Friday, July 13, 2012

Taking Advice

When I was a newlywed, I had a problem with my in-laws.  Anyone who knows my husband's parents will know that the problem was really with me.  You see, my father in law is fond of giving advice.  Very fond. 

 I felt insulted every time he gave us his two cents worth.  "Doesn't he think we are capable of making good choices on our own?  Can't he just leave us alone?"  These thoughts, and sometimes even less polite ones would go through my head over and over.  My husband is the youngest of four children, and I was just sure they were treating him like he'd never grown up.  But as I grew closer to this wonderful family I had married into, I noticed something.  He gave advice to all his kids and their spouses! I noticed that his other children did not take offense or get huffy. They would listen politely.  Sometimes they would take his advice, and sometimes not, but they always had a polite ear for this man and his wisdom.

Do you have trouble taking advice?  I don't mean bad advice; we've all had our fair share of that kind.  I mean advice from people who care about you, from people with more knowledge than you.  The feminist movement has been so pervasive that women often reject advice from men out of hand.  As if following a man's advice will somehow make us weaker or less important than men.  But the Bible clearly teaches that we are to not only take advice, but receive instruction from Christian men (I Timothy 2:11).  Thankfully, the Bible has examples of women who listened to the men around them and did what they said.

Esther is one such example.  When this beautiful young woman was chosen to be part of the king's new harem, she did not tell anyone she was a Jew.  Why?  Because her uncle Mordecai, the man who had raised her, told her not to (Esther 2:10).  In fact, we find that Esther had made a life long habit of obeying Mordecai.  She continued this habit even when she was no longer under his roof (Esther 2:20).  What if she had not listened to Mordecai?  She certainly would have been in danger from Haman, the king's right hand man, who decided to wipe out the Jews.  But she did listen to him and drew one step closer to saving her people.

The next man she took advice from was the king's eunuch.  After a one year makeover, the virgins were brought to the king one by one for one night.  They could take anything they wanted with them from the harem for that night. If a woman did not please the king, she would not be called to him again and would be cast aside.  She would be cared for but could never marry. When it was Esther's turn to go to the king, she took the advice of Hegai and only requested what he suggested.  In doing so, she did find favor in the king's eyes and became queen. Hegai knew what would please the king.  Because Esther listened to him, she gained a position that would help her in the coming crisis.

The third time Esther took advice was again from Mordecai, and it was probably the hardest instruction she had to hear. Haman had tricked the king into ordering a mass genocide of all the Jews in Persia, and the Jews knew about it.  Mordecai, through a messenger, urged Esther to go to the king and "plead with him for her people" (Esther 4:8).  Unfortunately, being queen did not grant Esther the right to go to the king unsummoned.  She could be killed simply for coming into his presence if he hadn't asked for her.  When Esther balked at the task, Mordecai gives his most famous advice: "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews.  For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish.  And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this" (Esther 4:13-14).

As we finish the story, we find that Esther followed the instruction of Mordecai.  She went into the king's presence and begged him to recall his order.  Her people were saved, Haman was killed, and Mordecai became the king's right hand man.  In every instance that Esther took advice from a trustworthy source, she was blessed.

I doubt that I will be in a situation to help save a nation in the near future.  But I do have men in my life who care about me and who can give godly advice.  Since I have stopped taking offense at my father-in-law's advice, we have made many good decisions based on his input.  From him to my husband to my elders, I am surrounded by men with more knowledge than me in many areas.  I pray that I will listen to them and follow their good advice and instruction.  

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright© 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. 

No comments:

Post a Comment