Proverbs 1:28

ESV Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
NIV Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me,
NASB Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but will not find me,
CSB Then they will call me, but I won't answer; they will search for me, but won't find me.
NLT 'When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.
KJV Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:

What does Proverbs 1:28 mean?

This verse reinforces that idea that the time to seek wisdom is before acting, not after. As human beings, we have a bad habit of acting foolishly, and only then asking, "Oh, no, what do I do now?" In truth, that was the question we should have asked before we got into trouble! When the consequences of our bad choices are staring us in the face, we suddenly become motivated. We analyze and scheme and plan. True wisdom is choosing the right path, and considering the consequences, before we're faced with disaster. Instead of trying to wheedle our way out of bad outcomes, we should be focused on listening to wisdom and avoiding them entirely.

When we experience dire consequences, we often look back and wish we had made the right choice. We think back to when wisdom called out to us and we ignored her. The expression "hindsight is 20/20" is a reflection of this section of the book of Proverbs. We never see the wisdom of wisdom more clearly than when we're in the middle of distress, caused by ignoring it. This also echoes back to verse 26, where the memory of good advice not taken is haunting.
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