Plans are established by seeking advice;
so if you wage war, obtain guidance.
What are the benefits of counsel? One, the mere act of pausing to seek counsel reduces impulsive behavior. You are likely to give the matter more serious attention and to think more deliberately. Two, consulting with others sharpens your thinking as you explain your thoughts and as you listen to the thinking of others.
But this proverb is also presenting the benefit of wise guidance. It is advocating seeking the counsel of persons who are wise and possess the expertise needed for the matter at hand. Therefore, as you seek counsel, seek it from those who have demonstrated wisdom and knowledge. Also seek it from those who will be forthright with you. There is nothing to gain from seeking the counsel of those who only affirm your ideas. The counselors should be wise enough to speak in such a way that does not tear you down, but in such a way that also communicates the truth.
This proverb is also presenting the benefit of wise listening. You may gather about you wise counselors, but if you do not listen well then it is a waste of time, and you only make yourself out to be a fool. If they consistently give you counsel that contradicts your thinking, are you willing to examine carefully your heart? Are they seeing what you refuse to see? Many unnecessary wars have been started precisely because of matters of the heart than of strategic thinking.
Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
5 His ways are always prosperous;
your laws are rejected by[b] him;
he sneers at all his enemies.
6 He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
7 His mouth is full of lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.
8 He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
9 like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
he covers his face and never sees.”
12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.