. . . they shall mount up with wings as eagles . . . Isaiah 40:31

Counsel in the Heart

Proverbs 20:5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

Most Bible versions translation this Hebrew word “etsah” as counsel as in this verse, and the word is translated as counsel 79 times, purpose 2 times, and advice 1 time. Two or three Bible versions translate it as intentions, though it is never translated as intentions anywhere in the Bible.

You might use it that way if you were interrogating someone to find out their intentions. A man’s intentions and motives are like deep water; but a wise man will pull them out. That does not appear to be what the verse is referring to, since the overwhelming choice of the translators is the word counsel, or advice, and not intentions.

The accurate meaning appears to be counsel, purpose, and advice.

What is counsel? The dictionary definition is advice, especially that given formally, like the advice of an attorney or a doctor. It is or should be expected to be sound advice, good advice that leads to taking the right actions in dealing with the affairs of life.

Deep Waters

We might say it this way. Good advice in a man’s heart is like deep and mysterious waters. Deep waters. That’s an interesting analogy. The surface is smooth, but underneath are many hidden things.

Good advice, or counsel, according to this verse, is in the heart of a man. We all have good and wise advice somewhere inside of us, but it takes understanding to draw it out. Understanding of what? Understanding of how to draw it out.

Understanding comes from the word tabun (taw-boon’), which means the faculty of understanding, the object of knowledge, and is also defined as insight.

Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man who knows how will draw it out. It is indeed there, under the surface, somewhere down in that deep place within a person. But how do we get to it, how do we pull it out?

A man of understanding, discretion, and insight will draw it out. How? By going over into that deep place, finding it, and pulling it out into the open. How does he do that? By contemplation, reflection, and prayerful pondering of the issue at hand.

Deep Thinking

Most of us don’t like to think past the surface of our minds, especially concerning unpleasant things, or problems. If a problem or a goal requires going beyond the surface of our thinking, we will often set it aside as too difficult. That much thinking is just too hard, too painful, too overwhelming. It takes so much effort. But it doesn’t need to be painful at all. It can, in fact, be quite enjoyable if done in the right way. It can be an adventure, a pleasure, a treasure hunt, a journey of discovery.

When I first attended college, I was a math major, and my first math subject was Calculus. Now, Calculus was difficult for me, because I had sluffed my way through Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry in High School, just studying enough to get by with a passing grade. But Calculus was like Algebra on Steroids, just another level altogether.

I remember the Instructor of the course, Mr. Davis. It was amazing to watch him solve Calculus problems on the board. He was very methodical, very step-by-step in his approach, and he made it look so easy. He was not straining himself in the process. He was just starting at the beginning, then thinking a little and moving on to the next step. Then he would assess his position, think a little more, and move to the next step. Now, he obviously had to know each of the steps involved in solving the problem, but the steps, when taken one at a time, are fairly easy to learn.

How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time. That’s how he solved those problems, one bite at a time. How does this apply to what we’re talking about? What does this have to do with drawing out counsel from deep waters? It has to do with taking things one thing at a time. Too often we try to solve a problem or think through something quickly in our mind, and it overwhelms us. So, rather than drawing advice and counsel from within ourselves, we just let it go.

Thinking on Paper

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Most of us would think deeper into things if we knew an easy to do it, if didn’t seem so difficult to us.

One of the most powerful tools for thinking things through, for drawing out counsel from the heart, is a legal pad or a composition book. We can think deeply into something without straining ourselves when we write out our thoughts, which forces us to think one thing at a time. When we use a legal pad or a notebook, or anything to write our thoughts on, we can write a question at the top, something like; what must I do to solve this problem? Then we relax and begin to list the things, one thing at a time, that we might do toward solving it; we begin to draw things out.

You see, we are drawing from within ourselves when we do that. We are pulling something up from the inside, and we’re not straining ourselves at all. We are merely relaxing and pondering and allowing our imaginations to come up with ideas. The counsel we receive is coming up from the inside of us, from that place of deep waters, from that place where the things we have learned over the years reside at.

And, as believers in Christ, it is in the deep place of our spirit where the Holy Spirit resides, the one who knows all things, the one who has all the answers, the one who has been sent to guide us into all truth.

Drawing on Our Memory

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would bring to remembrance all things that I have spoken to you.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

The Holy Spirit has the ability to bring things to our remembrance. How many experiences have we had in our life? Innumerable. All of our memories are in there, even things we may not have thought of for many years, even things we may seem to have forgotten. They are all in that deep place inside of us. When we are in a quiet, meditative, contemplative, reflective state of mind, He is able to give us counsel that will rise up into our thinking. It will float up to the top, so to speak. That’s how we draw it out.

Seek by Pondering and Reflecting

Jesus said in Matthew 7:7 to seek, and you shall find. The word for seek is Zetoe, which means to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning; to enquire into.

It’s the same Greek word used in Matthew 6:33 that says to SEEK ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things [that the things the Gentiles run after] shall be added unto you.

It means to seek by thinking and meditating, pondering, and reflecting. It means to enquire into something. How do we do that? One way to do it is by writing ourselves a question and then pondering and reflecting and writing down some answers. This is how we think deeply into something.

This is also the way to meditate in the word of God. We write down a scripture verse and then we relax and think about the verse, and then we write down the things that come to our mind, and we write down the questions that might arise while we are pondering, and we put some thought into answering those questions.

We let our imagination visualize what we are reading, and we write down the thoughts that come to mind. And we make our way down the trail of discovery, one step at a time, like an adventure of enlightenment.

Psalms 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

We allow the word of God to enter into that deep place of meditation and contemplation. And the Bible says that the entrance of His word gives light. The Holy Spirit, who was sent as the Spirit of Truth to guide us into all truth, will do just that as we meditate in the word.

Learn to Contemplate

Whether it be for the purpose of drawing counsel and advice from the deep place within us, or for the purpose of gaining insight and understanding of the word of God, the process of meditating and pondering, contemplating, and reflecting, is the means by which we get results.

Contemplation is an area of thinking that many folks rarely get over into. But, as believers in Christ, we should be developing our reborn human spirit by spending time in the place of meditation, which is merely contemplative reflection, for in that place are we able to receive insight from the Holy Spirit about the word of God, as well as being able to plan the path of our feet and also find solutions for the problems we face in life.

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