Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly. –Proverbs 17:12 (KJV)
This week, Andrea and I are enjoying a visit with family in Ohio. On our way here the other day we stopped for a picnic lunch at the beautiful Cumberland Gap Welcome Center in Middlesboro, Kentucky. As we sat in the picnic area enjoying our lunch, my attention was directed to information affixed to the tables which provided instructions on how to keep the bears away. It stated that such foods as hotdogs, chicken, and watermelon rinds are among the most poisonous substances known to bears. This makes sense as the bears’ systems would be unused to such foods and could not digest them. It is not like bears have enough sense to think, “My, I had better not eat these hotdogs. They might upset my stomach.”
I also noticed the suggestions on what to do if a bear wanders into the picnic area. I would have thought, “Run away quickly” might be on the list, but I could not find it. The list said to try waving your arms, yelling, banging metal lids together (good luck finding these in your picnic basket), and throwing rocks at the bear. There was no suggestion as to what to do should these fail. I was thinking maybe toss the bear a sandwich and run for your life. Fortunately, bear attacks in that part of the country are rare.
God’s Word says that meeting a bear robbed of her cubs is preferable to meeting a fool in his folly. Here we find the danger of getting needlessly involved in the affairs of foolish people, or those who have no regard for the righteous ways of God. My mother used to remind me when I was growing up about being careful of the company I keep. She was right; we are known by and influenced by those around us. Surround ourselves with godly people and we will be positively influenced by them. This is not to say we should never be with those who do not know Christ - quite the contrary. We are to shine the light in the darkness of peoples’ lives.
This passage has an application for making our closest friendships with people who will be solid, godly, and helpful influences in our lives. They help strengthen and inspire us to good decisions and godly approaches to life and its problems. As we shine the light to a troubled world, let us make sure we are walking the good road with the Lord as our constant guide. In this way we are kept from being ensnared by the troubled ways of the world, or the fool in his folly.
Walk in faith, look up, go forward, and trust the Lord for guidance. And while you’re at it, watch out for those bears.
God bless you today.