A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. (NLT)
Young people have an often-deserved reputation for failing to recognize danger, and on occasions choosing to ignore it. When I was a cadet in the Merchant Navy many an old sea dog dished out advice on numerous aspects of life, not least of all issues of safety associated with what was considered to be a dangerous job. Sometimes I listened, sometimes I didn’t. Even when going ashore I wasn’t always blessed with wisdom about places to go and places to avoid.
One piece of advice given to those on their first trip to sea involves sitting on the rails of a ship. For some reason only first trippers and seagulls have an attraction to rails. The difference is that seagulls perch and have wings to rescue themselves if required. First trippers are more likely to do a couple of somersaults before hitting the water and being left behind as the ship disappears into the sunset.
Given that life is full of danger it is difficult to understand why so many of us walk straight into it. While we are unable to see what is around every corner this does not excuse us from approaching each corner with caution.
In spiritual terms Solomon is warning about the dangers of not recognizing evil. The problem with evil is that it has many disguises. Even in church, perhaps especially in church, there is vulnerability and the potential for problems of various magnitudes. God does not want or expect us to live our lives with our eyes shut. Nor does He expect us to live with our minds closed to Him. If we are tuned into God, if we are constantly hungry for more of Him, then He will provide us with early warnings of danger as our sensitivity to His will increases. We may still walk into walls, but God will be there right by us.