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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 8:14

"Counsel is mine and sound wisdom (judgment) I am understanding, power is mine"

counsel is mine

There is an aspect to the word counsel that is more than just advice or influential wisdom. Good counsel involves the purpose or the ultimate aim of a thing or plan. Why do you want to know how to do this thing? What are you going to do with it? What are you trying to accomplish? If the person giving the counsel knows the purpose, then their counsel will be much better; but if the purpose is unsound or unknown, then the counsel or advice or recommendations will be suspect.

Give counsel that is really reflective of the purpose of God and you will meet with good success. Do not give counsel that would work at counter-purposes with the purpose of God or you will not succeed long term.

Counsel is the idea that you have bounced the various ideas and potential paths off of several people and received their point of view about it. You must let other people help you evaluate potential choices or you are not interested in finding wisdom. It is sometimes helpful to make a list of people you want to run a certain idea by. Then get their counsel.

sound wisdom

Sound wisdom could be the input you get from the counsel and/or it could be talking to people who have gone down the roads that you are thinking about going down – people who have actually done the various things that you are contemplating. What are they saying? It is sound wisdom in that it is not potential; it is real or solid – a been-there-and-done-that kind of wisdom. Would you think this would be the best way to go? Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I am understanding, power is mine

Understanding is looking at decisions and seeing their effect in every direction. How will this decision effect this or that or my relationship with so and so or such and such a person? It has the feeling side of the Myers-Briggs scale in mind; seeing a decision for its effects. This is the opposite of prudence which is detachment.

Solomon adds the unexpected dimension of power. The wise decision will come with the power and the authority to accomplish it. If you think you have found the wise choice but it involves no authority or no way to make it happen, then you need to keep looking. Wisdom brings power, authority, and might. The word is the Hebrew word for might and even lady or queen.

Let's look at this idea very practically. Let's describe this phrase power is mine in real-world terms. If I have found the right decision, then the people in authority will give me the okay to do it. If I have found the right choice, then the energy, power source, and labor will be available to do this right choice. The right choice is not pie-in-the-sky which cannot be done because no one will approve it or I don't know how I will find the people or equipment to pull it off. A lot of people excuse themselves from what they should do because they have convinced themselves that the right choice is beyond them. The right choice is never beyond them. It is not the right choice if you can't do it. That is someone else's right choice.

In Solomon's day, to have the physical power to do a project meant people, horses, mules, and oxen. In our day it means equipment, electricity, and people; but the concept is still the same in this sense. You must have access to the actual power to do your right choice or it cannot be the right choice.

Another aspect of what Solomon is saying by including the phrase power is mine is that the wise decision increases authority and power, rather than diminishes it. Will the decision that I am making today or the path I am contemplating move me along a path that will increase my might or authority, or will it really diminish or leave my authority at the same level? Which choice or path will move me towards more might, authority, and power?

Are you making decisions or taking actions that if people found out it would cause them to diminish your authority and power? If you are, then those cannot be the right decisions. Wise decisions add power and increase authority, not diminish it.

The only exception to that rule is when the authority above you is committing acts of evil and your actions are righteous; then they will demote you for being righteous. And even in those cases your moral authority goes up even if you are being diminished in other areas.

Remember that this verse is a part of a whole section in Proverbs 8:12-14 that could be called the eleven friends of wisdom. When decisions, choices, and potential actions are evaluated against and within these perimeters, then the wise choice will be clear. These are the eleven friends of wisdom: Prudence; Knowledge; Discretion; Fear of the Lord; No Pride or Arrogance; No Evil Way; No Perverted Mouth; Counsel; Sound Wisdom; Understanding; Power.

When you can't find wisdom clearly among the choices available to you, then find her eleven friends and she will be very near by.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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