Proverbs Daily Devotionals
Butch Monk, Pastor to Adults
“The prudent see danger and take refuge but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” Proverbs 27:12 (New International Version)
“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
Proverbs 27:12 (New Living Bible)
In our everyday lives we are often alerted to possible negative consequences that may occur due to our “simple” behavior. As a youngster we’ve all heard, “Stay out of the Street,” “Choose your friends wisely,” “Never play with fire,” and on and on. These were warnings to alert us to danger and stop us from proceeding further. But we often didn’t listen and hurried into a situation that carried dire consequences.
In fact, often in our desire to prove our own independence, we headed right into a dangerous situation without listening or even considering the possible consequences. In Proverbs 27, Solomon gives a list of precautions that are warnings that indicate a need for wisdom. Eric Lane in Proverbs: Everyday Wisdom for Everyone says, “To avoid danger we need a sense of danger.” This is not a caution that causes nervousness, anxiety and avoidance of challenges. This is a caution that exercises godly judgment and discernment that wisely weighs the possible consequences and deters us from proceeding with reckless abandon.
A case in point is Abraham’s nephew Lot. When Abraham traveled into Egypt looking for relief from the famine, young Lot went with him. During that time both Abraham and Lot had accumulated many workers, along with healthy flocks and herds (Genesis 13:5). Upon returning to Canaan, the two leaders were faced with quarreling workman who wanted the best land for the accumulated flocks and herds. Abraham generously acquiesced to Lot, wanting to quell the quarrel. So Lot saw the “well watered plain of the Jordan” and chose it for himself. Genesis 13 tells us that Lot pitched his tent near Sodom, even though “the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against The Lord” (Genesis 13:13). Somehow, Lot thought he could sit close to the flame but not be burned. Subsequently Sodom was overcome by its enemies and Lot is captured, along with his family. You may remember that Abraham courageously rescued Lot from the clutches of the enemy (Genesis 14:16). It would seem that Lot would have realized that his closeness to Sodom had resulted in the capture. Wise decision-making would indicate a need to quickly relocate, but instead Lot goes right back to Sodom. In fact he settles into the city this time and even becomes a city official. Remember our verse. “…But the simple keep going and pay the penalty” (Proverbs 27:12). Lot certainly “kept going.” Somehow, associating himself with evil seemed more beneficial than exercising prudence. You know the rest of the story. Sodom was destroyed for its wickedness; Lot is saved but the accumulated wealth and family are lost (Genesis 19:29).
You may remember that in 2 Peter 2:7-8, Lot is referred to as a “righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men…” Even righteous, God-fearing folk can be caught up in their own selfishness and make simple-minded decisions that cost them dearly. What was it that motivated Lot to keep going right into trouble? Why had he not learned to avoid the dangers of Sodom the first time?
First of all, He made decisions based on personal benefit rather than godly principles. Secondly, he apathetically ignored the warnings he had received through previous consequences. This is what Proverbs 27:12 warns us about. It is easy to become so focused on our own desires that we miss the message from adverse consequences. Finally, he mindlessly allowed gradual compromises to conform his mind and behavior to sinful practices with little regard for their devastating effects.
The challenge from this proverb is to be so intimately alert to God’s warnings that we avoid those dangerous, sinful situations that carry with them natural consequences from our “simple” behavior.