The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
Few men understand what they do. Most men live deceived. They think they are wise and right, but they are foolish and wrong. They think they know the consequences of their actions, but they believe lies that hide the coming trouble (Pr 4:19). Only wise men have the prudence and discretion to examine their lives and choose what is right (Pr 22:3).
Deceit is a horrible thing. It is a destructive fault. It is the worst error a man can make. You cannot know once you are deceived, for deceit means you think a lie is the truth, or the truth is a lie. Deceit is confidence you are right, when you are actually wrong. Deceit is lying to yourself. Deceit is believing white is black, or black is white. Deceit is walking naked in public, while thinking you are fully clothed, like an infamous emperor.
There is a great difference between wise men and fools. Wise men take nothing for granted. They carefully examine and prove all things. They make sure they know what they should be doing, the risks involved, and the means to accomplish them. They understand their way. They are not deceived. They have a godly plan, and they execute it.
Fools live foolishly. Their folly is due to their deceived minds. They make choices by instinct (lusts), by tradition (habit), by peer pressure (fear), by self-help books (self-love), by trial and error (chance), and by education (worldly wisdom). Life happens to them. They do not understand life or the right way to live. They deceive themselves into folly.
Joseph understood the evil of adultery, so he rejected Potiphar’s wife; Samson was sure he could handle Delilah. Joseph was a prudent man with a future; Samson was deceived and then punished. Abraham understood commanding his family to obey God. Eli thought he could be lenient. Abraham was the friend of God; Eli was painfully destroyed.
Fools were deceived to think Benjamin Spock and James Dobson were child-training experts, and their folly is this generation’s dysfunctional, rebellious, and selfish children. Prudent men know their humanistic psychobabble is contrary to Scripture. They apply God’s Word, and the rod it requires, with excellent results, as their fathers did to them.
This proverb is fully seen in religion. Noble men search the Scriptures, the only source of absolute truth, to prove all things and confirm what is right (Acts 17:11; I Thess 5:21). Fools cannot endure sound doctrine, so they find teachers who will entertain them with fables and lies (John 8:45; II Tim 3:13; 4:3-4; Is 30:9-11; Jer 5:30-31). Just a few minutes of religious television or visiting the fastest growing churches will confirm the folly.
Rome’s priests deceive many into the folly of a cracker becoming the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus in the Mass. Prudent men reject a cracker god and understand the Lord’s Supper is only symbolic of Christ’s body and blood. It is Rome’s use of deception that leaves Catholic nations among the poorest and most vulnerable to superstition.
Rome’s daughters – Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, and Presbyterians – deceive others into the folly of sprinkling water on a baby’s head for baptism. But prudent men understand Jesus went to the Baptist and was buried and resurrected from a symbolic watery grave. They search the Scriptures for splashing water on babies and cannot find it.
The Watchtower Society deceives its fools into the folly of denying an eternal hell. Those deluded souls are in for a big, long, and hot surprise! Billy Graham and Robert Schuller told the same lie – God would not send men to a burning hell. But prudent men know it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment to the lake of fire. Life is not a joke, as Comedy Central wants you to believe. Or has their folly deceived you?
Do you understand your way? Are you deceived into any folly in your life? Since you cannot see your deception yourself, how will you find lies in your life? By Scripture! “I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love” (Ps 119:113). “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Ps 119:128). Take the time to protect yourself – examine every choice and circumstance by the Bible.