There is WISDOM in SEEKING COUNSEL from FRIENDS
July 7 Bible Reading: Proverbs Chapters 25-27
"Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel. As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." (Prov. 27:9, 17)
The writer of the proverbs listed in chapter 27 makes an effort to highlight the wisdom in seeking counsel from friends, and devotes five verses (vss. 6, 9, 10, 14, 17) to speak about the influence of friends in our lives. In fact, we need sound advice from sincere friends to reach our full potential, and to get to where God wants us to go. There are two results from seeking, listening and adopting sound advice from our friends: first, it delights us as we are channeled to the right direction that God wants us to go, and second, our conversation with friends promotes intelligence, which enables us to take the right decisions and move forward in life.
Words of sound advice from a trusted friend are compared to the pleasantness of ointment and the scent of a fragrant perfume (v. 9). Just like perfume and ointment are most refreshing to our senses, the counsel of a good friend is enlightening to our inner soul. The tenderness of such counsel provides an added source of strength for our life journey. There is something truly heartwarming about having fellowship with a friend!
Just as the action of iron against iron sharpens one another (v. 17), so does the interchange of ideas with friends clarify our thinking process and enable us to make the right decisions. When we share personal opinions with our friends, we grow from this interaction as it sharpens our thinking and hones our personality. As the proper tool shapes and sharpens iron for its desired use, so we are sharpened morally and intellectually by our friends. Thus, we encourage each other with wise counsel and constructive interaction, which enables us to move forward to our destination that God has purposed for our lives.
Let us understand that the book of Proverbs reflects the need for counsel for every person who wants to honor God in life, and there is great value in seeking counsel from wise friends. Prov. 24:6 instructs us: "For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety." Sound advice is a part of wisdom that God imparts through others (1:5; 8:14). Heeding good advice offers us safety (11:14), and helps us to avoid future conflicts (13:10). There is true wisdom in seeking counsel from friends!
So, let us choose wise friends who will honor our confidence (17:9), seek our good, and tell us the truth even though it is hurtful at times (27:6). In the end, no matter what plans and strategies we devise with our friends, the will of God will ultimately prevail in our lives if we let Him (19:21; 21:30).
"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Prov. 18:24). "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" (Eccl. 4:9-10)