Not All Counsel Is Good Counsel
2 Chronicles 24: 1-2 states:
Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
In verse 1 to 2, we learn about the impact that the priest, Jehoiada, had in the life of the Joash, the 7 year old king. We learn that as long as Jehoiada was alive, Joash did the right things to please God. Certainly, given Joash’s age (7 years), it was important for him to have good counsel to enable him do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Thus, so long as Jehoiada lived, he ensured that Joash did the right things to please God. But then things changed after Jehoiada died.
2 Chronicles 24: 15-25 reads as follows:
But Jehoiada grew old and was full of days, and he died; he was one hundred and thirty years old when he died. And they buried him in the City of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God and His house. Now after the death of Jehoiada the leaders of Judah came and bowed down to the king. And the king listened to them. Therefore they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass. Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the Lord; and they testified against them, but they would not listen. Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God: ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you.’ ” So they conspired against him, and at the command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the Lord. Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but killed his son; and as he died, he said, “The Lord look on it, and repay!” So it happened in the spring of the year that the army of Syria came up against him; and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the leaders of the people from among the people, and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus. For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men; but the Lord delivered a very great army into their hand, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers. So they executed judgment against Joash. And when they had withdrawn from him (for they left him severely wounded), his own servants conspired against him because of the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and killed him on his bed. So he died. And they buried him in the City of David, but they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings.
After the death of Jehoiada, we learn that the leaders of Judah came and bowed down to Joash. Joash probably recognized this as a sign of respect, submission etc and therefore listened to them. But the advice they gave to Joash was not good advice. Their advice drew Joash away from doing the right things to please God and from serving God. Any advice that draws us away from serving God and only God, is not good advice and should be rejected immediately and the carrier of such advice should be rebuked.
Because Joash listened to the advice of the leaders of Judah, he turned away from serving God and served wooden images and idols. Obviously, God was not happy about it and therefore visited His wrath upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass or sin. But God, being a loving God, sought to bring His people back to Him. It states at verse 19 that:
Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the Lord, and they testified against them, but they would not listen.
Many of us are guilty of this sin. When we sin against the Lord or are continuously living in sin and God sends someone to tell us of our sin, we reject what the person tells us and not only that, we testify against that person or even insult that person. Joash listened to wrong counsel that led him astray and led him to idol worship, and when he was corrected, he did not listen and killed the person sent by God to correct him. We learn that Joash’s end was not pleasant. He died in the hands of his servants and was not buried in the tombs of kings because of his dishonour.
Good counsel often results in good decisions whilst poor counsel often results in poor decisions. The people from whom we obtain good counsel must have spiritual and personal maturity and wisdom. They must have a commitment to the will of God, which should be evident from the kind of life they live. They must be familiar with us or close to us to understand what we are going through. They must have an objective view that is they must have nothing to gain or lose from whatever decision you would arrive at. They must be people you respect and willing to listen to.
Finally, the key to obtaining good counsel is not listening to what the counselor has to say but in listening to what God might say through the counselor. God’s voice is the most important voice to hear.
Written by Kow Essuman, Esq. ACIArb
The author is a barrister; qualified to practise law in England and Wales, New York and Ghana; an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in England; a Global Shaper (Accra Hub) of the World Economic Forum and a firm believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ.