Before You Ask For Advice or Counsel…

Tim Profile Web sizeby Pastor Tim Burt

Exodus 18:19 “Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and God will be with you…”

Have you ever had someone seek your advice only to blow it off? You think, “Why did they even ask if they weren’t going to listen?”

This story I share with you is really one of about 50 similar experiences I’ve had. As a pastor, I often have people come to me at church for counsel or advice. You’ve probably had people sit down to pick your brain and get counsel or advice on one thing or another.

One time this couple came in during a difficult life situation looking for counsel. They didn’t make an appointment but just stopped in out of desperation for advice. I happened to be in our lobby talking with another one of the pastors when they walked up. They started talking to him so I stood there to be a support and pray quietly for him for the wisdom they needed.

He listened patiently to their story. Past choices they had made led them to difficult and hurtful circumstances. They shared a long and seemingly never-ending story. He listened for a very long time, very patiently. Then when it was time, he began to share with them what they needed to hear. In my opinion he was extremely qualified to help them. He spoke with great wisdom, compassion and gentleness. His insight and instruction seemed perfect for the situation they were in. I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

As he continued to minister to them, a very apparent problem became evident that was true for of them. They wouldn’t listen to what he said. They’d interrupt again and again and bring up what they viewed as exception after exception to their situation, and why his advice would not work. Then they’d again retell their story. They could not and would not listen to a thing he was saying to them. It became apparent to this pastor and me that they didn’t want to hear. They just wanted someone to listen to them and to agree with them and their position so they could justify continuing down this losing path.

Throughout the Old Testament we see that God had to continually deal with people like this – people who were considered His people! In Jer 7:25-28 we read, “From the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked… “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.”

As an observer, I began to ask myself “Why have these people even sought counsel?” It’s clear they had no intention of listening to anyone. It would have been wonderful if they had been willing to listen and take counsel. The counsel was excellent. It was obvious they would keep battering their point until he saw things their way. It made this long and ongoing impromptu counseling session very painful and difficult.

They closed it by saying; “Well if it’s okay with you, we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing.” All he could do to bring some kind of closure was to gather them to pray. Then this pastor left. When he left, they started in on me. The Lord had spoken to me a long time ago in a similar situation. He reminded me of it at that moment. He said, “If they won’t listen to me as God, they are not going to listen to you.” I knew He was right.

I told them one story that I thought might help them see that the other pastor’s counsel was right. Forget it! They blew right past it and wanted to debate. I excused myself and let them be with themselves.

In today’s Fresh Manna verse, it is taken from the time Moses was doing something that was from a conscientious heart but not very bright. Moses was doing all the judging of the problems of the Israelites. It was an overwhelming situation and was hurting his family as well as stealing his health. God sent his father-in-law to him to help him. Moses was a humble man and not stiff-necked. He wanted God’s counsel. Jethro said, “Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and God will be with you…” Jethro told Moses how to delegate and Moses listened, took his advice, and immediately implemented what Jethro said. It fixed the problem and actually gave us the general format that is still used in judicial systems today.

Why ask advice from God or anyone else if you really won’t listen, take it, and let it help you? If you will, you will be one that benefits and you will find that today’s Fresh Manna verse will be true for you: “Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and God will be with you…”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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