Ever make a hurried decision - one that you did not take the time to think through carefully? Ever start out in a direction - but you did not take the time to seek God - seek counsel from godly men and women?
Yep . . . me too . . . and the results were not very pleasant at all. That is exactly what this proverb tells us. It is not good (the word here means agreeable, pleasant, or beautiful) for us to be without knowledge. Making a hasty decision will usually result in a wrong direction - and a painful conclusion to a situation. We take off with great expectations only to arrive with our hopes crushed by the problems we should have seen before we left.
The word knowledge is very telling here. It means to know - but has the idea of discernment. This is the wisdom of looking into a decision and seeing ahead what it will lead to in the end. It is knowledge and learning that results in discernment, insight, even notions concerning where we are going. One way this was described was as a kind of foreknowledge. You know that a decision is going to cause problems - thus you avoid it. Kind of like the child knowing that if he smarts off to his mother, good things are not going to happen.
Granted, we all don't have the time to submit every decision we make to a biblical think-tank so that we can avoid the bad ones. But . . . we can seek the Lord - spend time daily in His Word - learn His ways and His thoughts from what is written - and decide to follow the instruction and leading of the Holy Spirit in every situation. When we're not sure of a choice - we can talk with a godly man or woman to get advice. Here's a place where texting could be a good thing! It's also a place where young people could choose to value the perspective of someone older and wiser.
Our other option is to hurry our footsteps. The word for hurry here means to be pressed and hasty in what we do. Just a personal anecdote here may help. The vast majority of decisions where I was pressured to do something have turned out badly - some very badly. Through too many train-wrecks I've learned that when a salesman tells me - you have to make a decision NOW - the best thing I can do is walk away - pray - and come back another day. It is fascinating how often that very deal - or even a better one was available the NEXT DAY. It is also interesting how often walking away led me to realize I really didn't need what they said I absolutely had to have NOW! Absolutely for NOW . . . I need water, air . . . um . . . that's about all.
He who hurries his footsteps - who bows to the pressure to get it now - to do it now - ERRS. Errs is the word "hetah" and it means to miss the mark - to do wrong - to sin. Oh how the hurried step is too often the sinful step. The thoughtful step - is the wise one.
I heard a great statement once that has greatly affected me over the years. It goes like this. "When you see a group of sheep being driven from behind - that's the butcher taking them for slaughter. When you see a group of sheep with someone leading them from the front - that's the shepherd leading them to pasture." So, just who is it that is driving you to make that decision now - urging you to just act - don't take time to think - to look at the consequences - to consider the end of the matter? Does he have your best interests in mind? I doubt it. The One who has your best interests in mind is the Shepherd - oh, by the way, He's known as the Good Shepherd. Learn to FOLLOW Him - for His desire is to lead you - not drive you. He'll teach you and show you knowledge that will lead to footsteps that don't err. His direction leads you in the paths of righteousness - to a desired end - to a place where you won't here "Real Dumb." When Jesus leads you, you will hear - WELL DONE!