Making Wise Plans

The book of Proverbs is perhaps the largest collection of wisdom anywhere, and it is said to have been collected by King Solomon. He was also the builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem, so I imagine he knew a thing or two about planning. Proverbs has a ton to say about wisdom, and it starts out with these words:

Proverbs 1:1-7 The proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding,
to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity;
to give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion—
a wise man will hear and will increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
to understand a proverb and the interpretation, the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

It is no mistake that the man who is largely regarded as the wisest king to ever live begins his book about wisdom with a discussion about taking instruction and counsel. He later says:

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

I work in IT, and a man I used to work with was fond of saying “I don’t know what I don’t know”. His point was that no matter how well planned a project was, it could always be derailed by software bugs, undocumented incompatibilities, or – well – the unexpected. That’s why it is always best to seek out the counsel of people who have already done what you are doing, or people who know things you don’t know. And to be ready to change your plans based on their advice, not just use it when it supports what you wanted to do anyway. Jesus puts it this way:

Luke 14:31-32 31 “Or what king, going to wage war against another king, does not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Otherwise, while the other is yet at a distance, he sends a delegation and requests conditions of peace. “

Wisdom comes from taking instruction. Making a wise plan means seeking out counsel, and changing your plans (if needed) based on their advice. Are you fiercely independent, even to a fault? Are you too stubborn to ask for advice, or too private to ask for counsel? Then you aren’t living according to God’s design. He designed us to need Him, and to need each other.

What plans are you making that could use wise counsel? How has seeking out an advisor helped you in the past?

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Lord, help us to remember that you put us on the earth to help one another. That means not only that we are to give help to others, but that – sometimes – we are the ones who need to receive it. Teach us, gently, to recognize when we need counsel, to know good sources of godly wisdom, and to ask for advice. God, we know that you are above all, and that means that you have a full picture of things that we do no. So, when we are the ones asked to advise, teach us to first come to you and then in humility to share your wisdom, not just our own. Amen.

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