“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin…” (Is. 30:1)
Isaiah confronts the nation of Israel as a nation of rebellious children. Isaiah isn’t merely talking to teenagers or young people or college students. Isaiah is talking to the whole nation, and accuses them all of being rebellious children. Later in the passage he calls them liars, children that will not hear the law of the Lord. Taking these two descriptions together, we can get a fairly clear picture of the kind of hypocrisy Isaiah is confronting: these people say they love wisdom, they read books and use their Google search proficiently. They probably occasionally even go ask the pastor or one of their friends for advice. Because after all, it is good to ask for advice.
But these people are not really looking for counsel from the Lord. They are not looking for deliverance; they are looking for self-vindication, self-justification. These kinds of people can have a show of wisdom, an appearance of holiness, but Proverbs calls them fools because they are wise in their own eyes. They already know the answer they are looking for. The counsel they are looking for is just a covering for their own conceit, their self-confidence. They are liars: they say they are looking for wisdom, but if the law of God tells them something offensive, they’ll go looking for a different interpretation. And God calls this rebellion.
While Isaiah is addressing the whole nation, this admonition certainly does apply to teenagers and college students. The Bible clearly says that we are all required to honor and obey our parents. It is not terribly difficult for young people to play games with their parents, asking permission, asking for advice only when you think you’ll get the answer you’re looking for or manipulating information to get the results you require, and avoiding the conversations when you suspect you’ll get something else. But God requires that His people love real counsel, real advice, real friendship, because God is a faithful friend.
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes; but he that hearkens unto counsel is wise.” (Pr. 12:15)