5 ¶ Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.
Counsel is not only advice as it is here.
Judges 20:7 Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel.
But it is also understanding as it is here.
Deuteronomy 32:28 For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.
Counsel can also be the devices of the unsaved.
Psalms 33:10 The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
Understanding can be practical wisdom, knowledge, and skill.
Exodus 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
It is also wisdom in obedience to God’s commands.
Deuteronomy 4:5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
It is the ability to discern between right and wrong.
1Kings 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
It is the consequence of being inspired by God.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
In this verse in Proverbs, the secret intentions of men can be hidden in the heart as something thrown into deep waters but God can give God’s people the wisdom to draw it out. Jesus sent His people out to be wise, not naïve and gullible.
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
We have God’s words with which to test the words of the crafty to see if they are true. Why, then, are Christian fundamentalists or “funnymentalists” as Dr. Ruckman calls them, so naïve and gullible? We are led around by the nose by politicians and celebrities who sprinkle their speech with a few “Gods”, a “Christ” here, and a “Bible” there. Somehow we think that person is worthy of following and that he is going to be a good leader. We’ll take one political and moral issue like abortion and elect people who are completely incompetent on almost every stance only because they are in agreement with us on abortion. Do you think murder is wrong? Of course you do. Would you vote for someone who agreed that murder was wrong but promoted policies that would drive America into the ground like that plane out in Western Pennsylvania on “911”?
We should have the discernment and understanding to look in these people’s hearts and determine their secret counsel. Jesus warned His disciples with regard to false prophets.
Matthew 7:15 ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Christians of all times are told to be careful, to examine not only ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5) but to test what we are told and who tells it (1 John 4:1). There are many deceivers out there in both politics and religion just as there were those who pretended to be, who posed as preachers and evangelists in Colonial America and in the early years of our country and after that so that they could commit crimes against unsuspecting Christians. Think about what is being said and who is saying it not what political party they claim allegiance to and then examine what they’ve done already in office. There are many deceivers.
2Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
We should have the understanding from God to discern between the counsel of the wicked and the desire of the good. We have God’s words, all of them that He wanted us to have. We can compare what they say by this Book and the Spirit of God that dwells inside of us to see if what they are saying is true or a lie. But, we are lazy, slothful sluggards who will accept at first a man or woman who claims to belong to the right party or who sprinkles a few religious terms in his or her speech.
But, then, if you don’t know God’s Book and don’t allow God to speak to you through it, perhaps you can’t help but be naïve and will allow a famous preacher or a politician play you like a violin. After all, your flesh wants satisfaction, to hear the words that calm you and soothe you, that justify your own prejudices and fears.
The counsel in their hearts is like deep water, sometimes not so deep but sometimes muddy and hard to see, but the man or woman with God’s understanding can draw it out. Think clearly. I do not go into the voting booth intending to elect either a Messiah or a preacher. I have one of each of those already. What or who exactly do you want to vote for?
Of course, this Proverb has application in our daily lives. Modern culture teaches that it’s wrong to judge and misquotes the verses on judging in Matthew 7 which merely teach that the people Christ was talking to would be judged by the same standard they used. Surely, it is wrong to have a double standard. Who will you marry, who will you go into business with, who will you work for, and what businesses will you support with your hard won money (I know that’s difficult but I’m not here to make excuses only to try to express what I’m getting from God’s word)?
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
2Corinthians 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
Use the wisdom God has given you and wise counsel from other people of God to look at all things but most of all, or “rather”, as the Bible would say, use the word of God to understand what’s really going on in the heart of a man or woman who wants you to take some action or think some way.