Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 11:14
"Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory"
Solomon is helping us understand in this proverb two things: the need to get outside wisdom and counsel and the balance between keeping everything to yourself and telling everybody everything.
The proverb right before this one is about being a talebearer or someone who tells everyone everything they are involved in and all of the juicy details. You don't want to be this but in avoiding this, some people don't seek counsel and advice which is what this proverb is about.
This is the Hebrew word tahbula which means good advice, wisdom, guidance, counsel, direction. Clearly what Solomon is saying is that you should not be the only person determining the direction for your life. Other people should be able to see the wisdom of what you want to do. Also, you should seek out the counsel of others so that enough different options have been considered that the one chosen is clearly the right one.
This requires that you have a number of people who are clearly wise that you can run things past. What do you think about this? How would you handle this? What are some options that are available that I have not seen? This does not take long, but it is essential if you are to stay away from ruin.
This is the Hebrew word naphal which means fall, ruin, fail, rot. The idea is that what has planned did not work and the person is destroyed, ruined, died, and did not accomplish what was desired, etc. The plan did not work because it was the work of only one person. It did not take into account enough variables and contingencies. It did not work through the counterattacks and the other various interactions that might spoil it.
but in abundance of counselors there is victory
Solomon is in favor of running your ideas through numerous filters to purify them and refine them.
This is the Hebrew word yaas which means advice, counsel, purpose, devise, plan. This is interesting in that the word in the Hebrew text is a verb – advise, counsel, plans, etc – but the translators have chosen to translate it as a noun. But the part that Solomon is pushing for is the advice and not the people who give it. He wants you to get an abundance of advice, not to get a bunch of people to agree with you. This is very interesting. It is the opposing, different perspective – even unique advice – that Solomon wants you to hear and grapple with. Do not just get a group of advisors who will tell you what you want to hear or who come from the same philosophical point of view.
There is a way of leading and managing that is sometimes used where subordinates are allowed to debate an issue from various sides while the leader is watching, listening, and judging the various streams of thought and merits of the arguments. Then he will make a decision after hearing this kind of debate. This carries some of what Solomon is talking about. Make sure that you have enough counsel and advice, not just what you think is the right thing to do.
In fact, impulsiveness is only checking with yourself before you do a thing even if you check with yourself for a long period of time before acting. If the only person you check with is yourself, then your actions are defined by impulsiveness. This does not mean that you need to check with others on every decision you make but clearly the major decisions in life – business, family – need the advice of more than just yourself.
This is the Hebrew word tesuah which means deliverance, salvation. In this case the translators have chosen the word victory. But it seems more certain that Solomon's perspective is that there are numerous enemies and dangers that will be coming at you and unless you get enough advice and counsel, they will win and you will lose. If you get the advice and counsel that you should, then you will be delivered from these destructive results. You will delivered; you will be saved. Left to your own way, you will be destroyed is the orientation of the Old Testament. Life is a dangerous place but with the help, advice, and consent of others and a desire to become wise, you can live a great life and enjoy the fruits of wisdom.
Be constantly aware of the fact that since sin has entered the world, there are numerous ways that the world will destroy you if you are not careful. You need a guide; you need wisdom; you need counsel. There is stuff that will come at you that is too much for you, but if you seek wisdom and the God of wisdom as well as the counsel and counselors that He has placed along the way, then deliverance from many of these problems is possible.
Take the time right now to just pray a prayer of surrender to God and our Lord Jesus Christ, telling them that you are willing to listen and do what they want. You will not be stubborn, proud, and rebellious insisting on your own way. Look for His direction and His advice. It may look different than you might expect, but it will clearly be a win/win/win.