How gullible are you? Here is a verse in Proverbs that tells us that being wise and godly are actually the opposite of being gullible. If that has whet your appetite for more - read on.
In chapter 8 of Proverbs we have a picture painted for us where wisdom is personified. She speaks to us and tells us about herself. The more we learn of her - the more we are to desire her. In the midst of this description we have wisdom saying to us that there is a companion that she dwells with. Her companion's name is "prudence." If we will stay with these two, wisdom and prudence. we will be influenced in such a way that we will also find knowledge and discretion. Let's take a closer look at this friend of wisdom.
Prudence is the Hebrew word, "ormah." This word means to be crafty or prudent. We're pretty much OK with the second of these two words, but crafty presents an interesting picture. We don't usually view someone who is crafty as a positive thing, but here it is used in a positive way. The idea here is that of someone who is crafty with wisdom and with seeing things from God's perspective. Whereas the wicked would use craftiness to trick someone and gain an unfair advantage of them, God is using it to speak of the inability to be caught by someone's trickery. It is a wisdom and cautiousness that keeps us from being gullible. We are not speaking of someone who is always thinking the worst of people - but we are speaking of someone who knows men. It was said of Jesus that he did not entrust himself to men - because He knew what was in a man.
Let me use a biblical illustration to make this clearer. Joshua was tricked into making a treaty in the book of Joshua chapter 9. The Gibeonites used trickery to make it look like they were from a far away country. They put on worn-out clothes and sandals, took worn-out sacks, and dry and crumbled provisions to make Israel think they were not Canaanites. Israel was snookered by all this - only because her leaders did not walk according to wisdom. The Scriptures tell us that their failure was in not seeking and asking God about their situation. They took everything at face value - and believed their eyes. They did not seek the Lord and submit themselves to Him. In the end - their lack of prudence led to their being too gullible.
Wisdom dwells with prudence. Wisdom is found with those who do not make "snap" judgments and decisions. They stand back from things long enough to ask questions - and more importantly - to ask God about what their eyes see and what their minds seem to be comprehending. Thus, when we walk with this wise cautiousness - we are led to find knowledge. We are led to find out things that a "once-over" mindset and choice will never find. You don't judge a book by its cover - you open it and read a little. You don't make wise decisions by reacting to the outside only - you take time to investigate things, people, and situations. When we walk in this wisdom - prudence will also help us to find discretion. We remember discretion from earlier verses in Proverbs. Discretion is being able to differentiate things. It is seeing two things that may look alike at first, but are not. Closer examination reveals the difference. And the difference often makes all the difference.
Being gullible is not something we have to hold onto in life. It is something that reveals a tendency to not turn to God and to Scripture to obtain wisdom - i.e. God's perspective on things. You do not have to suffer from terminal gullibility though. You can learn to step back and examine things closer in the light of God's presence and Word. This will help you to build purdence, knowledge, and the ability to discriminate between that which is good and that which is evil or even not so good. You will find out that gullible is not written on the ceiling. What you will find is that God's Word and Spirit will help you see the difference between your will, the will and way of the world, and God's will.