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We Need to Give Thought to Our Actions
Proverbs 14:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 The wisdom of the shrewd man is to discern his way,
but the stupid ones are deceived by their foolishness.
The wisdom of the shrewd man is to discern his way: Wisdom (חָכְמָה chokmah) is sound judgment, based on knowledge and understanding. It is the balanced application of that knowledge to answer difficulties, achieve objectives, sidestep, or ward off dangers, not to mention helping others to accomplish the same. The wise person is often contrasted with the foolishness or stupid person. (Deut. 32:6; Prov. 11:29; Eccles. 6:8) Shrewdness; prudence; discernment: (עָרוּם arum) This is one who has or shows good powers of judgment. This one is cautious as he careful to avoid potential problems or dangers, as he desires to avoid potential problems. Discernment: A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but in the sense of the word that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.
but the stupid ones are deceived by their foolishness: Stupid Ones; Foolish Ones: (כְּסִיל kesil) is a person who lacks good judgment, lacks understanding, inferring rebellion. (Prov. 10:18) This is a person, who shows a rude and arrogant lack of respect, that is, a rebel against standard or person. (Prov. 10:18) Here the Hebrew word for “stupid” suggests, not only one who lacks knowledge but also one who is ungodly, indifferent to moral truth.
The Ancient Greek aphorism (pithy saying) “know thyself” (γνῶθι σεαυτόν gnōthi seauton) has its Hebrew counterpart here “discern his way.” The greatest wisdom that one can possess is one who can discern his own way, and even more so if he is doing so through the wisdom found in the Word of God. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the stupid ones who suffer from self-deceit, deceived by their foolishness. The life of the wise man is not the wisdom of men, which is based on much skepticism, speculation, uncertainty, and ambitiousness, but rather the wisdom of the shrewd person who is biblically minded, giving him exemplary powers of good judgment.
The Christian who is shrewd has a right understanding of his way. We are to focus our mind of Christ on our way, our journey through Satan’s age, not busying ourselves critically in the matters of our spiritual brothers and sisters. We have enough of a task in focusing our attention on ourselves, pondering our path, to discern the way in which we should go. Furthermore, we must be very observant if we are to avoid or remain steadfastly faithful through the dangers and difficulties that will surely be in our way. Thus, one obstacle that we are wise to avoid is the stupid ones, as he foolishly thinks he knows his way, but he is clueless as to the way in which he needs to go. Now, we do not neglect a person simply because he lacks knowledge, but rather the one who also is ungodly in all his ways and has no intention of making any changes. Rather, we are to evangelize those who simply lack knowledge.