Danger Signs

Author and pastor Andy Stanley tells of a time when he and a friend drove from Birmingham to Atlanta and, to shave an hour off their trip, decided to use an unfinished section of Interstate 20. Impulsive teenagers, they felt a rush of adrenaline as they eased their car between the words “Road” and “Closed” and then gunned it. They had the entire highway to themselves, so they made great time . . . for a while. Fortunately, they were stopped by a good Samaritan before an unfinished bridge sent them sailing into a swamp.

I must confess, there was a time in my life when I thought I was too smart for warning signs. Let’s face it: most warnings are posted to keep stupid people from doing stupid things, like the “Do not eat” warning on packing material. Smart people don’t need that kind of counsel. No wonder a young person can conclude that warning signs are for other, less intelligent people. Like Andy, however, I survived my less intelligent moments and lived long enough to discover that warnings are for everyone (especially me!). The decision to heed warning signs not only shows wisdom, but it also reveals both a humble spirit and the willingness to admit that others might have greater knowledge or experience than you do.

Solomon portrayed wisdom as a woman standing in the public square calling for the naive to heed her words of warning. She doesn’t plead or panic; she has nothing to lose. She instead cautions that grave consequences lie ahead for those who choose to ignore her. Of course Solomon has the book of Proverbs in mind. This ancient literature contains a large number of timeless reproofs. For example, check out Proverbs 6:23–24:

For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light;
And reproofs for discipline are the way of life
To keep you from the evil woman,
From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.

God’s Book stands like a warning sign at the mouth of a deep, dark cave named “Immorality.” Many enter; none emerge without injuries. So, in bold, red letters, the Scriptures warn, “Danger! Do not enter!” Through the generations, however, these ancient warnings have been ignored at great cost to people who suffered the dreadful consequences of foolishness.

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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