I'm guessing that when ya'll look at the title today, ya'll think I'm daft. Crazy. Gone bonkers. Well, you might be right, but let's see what these verses have to say to all of us today.
I chose this block of verses to talk about altogether, because in one way or another, they all relate to one thing: discernment. Webster says that discernment is synonymous with wisdom, insight, and perception. Alrighty, let's check out these verses . . .
It isn't always the case, but usually a person's conduct reflects their character. Solomon notes here that a wise person makes his or her moves cautiously, moving ahead carefully. (Hmmm, sounds like using discernment, right?) The wise person realizes that his character is revealed by the words he speaks and the deeds he does. A foolish person shows his lack of discernment and knowledge to everyone around him, by his rash and foolish words and actions.
Next, in verse 17, we see two types of messengers: one, who either is lazy or is downright scheming, will fall into trouble. The other, who uses his discernment to be a faithful and loyal messenger, may be able to bring blessings of healing and peace to those that he serves. In verse 18, poverty and shame are revealed as the final destination of those who think they are too good, or too smart, to listen to instruction. Long-lasting honor will come to those who area able to discern their own need for instruction from those who have wisdom.
Verse 19 reveals that accomplishing an objective or goal brings joy to a wise person. By contrast, accomplishing something as simple as turning away from evil is distasteful to the foolish. They would rather keep on spinning around in their sin, like a ship going down in a whirlpool, and nothing would seem better to them, than to take others down with them. Only those who walk with wise men will be safe from these foolish people.
Yep, folks, this is where the rubber meets the road. One of the most important areas in which we need to use our discernment is in our choices of friends. There is an old saying that goes like this: "Your friends are like the buttons on an elevator: they can either take you up or take you down." (Now you know why I chose that title up there!) When we choose our companions, we will find that some of them love the Lord, and seek His wisdom, and some of them just "want to do their own thing." When we want advice, we often seek out our friends --- so here's hoping that our friends are "UP" elevator buttons!