Thoughtfulness and Thoughtlessness
Proverbs 22:3
A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

All men might be divided into the thoughtful and the thoughtless. They belong either to those who look before them and prepare for the struggle or the danger that is coming, and avoid it; or else to those who go blindly on and stumble over the first impediment in their way. The "prudent man" of the text is not only the cautious man; he is the man of sagacity and foresight, who takes large and extended views of things. There are many illustrations of the thought, of which we may select.

I. THE EVIL OF PECUNIARY ENTANGLEMENT. The prudent man forbears to enter into that alliance, or into those relationships, or on to that course of action which will demand more resources than he can supply. But the simple "pass on" - become involved, and pay the penalty of prolonged anxiety, of great distraction, of painful humiliation, of grave dishonour, of financial ruin.

II. THE STRAIN OF UNWISE COMPANIONSHIP. A prudent man will consider well what company he can wisely keep, whose society will be beneficial and whose injurious to him, whether or not he can bear the pressure that will be put upon him to indulge in this or that direction, and he will shun the social circle that would be perilous to his integrity. But the simple take no heed, accept the first invitation that comes to them, become associated with those whose influence is deteriorating, succumb to their solicitation, and pay the penalty of serious spiritual declension.

III. THE FORCE OF SOME PARTICULAR TEMPTATION. The wise perceive the danger of the intoxicating cup, of the saloon, of the racecourse, of the gambling table, and they keep steadfastly away. The simple pass on - self-confident, presumptuous, doomed, and they are punished indeed.

IV. THE PASSAGE OF YOUTH. The prudent recognize the fact that, unless youth yields its own particular fruit of knowledge, of acquisition, of capacity for work in one field or other, the prizes of life must be foregone; and, recognizing this, they do not waste the golden hours of study in idleness or dissipation. But the simple take no heed, trust to the chapter of accidents, wait upon fortune, fling away their precious chances, and are "punished" by having to take the lower path all the rest of their days.

V. THE RISK OF LOSING HEALTH. The prudent man sees that, if he urges his powers beyond the mark which kind and wise nature draws for him, he will gain a present advantage at the cost of future good, and he holds himself in check. The simple pass on - overwork, overstudy, strain their faculties, and break down long before their time.

VI. THE LOSS OF LIFE. The wise man will count on this; he will reckon that any day he may be called to pass from his business and his family and his pleasure to the great account and the long future; and he lives accordingly, ready for life or for death, prepared to encounter the hour when he will look his last on time and confront eternity. The simple leave this stern fact out of their account; they pass on their way without making preparation either for those whom they must leave behind or for themselves when they enter the world where material treasures are of no account whatever; they pass on, and they "are punished," for they, too, reach the hour of departure, but they awake to the sad fact that that has been left undone for which a long life is not too long a preparation. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

WEB: A prudent man sees danger, and hides himself; but the simple pass on, and suffer for it.

Seen and Unseen Evils of Life
Top of Page
Top of Page