Wisdom before action almost goes without saying. When the Preacher talks about a sharp ax requiring less effort than a dull ax, so does taking the time to learn and think about a given state of affairs before acting on those affairs. The Preacher describes several scenarios in which applied wisdom would bring about better ends.
- He talks of one laying a trap for another to possibly fall in. It is might be better to think twice before doing such a thing. Plans can backfire.
- Putting a hole in a house might let out something that can in turn to bite you. This is proverbial for having partners in crime – if a person is willing to commit a crime, there’s nothing that makes him trustworthy, so it would come as no surprise if such a person were to double-cross another. One might think twice before casting lots with such a person
- Quarrying stones and falling trees is dangerous work because stones and trees can fall on the worker. Caution and wisdom are needed to prevent accidents from happening.
In these proverbs, the preacher is encouraging one to think the scenario first before acting, considering the risk.
The New Testament encourages believers to use their heads when they are interacting with nonbelievers (Ephesians 5:15-17, Colossians 4:5-6, Matthew 10:16-20). In these cases, the New Testament encourages one to be wise in his or her action as snakes as shrewd but be gracious and innocent like doves. One should never let his or her guard down when dealing with those who are not like minded, rather one should keep is eyes open and mind sober, always relying on the Spirit for what to say and being ready to give a defense of the hope that one has within (1 Peter 3:15-16).
Lord help me to think before I act in all things!