Proverbs 22:3

Foreseeing Evil

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself:
but the simple pass on, and are punished.

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself:

1. A prudent man:

a. Prudent: Subtle; shrewd; crafty; sly; sensible; discerning.

b. A prudent man has the wisdom and shrewdness to manage his affairs sensibly.

c. It is not a matter of education, knowledge, or raw intellect.

d. Rather, prudence is a matter of having the wisdom to use what knowledge he has in a sensible manner.

e. The prudent man thinks about his ways… about the direction his life is headed. (Prov. 14:8)

f. The prudent man is not gullible, but thinks things through before he decides to take action. (Prov. 14:15)

2. Foreseeth the evil.

a. Evil: (It has a wide range of meaning)
• Misery; distress; injury; fierce; wild; harmful i.e., pertaining to that which can harm or injure an object.
• Bad; affliction; trouble; danger.
• Ps. 23:4 – The psalmist feared no evil. He did not fear calamity because the Lord was with him.

b. Foreseeth:
• To see; look at; gaze at; to inspect; perceive; consider.
• Use the perception of sight to view objects and make judgments based on the perceptions.

c. The one who foresees evil is one who has enough perception to not only see, but to anticipate trouble or danger ahead of time.
• This term does not denote prophecy, but rather insight… foresight the ability to see potential pitfalls that lie ahead.
• Solomon is speaking about the kind of wisdom that is able to step back and see the big picture… and anticipate potential danger or trouble ahead.
• This is a most valuable skill in every area of life: from the business world, to our health, in raising children, to our walk with God.

3. He hides himself.

a. The wise man sees trouble coming and runs in the other direction. He HIDES himself from it.

b. He PROTECTS himself from the trouble by not exposing himself to it.

c. This man runs away from temptation… not INTO it.

d. This man puts on his armor to hide himself and protect himself from temptation.

e. He is humble and is very much aware of how easily he could fall. Thus, he avoids temptation.

f. He abstains from every form of evil.

g. Prov. 14:16 – The wise man departs from evil when he sees it coming.
• He FEARS the danger that lies ahead… and turns in the other direction.
• He will fear racing in a car…and weaving in and out of traffic… though others may think it’s cool.
• He will be afraid of copying the stupid stunts he has heard that others are doing…
• He will be afraid of taking foolish risks… and putting his life or the lives of others in harm’s way… just for the thrill of it.
• But most importantly, he fears displeasing God.

h. He runs AWAY from the evil and TO the Lord – his strong tower and place of safety and refuge in the time of trouble. (Psalm 18:1-2)

i. This implies that the wise man foresees trouble coming and DOES something about it!
• Consider Joseph. He knew that a famine was coming, so he DID something about it. He prepared for it by storing up grains for the lean years.
• Consider those who experienced the plague of hail in Egypt. Ex.9:18-20 – those who feared God took heed to the warning and sought shelter… and were safe. They could foresee what was coming.

j. Many of the troubles or dangers that we see coming, we are unable to stop. However, we CAN step out of their way and avoid being run over!
• The wise and prudent person is aware of danger… and takes warnings of danger or trouble seriously.
• He sees that a certain person is a trouble maker and avoids that person because he doesn’t want to get in trouble.
• He sees the danger of alcohol and stays away.
• He sees the potential trouble of marrying an unsaved person… or even a believer from a different doctrinal belief and stays away.
• He sees the potential danger of filling his mind and heart with novels and videos written by unsaved men who subtly seek to present a non Christian philosophy… and avoids them.
• He sees the spiritual danger of NOT reading his Bible and avoids that.
• He foresees the danger of putting a TV in his kid’s bedroom and turns the other way.

But the simple pass on, and are punished.

1. The simple is a naïve person. He is inexperienced.

a. Prov. 14:15 – The simple believeth every word: (gullible)
• Often this young person listens to his young friends (who do not have much wisdom) and believes every word.
• Thus, he remains simple… naïve… inexperienced in life…
• This term speaks of one who is careless.
• Sometimes it is because of ignorance and he just needs to be taught.
• Much worse is the case where his simplicity is NOT due to ignorance, but is due to the fact that he REFUSES to listen to counsel… because of pride.

b. A simple man CAN learn and become wise.
• Psalm 19:7 – “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”
• Psalm 119:130 – “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
• BUT—the simple has to take in the Word to become wise.

2. “Pass on”

a. This term means to “travel through” or to “head down a pathway.”

b. Solomon’s point in this proverb is that the simple man “passes on” in the sense that he is carelessly heading down a pathway… unaware of the danger that lies ahead…

c. He is headed down a pathway in life, but he is not watching where he’s going; he is walking like a blind man; he is not paying attention to the warning signs along the way.

d. He is just strolling down the road, in a happy go lucky manner, but is oblivious to trouble and danger that lies ahead.

e. This is the way the unsaved live everyday with respect to the spiritual realities. They are headed down life’s pathway, oblivious to the fact that they are on their way to Hell unless they receive Christ.

f. But even believers can be simple and naïve. We should know better, but often we don’t. We don’t pay attention to the warnings in God’s Word… and just drift through life without paying attention to our spiritual life… unaware of the fact that our adversary walks about seeking to devour us… unaware of the fact that nothing in the world is of the Father… oblivious to temptations all around us… and not thinking about the spiritual disaster that could lie ahead if we are not careful!

g. Solomon speaks of this simple man in generic terms. It could apply to all kinds of situations.

3. The simple do NOT see the danger. They really don’t!

a. Because they don’t SEE it, they pass right on INTO it.

b. They might be warned, but don’t see the harm in it.

c. They might be warned repeatedly, and get angry at the one who warns. They see the one warning as making a big deal out of nothing. “This won’t bother me! You worry too much.”

d. In spite of the warnings that the ice is not thick enough, every year somebody drives his pickup truck on to the lake and loses his truck.

e. In spite of the hurricane warnings down south that are sounded for days in advance, there are always people walking along the beach to see it up close… and those who stay in their homes and are killed.

f. In spite of the doctor’s warnings, some people will not take their medicine, or follow the doctor’s orders… and suffer as a result.

g. In some cases, they could not foresee what was inevitable. But in many other cases, they heard the warning but refused to DO anything about it. Either way, the result is the same.

4. “And are punished.”

a. Punished:
• A verb meaning to fine, to penalize with a fine. The primary meaning is the monetary assessment for a crime.
• It can also be used in a more general sense of any kind of punishment… as is the case here.
• In other words, there is a PRICE to pay for not foreseeing evil… and from not hiding yourself from it.
• There is a penalty attached to this kind of behavior.
• Mistakes made by the inexperienced can be very costly.
• That’s why counsel from those who are experienced is so valuable!
• That’s why spending time in the Word is so necessary!
• It can enable you to avoid VERY costly mistakes.

b. II Cor. 6:14 – “Be ye not unequally yoked…” You ought to be able to foresee the problems that lie ahead when a believer marries an unbeliever! There is usually a PRICE to pay for disobeying this passage.

c. Prov. 7:7-8, 22-23 – The simple head straight into trouble and suffer for it.

d. Prov. 29:1 – He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
• This proverb implies that when a simple, inexperienced youth continually rejects wisdom, he will suffer for it… and there may be no remedy…
• It may be irreversible… It’s too late… especially if he dies.

5. And the SIMPLE here are not just the youth. There are many human beings in adult bodies, who never grew up and are still in the “simple” category.

a. Some of the things people do indicate that they either cannot foresee impending danger or refuse to hide from it.

b. Consider how commonplace this is:
• Houses built on cliffs in CA—the land of mud slides and earthquakes.
• Houses built in woody areas in fire zones in CA without removing the dead debris around their property.
• Houses built on sand on Cape Cod.
• Houses built on the sand in FL in hurricane zones.
• Houses built on the edge of the Mississippi in a flood zone.
• A city built below sea level—New Orleans.

c. It is unlikely that these folks did not SEE the potential danger; it is much more likely that they saw the danger but chose not to hide from it. (“Oh, nothing will happen to me!”)

d. It’s easy to see the folly of this in the natural realm. But what about in the SPIRITUAL realm?

6. What do YOU do with information about a potential danger or trouble ahead?

a. Do we take heed? Do we ignore it?

b. Do we assume that it could never happen to me?

c. Do we postpone doing what we ought to do until it is too late?

d. Do we pass on through it blissfully as if we are not afraid of the possible disaster that lies ahead?