Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.
Two things can ruin your future success – ignorance and haste. You need to understand what you are doing before you do it, which means you must slow down for research first. You must know what is happening and what could happen before you take any action.
Ignorance is not bliss; it is not good. Ignorance is only helpful in matters of Christian liberty and in matters of sin and error (I Cor 10:25-27; Rom 16:19). Only in these areas can ignorance be useful. In all other areas, you should be knowledgeable and prudent.
Speed is not a virtue, except to obey God, hear others, or finish a job correctly (Ps 119:60; Jas 1:19; Pr 26:14). Only in such things should you hurry. Otherwise, caution and wisdom require you to slow down lest you make an error in judgment or in execution.
Both ignorance and haste are condemned by this proverb, which marks them as traits of the fool, connected to the previous proverb by “also.” Before decisions are made and actions started, Solomon required careful study and knowledge. Haste does make waste!
If others criticize or tease you for being cautious and wanting to know more, ignore the impulsive fools. There is no honor or virtue in rushing decisions without adequate research. Do not be intimidated or pressured to make decisions or start actions quickly.
Fools have no heart to learn (Pr 17:16); they are impulsive by nature (Pr 13:16). They rush decisions and actions without knowing the facts, and life punishes them. Wise men question everything (Pr 14:15); they do not rush decisions (Pr 14:29; 18:13; 25:8). They look ahead to see potential trouble and avoid it, but fools rush into pain (Pr 22:3; 27:12).
Many men might have been saved, if they had slowed down to consider the consequences of a seductress (Pr 7:21-22). Being slow to wrath is far superior to haste of spirit (Pr 14:29; Eccl 7:9). It is folly and shame to answer a matter before fully grasping the issues (Pr 18:13). Haste in financial things will bring poverty (Pr 21:5). Entering a conflict hastily will often bring shame in the end, when your ignorance is exposed (Pr 25:8).
The New Testament also teaches knowledge and caution. Paul condemned ignorance, for Christians are to prove all things (I Thes 5:21; Ac 17:11; Phil 1:9-11). Wise men examine in all directions and from all angles – they are circumspect (Eph 5:15-17). He warned against being “heady” – headstrong and impetuous actions hurried on by passion (II Tim 3:4). He listed “without understanding” as an inconvenient sin of reprobates (Rom 1:31).
Reader, do you prove the facts before deciding or acting? Are you cautious and slow with decisions? Avoid emotional reactions, rash purchases, wild speeches, impetuous decisions, and impulsive actions as folly condemned here. God expects you to be sober, calm, circumspect, cautious, prudent, and wise. The warning here is for your own good.
This generation commends marriages on emotion alone, but the proverb demands that there be knowledge as well. How many divorces and dysfunctional marriages could have been avoided by learning more about the other party? When haste is added to mere emotion, folly and its deserved pain will follow. Fifty years in marital hell is a long time.
Parents, especially fathers, should oversee dating and courting: they should be actively involved in the proving process. A young, single person does not have a clue about marriage, and he or she needs the combined wisdom and experience of parents to save him or her from great pain. To rush into such an abyss impatiently is the height of folly.
Others make investment and business decisions by foolish optimism rather than prudent caution and wise counsel (Pr 14:15; 15:22; 22:3). They are punished for these hasty decisions. It is truly better to be safe than sorry. Hard work in a boring job always works better than hastily or ignorantly following vain ideas (Pr 12:11; 14:23; 21:5; 28:19,22).
There are more means today to gain knowledge quickly on any subject than ever before. By Google searches or Bible software, answers for natural or spiritual questions can be found easily, yet many are more foolish than their parents. How can this be? They did not take the time to prove things, and Internet clutter is assumed as truth without any basis.
There are also more means to be hasty today than ever before. Instead of the days or weeks it would take to make an investment in the past, you can do so in less than a second via the Internet. Instead of courting a person for marriage who could be verified by many others, fools can connect via dating services without ever proving each other.
Many join churches without examining them by Scripture out of laziness or to please friends or family. Pastors preach things they have not thoroughly studied. But when the Lord sees such ignorant haste in His worship, He blinds to the truth and sends judgment (Mal 2:1-9; II Thess 2:9-12). Ignorant haste in religion is a horrible compound sin!
God has revealed religious truth in the Bible, where knowledge can be obtained easily and freely, for those who will search its pages and submit to its teachings. All doctrine and practice should be searched and proven from the scriptures (Acts 17:11; I Thess 5:21). There is no reason to be without knowledge or to act hastily, except in obedience!
Your success in life depends on following the wisdom of this proverb. Will you study and prove all things, retaining only what can be fully established as truth? Will you slow down in a faster-faster-faster generation to soberly consider what is right before acting?