Better duck now

A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered. (Proverbs 22:3)

Some might equate 'prudent' to being "street-wise". The individual who is prudent has learned who and what can be trusted, when each needs to be put to practical use, and what can be counted on to deliver the best results. There is another definition of the prudent man or woman: thrifty or frugal. I guess this might be why the word is used in this passage - it is kind of like a prudent person who is streetwise knows when to expend their energies and when to let things go because the energies expended will just be way too much! A simpleton is just an ignorant, silly or foolish person; what some may call a numskull. It really points out the way the simpleton works - with his or her brain asleep! This is a direct contrast to how the prudent operates - for the prudent is always on alert. There is something quite dangerous about letting one's mind be lulled into a place of laziness or slumber. There are times we need to "shut off" for a while, but when it becomes a way of life for us, we open ourselves up to every whim of silliness around us! Two contrasts - one who exercises attentiveness to their ways and another who just flies by the seat of their pants. The difference - one will actually be able to duck quick enough to avoid disaster (natural, spiritual, or emotional)! The other will simply be hit head-on. Perhaps even knocked out by the blows.

In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls, but those who would preserve their life stay far from them. (vs. 5) I like to take hikes up in the high country. Most trails are marked with a difficulty level, so when engaging in the hike one knows ahead of time what type of climb might be encountered. Sometimes there are no markings, so I take a trail in faith. I kind of think life is like that a little - sometimes we get the well-marked trail which gives us plenty of warning about the amount of effort which will be required of us to traverse from one point to another; other times we get the trails which have no markings, give us no warning of their dangers, and which present some unknown hazards to the one on the journey. The simpleton plods ahead; the prudent examines the path as it is presented. The simpleton takes the steps which will do nothing more than tire and present unwanted "slipping" points. The prudent will examine the course and see the shortest distance may not be the best for preserving strength, stamina, and avoiding injury. 

We are afforded many paths in life - we can face them as the simpleton or the prudent. The choice is ours. Not every path will be well-marked, giving us every chance to prepare for it, or avoid it completely. I think God might just do this on purpose, for if we knew the end from the beginning, let alone the way we'd have to traverse to get there, we probably would pull back and declare the paths presented just way too hard for our travels! Prepare for the path ahead and the pitfalls of the path will be more evident. Plod ahead without any preparation or consideration and you could just be putting yourself in danger. Not every path will be 'hazard-free', so when we are alert, prepared, and consistently focused, we are likely to avoid those 'hazards' that pop up out of nowhere. Once we are well on our way down the path, it is too late to consider our commitment to it! Just sayin!


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