By Bob Hoekstra
"Woe to the rebellious children," says the LORD, "Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin. Who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice." (Isaiah 30:1-2)
Those who want to live by grace (living by God working in and through their lives) characteristically depend upon the counsel of the Lord. Correspondingly, they have a burden to warn against worldly counsel, which undermines, or substitutes itself for, God's counsel. " 'Woe to the rebellious children,' says the LORD, 'Who take counsel, but not of Me'."
Everyone needs counsel consistently. We all need to find valid guidance and direction through the opportunities and challenges of life. The Lord is to be our constant resource for such counsel. "This also comes from the LORD of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance" (Isaiah 28:29). The counsel of the Lord is wonderful; it is excellent! in fact, when Messiah would come (Jesus, the Christ), one of His descriptive title names would be Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). This wonderful counsel of God comes to us through the word of God. "Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors" (Psalm 119:24).
Consequently, those who turn elsewhere for counsel are rebelling (at least, inadvertently) against the Lord. " 'Woe to the rebellious children,' says the LORD, 'Who take counsel, but not of Me'." Our God of grace wants to counsel us down His path. He wants to teach us to live by His wisdom and His provision. When we are formulating our plans, He wants us to allow His Spirit to direct us through His word: "who devise plans, but not of My Spirit." The only other option is to lean on the counsel of the world: "Who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice." God strongly warned His children of the vanity of seeking the worldly wisdom of Egypt. "You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels; let now the astrologers, the stargazers, and the monthly prognosticators stand up and save you from these things that shall come upon you" (Isaiah 47:13).
The church world today frequently turns to the contemporary speculations of man. The wisdom of man is a vain help. We would do well to consider Isaiah's clear warning. "Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help . . . who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!" (Isaiah 31:1).
Lord Jesus, my Wonderful Counselor, forgive me for the many times that I have turned to worldly counsel. I see that such a choice interferes with your work of grace in my life. Please remind me day by day to seek all of the counsel I need through the Holy Spirit unfolding the wisdom of Your word, Amen.