Psalm 73:24. You shall guide me with your counsel and afterward receive me to glory.
The counsel of the Lord is one of the “great themes” of the Bible and highlights the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. The counsel of the Lord provides a covering for those who walk in obedience to His living Word of instruction. We may look to the Bible for guideposts to living, but by the Holy Spirit we receive personal counsel.
John 16:13. When the Spirit of Truth is come He will guide you into all truth, for He shall not speak of himself but whatsoever He shall hear shall He speak and He will show you things to come.
The Holy Spirit fulfills the word of Isaiah 9:14 regarding the Christ when he refers to Him as Wonderful Counselor. The Holy Spirit testifies to the Truth of Jesus Christ and is therefore the Spirit of Prophecy. (Revelation 19:10.)
It comes as no surprise in reading the words of the Old Testament that the people of God are condemned in not seeking and heeding the counsel of the Lord. This counsel revealed the work of the Holy Spirit among the children of Israel.
Isaiah 30:1. Woe to the rebellious children says the Lord, that take counsel but not of me; and that cover with a covering but not of my Spirit that they may add errors to their error.
The idea of counsel first appears in the Bible in Exodus 18:13-26; when Jethro the father-in-law of Moses, advises him on sharing the burden of responsibility for providing judgment to the people. While the modern world has evolved into an elaborate system of courts for both criminal and civil matters, the idea of judgment in the Bible is concerned with settling disputes between individuals, and ultimately between man and God. This system of able, experienced men to provide wise counsel later evolved into the royal advisers beginning with David and commented on extensively by his son Solomon in the book of Proverbs.
The ability to resolve matters of disagreement is vital to the health of the body of Christ. We see this immediately become an issue in the early church.
1 Corinthians 6:1-8. Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?
If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge. I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!
This is a difficult passage to read and consider, but we are all aware of the problems that develop between individuals that must be resolved wisely to avoid conflicts that destroy fellowship. This is why every single member must seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit and contribute their gift to the congregation. (1 Co 12).
James 3:16. For where envy and strife exist, there is confusion and every evil work.
Consider this verse while thinking on the terrible sin that is able to rise up within a congregation. Infidelity, embezzlement, even murder. James says it begins with the problems we often refer to as “petty”. Gossips and contentious people are often referred to as petty. Minor criminal acts are referred to as “petty crimes”.
1 Peter 4:15. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
Notice Peter mentions busybodies along side murderers, thieves and other evildoers. Busybodies are often thought of as petty persons, but they are actually trying to play God in another person’s life in Christ. This is idolatry. In the kingdom of heaven, there can be no petty crime! This requires mercy, and the wisdom that comes from above:
James 3:17. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
1 Co 10:23. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.
These are problems that can only be resolved by the Spirit of Truth. We ease one another’s burdens by providing words of knowledge, wisdom and comfort from the throne of God. This is the manifestation of our first love and the gifts of the Spirit. The first principle of a covenant relationship with God is that all things must be done according to His purpose.
2 Tim 1:9. Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
The Father is able to work out every detail after the counsel of His own will.
Ephesians 1:11. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.
Acts 11:23. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
What is meant by this expression “purpose of heart”?
This word translated purpose is also used in the New Testament for the show-bread that was laid out before the Lord in the Temple Sanctuary.
Hebrews 4:13. Thus our hearts must be laid open before Him; And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Even as the Holy Spirit spoke through Zacharias:
Luke 1:74,75. That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
And again from Ephesians:
Ephesians 1:4. just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
The Presence of the Lord
1 John 2:28. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him in His presence.
Isaiah 1:26. And I will restore your judges as at the first and your counselors as at the beginning; afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.
3 John 4. I have no greater joy than to hear that my brethren walk in Truth.