can guide us? What should we listen to?
In the narrative a faithful prophet listens to poor advice and is judged for his disobedience in turning aside to eat and drink in Israel when he was told to go straight back to Judah. He was swayed by advice from another prophet that seemed legitimate and even God honouring. So what principles should have guided his thinking and enabled him to avoid his untimely end?
First, good advice is grounded in God’s truth: wise counsel will always be consistent with the revealed Word of God. The prophet had been told clearly by God to return home without eating or drinking in Israel, any advice that contradicted that revealed truth should have been discarded.
Second, good adivce is grounded in God’s trustworhtiness; wise counsel will call us to faith not fear. Advertisers and others know how to play on our fears, but wise counsel calls us to trust in God and walk by faith. The prophet should have walked steadfast in faith according to truth, instead he was swayed by deceit.
Third, good advice is grounded in God’s testimony; wise counsel will reflect God’s character. God cannot lie and never contridicts Himself. Thus the prophet should have realized that God would not have sent contradictory testimony to him. When advice comes that seeks to sway us contrary to God’s character, towards impurity, dishonesty, cruelty etc… it is to be disgarded. Wise counsel will always be consistent with who God is.
As you work, spend time with family and live out your life today listen to the advice you are given and ask these questions: is this counsel consistent with the revealed Word of God, does it call me to faith and does it reflect God’s character? If it does appreciate it and listen. If it doesn’t ignore it and move on in faithfulness. Learn the lesson of the unwise prophet and be careful who and what advice you listen to.