The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
This is the same message as the proverb: Fools rush in where angels fear to dread. The simple “go on” either because they do not see the danger or because they estimate themselves too highly, thinking they can withstand harm.
The prudent does not hide himself out of cowardliness. Rather, he is able to discern the danger and discern the appropriate action to take, which will at times be to hide or walk away. As an old Kenny Rogers song says, “You’ve got to know when to hold them (cards) and know when to fold them.” There are times to speak up and times to remain quiet; times to stand one’s ground and times to give in. There are times to fight and times to make peace. The prudent understands the times; the simple does not.
And thus the simple person oftentimes suffers for his actions. He is admonished for his speech and punished for his behavior, and he actually does not seem to know why. He cannot look about him and see how his action is inappropriate.
Certainly the lesson is for us to develop our ability to discern. We are to be prudent. But all the more let us thank our God who watches over us. For the most prudent person is still unaware of most dangers. We do not see the future; we do not see the unseen spiritual world. We do not grasp fully our depravity and frailty, nor the power of the evil one. How many times have we been oblivious to the dangers about us and God has protected us from suffering? Let us thank God for the prudent One who saw our danger and put himself forward to suffer on our behalf.
Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
2 hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
3 because of what my enemy is saying,
because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
and assail me in their anger.
4 My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
5 Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
7 I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;[c]
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”
9 Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,
for I see violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
malice and abuse are within it.
11 Destructive forces are at work in the city;
threats and lies never leave its streets.
12 If an enemy were insulting me,
I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me,
I could hide.
13 But it is you, a man like myself,
my companion, my close friend,
14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
at the house of God,
as we walked about
among the worshipers.
15 Let death take my enemies by surprise;
let them go down alive to the realm of the dead,
for evil finds lodging among them.
16 As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God.
20 My companion attacks his friends;
he violates his covenant.
21 His talk is smooth as butter,
yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil,
yet they are drawn swords.
22 Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.
23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked
into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
will not live out half their days.
But as for me, I trust in you.