The first Psalm begins with these words, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked.” The word “blessed” refers to the joy of life that every person desires. So then, why are there so many miserable Christians? One reason is that we all at times listen to and walk in “the counsel of the wicked.” In other words, we bring misery on ourselves when we follow the advice of those who do not fear God. Therefore, it behooves us to ask a few questions so that we might avoid the counsel of the wicked. First, what is the counsel of the wicked? Second, where does the counsel of the wicked come from? Third, where does the counsel of the wicked lead? Finally, how can we escape the counsel of the wicked?
What is the counsel of the wicked?
Job had to battle the seemingly plausible counsel of the wicked, who reasoned that God must not see or care, since the righteous seem to fare poorly while the wicked seem to be getting along quite well. “Depart from us. We do not desire the knowledge of your ways. What is the Almighty that we should serve Him? And what profit do we get if we pray to Him? (Job 21:14-16). “What does God know? Can He judge through the deep darkness? Thick clouds veil Him, so that He does not see, and He walks on the vault of heaven. . . . Depart from us. What can the Almighty do to us?” (Job 22:13-18). The strength of this argument of the wicked is in their seeming success. Since it appears that God is not following through with His threats, the wicked tell each other what they want to hear. Unknown to them is the fact that God has given them over to their folly: “So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels” (Psalm 81.12). For a good example of this see the story of Rehoboam in 1 Kings 12:1-19.
Where does the counsel of the wicked come from?
- Our own hearts—“But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.” “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 7:24; 17:9).
- Impatience—“They did not wait for His counsel. But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness” (Psalm 106:13b-14a). Example: Saul’s impetuous offering – 1 Samuel 13:8-15
- Demons – “I will confound their counsel; and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers, and the mediums and the necromancers” (Isaiah 19:3). “Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, with which you have labored from your youth; perhaps you may be able to succeed; perhaps you may inspire terror. You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons make known what shall come upon you. Behold, they are like stubble; the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before! Such to you are those with whom you have labored, who have done business with you from your youth; they wander about, each in his own direction; there is no one to save you” (Isaiah 47.12-15). “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice” (James 3:14-16).
- Unregenerate hearts – Read 1 Corinthians 1-2
Where does the counsel of the wicked lead?
- Opposition to the Word of God –“After Amaziah came from striking the Edomites, he brought the gods of the men of Seir and set them up as his gods and worshiped them, making offerings to them. Therefore the Lord was angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet, who said to him, ‘Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?’ But as he was speaking, the king said to him, ‘Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! Why should you be struck down?’ So the prophet stopped, but said, ‘I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel.’” – Indeed, Amaziah was captured by Joash; and the temple treasury and all the kings treasuries were plundered and taken to Samaria (2 Chronicles 25.14-16). “They had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High” (Psalm 107:11).
- Rebellion against God and Crucifixion of Christ—“The rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed” (Psalm 2:2). “Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill Him” (Matthew 26:3-4).“When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death” (Matthew 27:1). “Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus” (Matthew 27:20).
- Destruction—“Let them fall by their own counsels” (Psalm 5:10). “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Matt 27:25).
How can we escape the counsel of the wicked?
- Jesus Christ, the Wonderful Counselor—Isaiah 9:6
- Holy Spirit—Isaiah 11:2 “Spirit of counsel and of might” (cf. 1 Cor 2:6-13)
- Christ crucified—1 Cor 1:18-24 – “Christ crucified . . . the power of God and the wisdom of God”
- Meditate on God’s Word—Psalm 1:3
- Love Discipline—“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1).