Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
Neither you nor your government know how to make good decisions in a vacuum. The protection against bad decisions is to identify a large number of wise men to help make important decisions. If a government proceeds in haste, pride, or by the whims of one man, corruption and trouble will likely follow for that principality. But when a government heeds a broad range of wise men, there is generally profit and safety for all.
God inspired Solomon to write Proverbs to teach young men to be wise (Pr 1:1-5). Here is an important rule of prudence and wisdom. Do not make large decisions without consulting a variety of wise and successful men, who are not emotionally, personally, or financially involved. They can apply their wisdom and experience to your situation without the distracting and distorting influences that may be corrupting your thoughts.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes. Of course! Have you ever made a bad decision? Of course not! This is a fact of human behavior Solomon had often observed (Pr 14:12; 16:2,25; 21:2). But you are often wrong for many reasons, even though you may not realize it. You are inherently ignorant, emotionally affected, personally biased, educationally distorted, financially motivated, and peer influenced. You are dangerous!
Not every counselor will do! If you choose to check your ideas and decisions with just your friends, most of them will agree with you to keep your friendship and avoid debate. This very thing happened to Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. After the death of his father, he listened to his young friends rather than his father’s aged and wise counselors. Because of this foolish choice, he lost 10 of his nation’s 12 tribes to a rival (I Kgs 12:1-20).
It has been said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” To counter this perverting effect of authority, those in positions of leadership must rely even more heavily on counselors. If they seek to go it alone, they are taking a great risk with their office and the poor people under them. How many souls, lives, and fortunes would have been saved, if all husbands, fathers, masters, pastors, and rulers had used counselors?
Consider World War II. Counselors could have saved Chamberlain from Hitler’s lies. If Hitler had trusted his military advisors, he would have defeated the Soviets. Counselors tried to save Japan from war with the U.S., but were rejected. And General Patton’s counsel to take out the Soviets should have been considered more. These are decisions that caused many to fall, and these are only a very few associated with only that one war!
Wise readers know God’s sovereign government of nations was the cause, course, and conclusion of World War II, so they need to remember that God in judgment may work above this rule of wisdom by corrupting counselors to bring about His will in nations. He is able and willing to do so, and He has certainly done so in the past (Job 5:12-14; II Sam 15:31; I Kgs 22:19-23; Ps 9:15-17; Isaiah 19:11-14; 29:9-16; I Cor 1:19-20; 3:18-20).
If you desire to grow in wisdom, you will jettison your thoughts and replace them with the opinions of wise counselors. This is a hard choice to make, because you sinfully hate being criticized or corrected. You want to be the wise one that always makes outstanding decisions. You must learn to crush your pride and subject your ideas and plans to the analysis and examination of others. By choosing godly and successful men as your counselors, you can instantly raise the quality and results of your decisions.
The ultimate counselors are those that know the word of God and can apply it to your life and choices (Pr 22:17-21; Job 32:6-22; 33:23-24; Ps 119:98-100; II Tim 3:16-17). Counsel contrary to the Bible is worse than no counsel at all; it is destructive (Is 8:20; I Tim 6:3-5). Do you have godly counselors in your life (Mal 2:7; Acts 8:30-31; Heb 13:7,17)? Are you such a counselor to those that need you (Pr 11:30; 15:4; Heb 5:12-14; I Pet 3:15)? You may find godly counselors in a true church of Jesus Christ.