Be Careful Who You Listen To

  • November 21, 2020
Saturday 21

1 Kings 12:1-19

Sometimes people make decisions they later regret because they listened to ungodly counsel. Here are four suggestions to help you discern what is wise, biblical advice:

  1. Look for counsel that references God, the Bible, and Jesus. If it neglects or contradicts the principles of Scripture, the best thing to do is retreat.

  2. If there’s a lot of talk but little prayer, think twice. Even with a great exchange of ideas and wisdom, a prudent advisor should ultimately defer to God and pray for His direction. Prayer is essential for attaining the whole counsel of God.

  3. Avoid a counselor who compromises Scripture. People sometimes soften God’s requirements by saying things like, “Nobody’s perfect, so a little gossip, gambling, or other ‘fun’ won’t hurt.” Such rationalizing can quickly lead to destruction.

  4. Beware of counsel quick to criticize the church. Someone who readily discredits the church may have a hurtful bias and a tendency to leave God out when giving advice.

Remember, living within each believer is the Counselor Himself—the Holy Spirit—who wants to help with all our decisions. Seek Him first and often.


Bible in One Year: Acts 27-28

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1 Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king.

2 Now when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it, he was living in Egypt (for he was yet in Egypt, where he had fled from the presence of King Solomon).

3 Then they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying,

4 Your father made our yoke hard; now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you."

5 Then he said to them, Depart for three days, then return to me." So the people departed.

6 King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, How do you counsel me to answer this people?"

7 Then they spoke to him, saying, If you will be a servant to this people today, and will serve them and grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever."

8 But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him.

9 So he said to them, What counsel do you give that we may answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, `Lighten the yoke which your father put on us'?"

10 The young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, Thus you shall say to this people who spoke to you, saying, `Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us!' But you shall speak to them, `My little finger is thicker than my father's loins!

11 Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.'"

12 Then Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day as the king had directed, saying, Return to me on the third day."

13 The king answered the people harshly, for he forsook the advice of the elders which they had given him,

14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions."

15 So the king did not listen to the people; for it was a turn of events from the LORD, that He might establish His word, which the LORD spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

16 When all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse; To your tents, O Israel! Now look after your own house, David!" So Israel departed to their tents.

17 But as for the sons of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.

18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him to death. And King Rehoboam made haste to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem.

19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

1 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, they proceeded to deliver Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan cohort named Julius.

2 And embarking in an Adramyttian ship, which was about to sail to the regions along the coast of Asia, we put out to sea accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica.

3 The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul with consideration and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care.

4 From there we put out to sea and sailed under the shelter of Cyprus because the winds were contrary.

5 When we had sailed through the sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia.

6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it.

7 When we had sailed slowly for a good many days, and with difficulty had arrived off Cnidus, since the wind did not permit us to go farther, we sailed under the shelter of Crete, off Salmone;

8 and with difficulty sailing past it we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

9 When considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast was already over, Paul began to admonish them,

10 and said to them, Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives."

11 But the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and the captain of the ship than by what was being said by Paul.

12 Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.

13 When a moderate south wind came up, supposing that they had attained their purpose, they weighed anchor and began sailing along Crete, close inshore.

14 But before very long there rushed down from the land a violent wind, called Euraquilo;

15 and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along.

16 Running under the shelter of a small island called Clauda, we were scarcely able to get the ship's boat under control.

17 After they had hoisted it up, they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along.

18 The next day as we were being violently storm-tossed, they began to jettison the cargo;

19 and on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands.

20 Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned.

21 When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss.

22 Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

23 For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me,

24 saying, `Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.'

25 Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.

26 But we must run aground on a certain island."

27 But when the fourteenth night came, as we were being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors began to surmise that they were approaching some land.

28 They took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and a little farther on they took another sounding and found it to be fifteen fathoms.

29 Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and wished for daybreak.

30 But as the sailors were trying to escape from the ship and had let down the ship's boat into the sea, on the pretense of intending to lay out anchors from the bow,

31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved."

32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it fall away.

33 Until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing.

34 Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish."

35 Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat.

36 All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food.

37 All of us in the ship were two hundred and seventy-six persons.

38 When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing out the wheat into the sea.

39 When day came, they could not recognize the land; but they did observe a bay with a beach, and they resolved to drive the ship onto it if they could.

40 And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea while at the same time they were loosening the ropes of the rudders; and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they were heading for the beach.

41 But striking a reef where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern began to be broken up by the force of the waves.

42 The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim away and escape;

43 but the centurion, wanting to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their intention, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land,

44 and the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship. And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land.

1 When they had been brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta.

2 The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.

3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.

4 When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live."

5 However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm.

6 But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us courteously three days.

8 And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him.

9 After this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured.

10 They also honored us with many marks of respect; and when we were setting sail, they supplied us with all we needed.

11 At the end of three months we set sail on an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island, and which had the Twin Brothers for its figurehead.

12 After we put in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days.

13 From there we sailed around and arrived at Rhegium, and a day later a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli.

14 There we found some brethren, and were invited to stay with them for seven days; and thus we came to Rome.

15 And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

16 When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

17 After three days Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews, and when they came together, he began saying to them, Brethren, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.

18 And when they had examined me, they were willing to release me because there was no ground for putting me to death.

19 But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation against my nation.

20 For this reason, therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel."

21 They said to him, We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you.

22 But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere."

23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.

24 Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.

25 And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers,

26 saying, `GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;

27 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM."'

28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen."

29 [ When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.]

30 And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him,

31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.

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Publish Date December 2, 2020
How to Pass Down the Faith

If we want loved ones to share our hope in Christ, we must put His goodness on display.

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