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 foolish and stupid believe all they hear or read. A wise and successful man will examine things carefully, before he makes his decision. He understands the risks and rewards before he chooses a course of action. He does nothing by chance or mere hope.
The proverb is for safety and success. It is one of the best. Memorize it. It will save you often (Pr 22:3). You live in bad times. Men trust sound bites instead of sound reasoning. The information explosion bombards you with new data every day. Telemarketers, mail order catalogs, advertisements, infomercials, pop-up ads, and the Internet throw opinions, suggestions, and products at you. 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 this ignorant and perverse society, scares them away.
Learn to reject anything without proof, and learn the rudiments of evaluating proof. A testimonial is not proof of anything; a drawing of the evolution of the horse is fantasy. The public education system neglects logic and rhetoric: they want you gullible to trust their authorities, which are educators, the media, and entertainers. None of whom, in this Bible-rejecting day, have a clue about truth and error. See the comments on Pr 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, fraudulent advertising, and testimonials of miracles. 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 100,000 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!
Many hold evolution to be science, though it violates key parts of the scientific method. Many buy lottery tickets thinking they have a chance because they saw a winner on television. Many worship Joel Osteen for his constant repetition they all can be grinning millionaires like him. Many cremate dead relatives because the funeral home said it is better than burial. Many are vegetarians because an emaciated guru said it leads to god.
How could the Tulip mania of Holland occur in 1637? Or the dot.com bubble of 1997-2000? How did America turn its opinion of sodomy upside down in one generation? Why blame banks for the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2009, when they loaned the money? How could anyone buy a ticket for the Heaven Is for Real movie? How can network marketing still exist when 98% lose money buying overpriced stuff for the 2%?
Many Christians practice infant baptism, though not even hinted at in the Bible. Charismatics in many places claim to be apostles, though Paul was the last one. Seventh-Day Adventists’ claim to fame is their false prophecy of the Lord’s coming in 1844, yet they have millions of followers still. Catholics at Mass eat a wafer they claim is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ without any Bible or scientific evidence at all.
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. The salesman and infomercial have one goal, to take their money from their pockets for themselves. Teach them the Bible is the only book to believe absolutely. Teach them that God is the only Being they can totally trust. Remind them that only God and the godly are truly looking out for them and their future success.
Watch the Evening News together, and point out the blather of the anchor, no matter who it is. Watch a Benny Hinn crusade. Tell them he has never healed anyone and screens every sick person several times before they ever reach the platform. 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 this twisted world of peer-pressured perversity.
You 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. Men 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 Bible and a pastor that will preach mainly to you and provide encouragement and doctrine to lead your family (Ps 119:128; II Tim 3:14 – 4:4)!
Here is valuable wisdom. 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 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 impulsively; 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 your first birth, you love lies (John 8:45). But as the children of God, you can follow the truth, if you will prove it and pursue it (Jn 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 for eternity.