“A wise man fears, and departs from evil: but the fool rages and is confident.” - Proverbs 14:16 (Cf. 12:15; 22:3).
          Once again we see Solomon setting those whom are “wise” over against those whom he defines as “fools”.  Here he speaks of the characteristics of these two groups in their general manifestation of conduct in life.  We should note that he does not tie all groups or identify, say, the rich to the wise or the poor to what he identifies as foolish.  They to groups are NOT to regarded as the same.  “Rich does NOT equal wise and poor does NOT equal fool.  
         There are many church leaders who would like us to think somewhere along the line of “… if you trust the Lord and ask Him (believing of course) He will absolutely give you what you ask for” and they claim that God is in the business of filling our lives with good things if we will but ask in faith.  to try to support this they appeal to many passages of Scripture that, if understood in their twisted fashion, might seem to support this awful idea.  Of course, for many of these false teachers there is a catch.  You have to demonstrate you “faith” and you can do so by sending them money.
         The problems with this are several and severe.  Just to name one it seems to be, at least in part, a misunderstanding of this passage and others like it.  Solomon is NOT tying the idea of wisdom to the actions of the individual and NOT to the reaping of some kind of material gain.  It is simply saying what Solomon has sad quite a number of times before - that is that the wise ACT like they possess real wisdom and the foolish ACT like the fools that they indeed are.   
“A wise man fears, and departs from evil: but the fool rages and is confident.” - Proverbs 14:16 (Cf. 12:15; 22:3).

         First, we want to notice that Solomon is, once again saying that those who “fear”, as in fearing the Lord, act in concert with that fear.  Namely, in this verse, they depart from evil.  The word “fear” as we have noticed before, refers to the generic fear that we all experience from time to time.  But when it is used in connection with our relationship with the Lord, either actually possessed or which a writer is encouraging his readers to embrace or follow after, it is speaking of an honoring or giving to God and His Word that place in our lives that enables God to rule over and to direct our path of Life and direct our choices.  
         Solomon is making what, upon reflection on our part, is a very logical and easy to understand point, given that he is speaking to an audience that professed to know the living God.  If a man, knowing the Lord, is one who puts that fear into action as a demonstration of the wisdom accrued as a believer who has walked with God. 
          Departing from evil is a concept that appears frequently in the OT, particularly in the Wisdom literature.  Quite naturally, “departing from” speaks of a change of direction or a turn in ones’ path.  In certain contexts, it can speak of standing away from, abandoning or desisting from a practice.  In this case that context is the practicing of evil, to whatever extent happens to be in mind.

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Proverbs 14:16 - Fearing and Departing From Evil
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