Proverbs 21

Bible Passage:  Proverbs 21


“I Know a Shortcut”

“I know a shortcut!” often people will say to their friends, colleagues, family or acquaintances. Shortcuts save time, effort and resources in some cases, but there is a verse worth considering: “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5 NLT).

This proverb was written in the context that those that are hasty, that are rash and inconsiderate in their affairs, and will not take time to think, that are greedy of gain by right or wrong, and make haste to be rich, are on the ready road to poverty. In life, when you try to take shortcuts, somehow, you end up getting cut short.

Now Nehemiah was a man with plan. When the king asked Nehemiah, “What do you request?” (Nehemiah 2:4). He knew God had opened the door; that the four months in prayer, spent in talking to God, listening to Him, and working out a plan of what to do had paid off. When the King noticed Nehemiah was sad, Nehemiah knew that he could have been cut short. But he answered wisely and honestly, praying again to God in that brief moment before he responded to the king’s question. Nehemiah knew how to answer the king respectfully and intelligently. He knew the needs of Jerusalem though he had not seen the ruins, but by carefully and patiently seeking God.

Sometimes it may seem that God blesses a lack of planning, and the outcome may be completely different from what we have planned. But in every case, God works through planning—if not our planning, then His planning. How could Nehemiah have known that the King would notice him? How did Nehemiah know what state Jerusalem was in? As a general principle, God wants to train us up into the work of being planners, just as He is a planner.

Faith is no substitute for planning. We aren’t more spiritual for failing to plan or for shooting from the hip. There may be some times when we simply can’t plan, but we should never reject planning.


Reference: Blue Letter Bible. Text Commentaries on Proverbs 21:5—Study Guide for Nehemiah by David Guzik.

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