“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” Proverbs 27:12 (NLT)
The idea is that the wise are able to evaluate the path they are on, see the end result and take precautions to protect themselves from harm. The fool on the other hand, may see the danger ahead but foolishly assumes they will be the exception to the rule, presses on and suffers the consequences.
Think about it like this. You’re driving 60mph in your car. Suddenly you realize that you are driving straight toward a brick wall. What do you do? The wise person realizes that driving into a brick wall at 60mph is dangerous and potentially deadly. So they take precautions by turning out of the way to ensure that they don’t hit the wall and so protects himself from harm. The fool on the other hand sees the wall but think to himself that somehow or another the wall will move before he gets there and so he keeps going and suffers the consequences. Think about some different ways this would work.
Relationships-Let’s say a girl dates a guy that is verbally abusive and borderline physically abusive. The wise girl recognizes that this is a serious problem that won’t get better and protects herself by ending the relationship. The foolish girl on the other hand assumes that this will get better as time goes on, continues with the relationship, perhaps even to the point of marriage and suffers the consequences.
Let’s say a guy dates a girl that is very flirtatious and borderline unfaithful. The wise guy recognizes that this is a serious problem that isn’t going to get better and protects himself by ending the relationship. The foolish guy on the other hand, assumes that this will get better as time goes on, continues with the relationship, perhaps to the point of marriage and suffers the consequences.
Financially-The wise person recognizes that they are spending more than they are making so they take precautions to cut spending and so protect themselves. The fool on the other hand recognizes that they are spending more than they are making and figures they can spend their way out of the hole they are in and suffer the consequences.
Materialism-The wise person recognizes that money and stuff are temporary so they can’t provide ultimate satisfaction and so they look for something eternal to find fulfillment in. The fool on the other hand decides that while a new car didn’t provide fulfillment perhaps a new house will and continues throughout their life looking for fulfillment in the temporary stuff of this world and suffers the consequences.
Relationship with God -The wise person recognizes that sin always hinders his relationship with God and so he fights with all his might against the sinful temptations that assail him. The fool on the other hand determines that they are the exception to the rule and can live in rebellion against God and in a close relationship with God at the same time and so he suffers the consequences.
There are any number of ways you could apply this but you get the idea. So here’s what we all need to do.
Look at the direction our life choices are taking us. Our daily choices have each of us going in one direction or another. What is that direction?
See where this path is, and will, take us. The path we are on has a destination. The destination isn’t determined by our desire, but by the direction we are choosing through our daily life decisions.
Decide if this is the destination we want to arrive at. Once we’ve identified the destination of our direction, we have to decide if this is the destination we want to arrive at.
Be prudent or simple. If the direction we are going is taking us to a destination we don’t want to arrive at, we will choose to either be prudent (wise) or simple (foolish). The prudent will realize that direction, not desire, determines destination and will make the necessary changes. The simple will keep going the same direction under the false assumption that it will just work out in the end, and will suffer the consequences.
Are we prudent or simple?