The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
Skepticism is a virtue. Caution is a sign of nobility. Demanding proof is wisdom. Only the dumb and foolish believe all they hear. A wise and successful man will examine a matter carefully, before he makes a decision about it. He understands the risks and rewards before he chooses a course of action. He does nothing by chance or in hope.
Our proverb is for safety and success. It is one of the best. Memorize it. It will save you often (Pr 22:3). We live in bad times. Men trust sound bites rather than sound reasoning. The information explosion bombards us with new data every day. Telemarketers, mail order catalogs, advertisements, infomercials, pop-up ads, and the Internet throw opinions, suggestions, and products at us. God inspired Solomon to save you by this pithy saying.
The simple are gullible. They are not bright. They do not have conviction or ability to question and criticize new information. If it sounds good, and something they want to be true, they believe it. If others are enthusiastic about it, they get excited. If it is in print, they believe it true. If a perceived authority says it, they trust it completely, even without evidence. If strangers say it worked for them that is good enough evidence to buy it.
The prudent are wise. They have discretion. They are not gullible. They are skeptical of anything sounding too good, too easy, too neat. Too good to be true is their motto. They are not impressed by things in print, words by authority, or testimonials from strangers. They want evidence, and it must be valid. If the simple are excited, they conclude it must be wrong. The majority opinion, in our ignorant and perverse society, scares them away.
Learn to reject anything without proof, and learn the rudiments of evaluating proof. The public education system neglects logic and rhetoric, for they want us gullible and trusting the "authorities," which are the educators, the media, and the entertainers. None of which, in this Bible-rejecting day, have a clue about truth and error. See the comments on 13:16.
Men are vulnerable to fraud in different areas. The old crave a cure for aging and disease, so they buy magazines filled with health speculations and quickly order their goat's milk cottage cheese with shark oil! Young men want to look like Hercules, so they ingest gargantuan amounts of the latest weight-gain powder from the same store that granny visited! Of course, in twenty years they will try a new powder to take that weight off!
Some men fall for financial fraud, because they want to make millions, easily! Others obsess about conspiracies and avoid the electronic cashier at the grocery store, for fear of receiving the mark of the beast! Safety freaks stop flying, because their flight, out of 40,000 each day, might have a passenger with a shoe bomb! And doting mothers play subliminal ocean sounds to their sleeping children to help them learn to swim!
Parent, teach your children to be skeptics. It can be enjoyable. Show them the false advertisement you get about the free family cruise to Tahiti. Show them the fine print requiring you to get to Mexico City for departure and the contract to rent expensive condos on four continents over the next four years. Teach them to look for the fine print, and teach them to look around in a full circle, which is circumspection (Eph 5:15).
Teach your children one of life's greatest lessons - there is no free lunch. Teach them another - no stranger loves them. For the salesman and infomercial have one goal, to take your money from your pocket for themselves. Teach them the Bible is the only book to believe absolutely. Teach them the Lord is the only Being they can totally trust.
Watch the Evening News together, and point out the blather of the anchor, no matter who it is. Watch Benny Hinn. Tell them he has never healed anyone, takes in over $100 million per year, and refuses to open his organization to audits or interviews. Read "The Emperor's New Clothes" to them, and explain how often they will need to say, "But the emperor doesn't have any clothes on!" in our twisted world of peer-pressured perversity.
We live in the perilous times of the last days (II Tim 3:1). Information is the rage. Schools and degrees, books and other media, multiply ridiculously. We are gorged on information, but there is no truth! Paul warned, "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Tim 3:7). And it will not get better, for he said, "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (II Tim 3:13).
Husband, protect your wife. Satan stole Eve's mind in about ten seconds in Eden, and Paul warned religious creeps would seek to capture silly - weak and vulnerable - women (II Tim 3:6). Protect your weaker vessel (I Cor 14:34-35; I Pet 3:7). What is the cure? Confidence and knowledge in the Word of God (Ps 119:128; II Tim 3:14 - 4:4)!
Here is the wisdom of God. In life, there is truth and error. A wise man will prove all things, reject the error, and tightly hold the truth. Paul taught this rule plainly when he wrote, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (I Thess 5:21). The Bereans were noble for searching the Scriptures to prove even Paul (Acts 17:11). They were not simple. They did not believe easily; they proved him out. Believe not every spirit (I John 4:1-6)!
God is absolute truth, and His Word is absolute truth (Deut 32:4; John 17:17). Satan is a liar and the father of lies; he has no truth in him (John 8:44). And all men follow one or the other. There is no neutral ground (Gal 1:8-9; Eph 2:1-3; I Tim 6:3-5). By our first birth, we love lies (John 8:45). But as the children of God, we can follow the truth, if we will prove it and pursue it (John 8:47; I Cor 2:15; Jude 1:3). Let God be true (Rom 3:4)!
The Lord Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He is Faithful and True (Rev 19:11). You can trust Him completely, for your future today and in eternity.