Psalm 90:9-12 “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
In verse 9, the psalmist begins by making reference to” all our days.” I think it would be safe to say that the thought or idea behind the phrase is simply the consideration of one’s life. The writer will take into consideration, the progression of days, “we spend our years as a tale that is told”, the period of days, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten”, and the passing of days, “for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” With these thoughts in mind, he opens verse 12 with the word, “so” which means hence, for as much as, for which cause, or howbeit. Having given some thought to the matters that surround “all our days”, the author comes to a wise conclusion; it’s time to seek counsel, it time to ask for wisdom; “that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
While it is a wise man that knows the worth of wisdom, it is even a wiser man that knows where to go and to whom to go to acquire wisdom! There is a simple but profound truth that is worthy of remembrance, “The quality of the counsel will be no better than the character of the one offering the counsel!” With that in mind, it’s important to choose counsel wisely! I want to consider three individuals that sought counsel and the motivation for their choice of counsel.
In II Chronicles 10:8, we are told that King Rehoboam, Solomon’s son “took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.” Rehoboam made a choice based on similarities. In fact, he rejected previous counsel because of the absence of similarities! The King chose counsel from those that were his age, had the same education he did, the same experience he did, and thought the exact same way he thought. Truth is, he has already formed a plan of action and they are going to tell him exactly what he wants to hear. Problem is, by rejecting the age, experience, and education of the old men, those that were not similar, he lost the kingdom.
In II Samuel 13:3, Amnon sought the council of “a friend, whose name was Jonadab.” Amnon made a choice based on sin and selfishness. The whole reason for choosing Jonadab was his counsel silenced Amnon’s conscience and reinforced his lust; “for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her. But Amnon had a friend” (II Samuel 13:2-3). Amnon already knew what was right, but he convinced himself that if he could get someone to reinforce the wrong at the expense of the right, that would make it right. The problem was; when he got what he wanted, his guilt wouldn’t let him enjoy it. The counsel destroyed relationships in the family and ultimately lead to the shaming of a sister and the death of two sons.
While both men were wise enough to seek counsel; they were not wise enough to seek the right counsel! Neither man sought counsel for the purpose of obtaining wisdom, but to obtain their wants!
Within the text, the Palmist sought counsel based on success; “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). When given the choice, Moses chose the counsel of the Master over the counsel of men! All those that have sought and been obedient to the Lord’s counsel have never failed to be successful.
It’s not only wise to seek counsel, but it’s even wiser to seek counsel from the right source; “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25). There is wisdom in asking for wisdom from the Lord!