Evil Counsel

By Irvin Himmel

The Psalmist said, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly . . .” (Psa. 1:1).

Rehoboam, son of Solomon, asked for advice when he was about to be made king. The people wanted their burdens made lighter. The older men advised Rehoboam to be considerate of the people. “But he forsook the counsel of the old men . . .” (1 Ki. 12:8). Turning to the younger men, his contemporaries, Rehoboam was advised to answer the people sternly and to warn that he would increase their burdens. Speaking to them after the counsel of the young men, he said, “My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” Rebellion broke out. Ten tribes revolted and made Jeroboam their king.

Not long after Jeroboam took command of the newly formed ten-tribe kingdom, he said in his heart that the people must not be allowed to go up to Jerusalem to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord. He feared that going to Jerusalem for worship would turn the hearts of the people back to Rehoboam, and they would slay Jeroboam. “Wherefore the king took counsel . . .” (1 Kgs. 12:28). Whoever his advisers were, their counsel must have been wicked. The king set up calves of gold, one in Dan and one in Bethel, and urged the people to worship in their own kingdom. He argued that it was too much to go all the way to Jerusalem. He changed the feast day and ordained men to the priesthood who were not of the tribe of Levi. His greatest desire was to insure his political position.

In the days when Ahaziah, grandson of Jehoshaphat, was. ruling in Judah, evil counsel had a strong influence. Ahaziah’s mother was a daughter of the notorious Ahab. It was said of Ahaziah, “He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly. Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord like the house of Ahab: for they were his counselors after the death of his father to his destruction” (2 Chron. 22:2-4).

Often men feel the need for advice. How careful we must be that counsel we receive is not evil.

Twentieth-Century Examples

Sometimes people with marriage problems turn to professional counselors. A lot of these “experts” in the field of marriage know nothing about the teaching of the Scriptures. They give advice which sets their clients on a course directly opposed to the will of the Lord. Beware of the counselors who are not Christians!

People with emotional problems sometimes seek the advice of psychiatrists. Not a few professionals in the field of psychiatry are anti-religious. They see religion as a major cause of mental disorders. Take heed that your faith be not wrecked by such evil counselors!

And people are constantly looking to preachers and religious leaders for spiritual advice. Unfortunately, many of these do not respect the authority of Jesus Christ. Preachers who are bound up in sectarianism are not good counselors. Preachers who deny the miracles of the Bible are unfit to counsel others in spiritual matters. Preachers who interpret the Bible to suit themselves are not safe advisers. Beware of religious leaders whose counsel disagrees with the word of God!

High school teachers and college professors frequently give advice to their students. Some of these instructions know not God. Many are rank evolutionists. Some of them glory in human wisdom and delight in making fun of the Bible. It is not uncommon for college professors to urge young people to throw off restraints of morality. Beware of these wicked counselors!

One who feels the need of advice about something that affects the course of his life or the destiny of his souls should seek a godly, wise, and respected person to be his counselor. Mature persons are better prepared to give advice, generally speaking, than are the inexperienced.

Weigh all advice carefully by the word of God. No matter what men may say, God’s word is right. His word should be the final word. The only truly infallible guide that we have is the Bible.

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsel. . .” (Prov. 1:5). “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end” (Prov. 19:20).

When people are taught to expect the Holy Spirit to guide them apart from God’s word and they wait for a mysterious operation, the counsel is evil.

When Christians are encouraged to believe that in some manner the perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to them simply because they are children of God, no matter how they live nor what they believe, that counsel is evil.

When men and women are advised to expect salvation from sin by faith without obedience to the gospel, that counsel is evil.

When people are advised that all truth is relative and none absolute, and that right and wrong depend solely on one’s situation rather than a fixed standard, that counsel is evil.

Do not misled by wicked counsel.

Truth Magazine XXI: 3, p. 38
January 20, 1977