Waging War with Wise Counsel

“Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance.”  (Proverbs 20:18)

While the vow emphasizes the power and importance of the words that we speak, chapter 31 of Numbers perhaps emphasizes the power of the words we listen to.


A close-up of the Torah scroll

In this chapter, God commands Moses to execute His vengeance against the Midianites for conspiring to destroy Israel through enticing them to sin.

“‘Avenge the people of Israel on the Midianites.  Afterwards you shall be gathered to your people.’  So Moses spoke to the people, saying, ‘Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the LORD’s vengeance on Midian.  You shall send a thousand from each of the tribes of Israel to the war.’”  (Numbers 31:1–4)

Because of the advice of Balaam the sorcerer, who helped Balak plot Israel’s moral downfall, Israel fell into sin with Midianite women and a plague swept through the camp killing many thousands.

“Behold, these, on Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and so the plague came among the congregation of the LORD.”  (Numbers 31:16)

In the end, the Lord took vengeance, and the Israelites slew Balaam with a sword in this war with Midian.

“They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of their slain, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian.  And they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword.”  (Numbers 31:8)

From this we can understand that God is mindful of who we are listening to!

All kinds of voices are clamoring to give us advice on what we should do next and how we should do it; however, when making plans, seeking guidance, or in the midst of any kind of battle, we so desperately need wise counsel.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”  (Proverbs 15:22)

“‘Consider carefully what you hear,’ he continued.  ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.’”  (Mark 4:24)


A Jewish man carries the Torah scroll, which has been

adorned with a beautifully embroidered Torah mantle.

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