Fork In the Road: Decision Making in the Proverbs (pt 1)

A Fork in the road

Making decisions is a part of life. It is something that we do constantly. There are simple decisions, like what to eat for lunch. There are also more complex decisions, like who to marry, what kind of friends to have, what career to pursue, or what house to buy. In all of these things, God’s people should be especially concerned with making decisions that honor the Lord. Several questions naturally arise as a result:

  • How does one go about making such important decisions?
  • What guidance does the Scripture offer?
  • How is biblical wisdom seen in the decision-making process?

According to Proverbs, there are at least three key ingredients to wise decision making: advice, planning, and most importantly, submitting to the Lord. Our goal is to examine these three ingredients and explain how each of them contributes to wise decision-making in Proverbs.

I.              Acquiring Advice

Prov. 11:14, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”The first ingredient for wise decision-making is consulting others for advice. Acquiring a variety of opinions about the decision to be made is critical. There is a prerequisite, however. This may seem to be stating the obvious, but getting advice is recognizing that advice is needed. Prov. 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” This verse is an exhortation to recognize one’s own need for advice. In other words, we are called to an attitude of humility. Prov. 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” The fool thinks that he has all the answers. He is so self confident that he will not accept advice. In contrast, the wise man is humble enough to listen to the advice of others.

Good decision making is often thwarted by our own pride. There is, however, wisdom in taking advice (Prov. 13:10). A wise person is one who recognizes the value of thoughtful advice (Prov. 20:15). In fact, Proverbs tells us that one of the great blessings of friendship is “earnest counsel” (Prov. 27:9).