Planning, to some this word is a blessing - to others (and honestly, I have to say I'm among this number) it is a difficult area of their lives. Yet the Lord has some very pointed things to say here to us about the blessing that comes from diligent planning rather than hastily put together things that happen at the last minute.
We read first here that the plans of the diligent surely lead to advantage. The word "plans" will help us to see what is meant here. The word means a thought, purpose, or intention. The idea is that we are thinking through things - considering their purpose and intention - and therefore laying plans that will not only plan an event - but also plan it with a sense of purpose in what it is to accomplish. Here is something which every believer should seriously consider.
God has given us the few years we have on this earth as a gift - but also as a responsibility and a trust. How we use these years are important. Do we have a purpose behind the things we are doing? Are they working for us an eternal destiny and an eternal reward - or are we just committing "chonicide" (just killing time). Too many times our lives are just being lived with no real purpose or intention behind what we are doing. That leads to a wasted life.
Solomon is telling us that the plans laid with a sense of purpose and intention to live for God's glory and purposes - are beneficial to us. But they are not just haphazard plans - these are plans that are set in place with "diligence." This word means something sharp and industrious. It refers to those people who are living industrious lives that are sharp in their focus and intent. The root word for this referred to a sharp threshing sledge. This was used to cut the harvest - and was sharpened to make the job easier and more effective. One might complain of the time spend with a wetstone or file sharpening the metal. This is hard work after all - and it takes time to sharpen something well. But if you are having to cut entire fields of grain - you know that the few moments spent sharpening your tool can save hours of time and much additional effort. So plans laid by someone who thinks through purpose and intent can make living life much easier and more focused.
These kind of plans lead surely to advantage. Here is one of the times when I prefer the King James translation to the NASB. The word here means an abundance. It refers to an abundance of profit, materials, harvest, or whatever the word refers to and modifies. It can also mean advantage or a more favorable position - a superior one to someone who has not planned and thought through their actions. When you plan - you will have abundance and advantage over those who have not thought these things through well. Planning does not negate labor and faithful effort at a task. But it does halp ensure that the labor and effort invested is leading to a desired end.
This way of living is compared to someone who is hasty. The hasty man is the one who prefers reacting to life - than planning it. The problem is that reacting to our circumstances can have us being led, not by our purpose and intent, but rather by whatever happens. Circumstances begin being our leader - rather than us seeking to control many of our circumstances by moving in a planned direction and way. When you live this way, the result is poverty. Just as the plans of the diligent man will surely lead to an abundance and advantage - the lack of planning and diligent effort doing something well - will eventually lead us to poverty.
God wants us to live on purpose. He does not want us to spend our lives just reacting to whatever happens. We can do much to guide our lives according to His principles if we will just spend time learning them and directing our lives according to them. We will find that God's Word gives us a path - gives us counsel on how to live and how to plan to do things that God desires. This will ensure that we live a life God blesses - not just one that He tries to guide through whatever emergency happens next. To do this - with diligence and purpose . . . is wisdom indeed.