|Vol. 15 No. 10 October 2013||
Several weeks ago during my daily Bible reading, the word “prudent” kept appearing, and I realized I had been reading that word over and over in Scripture, but I had given little thought to what it actually means.
What does being prudent mean? Vine’s Bible Dictionary defines it as suggesting quickness of apprehension; the penetrating consideration which precedes action. Apprehension as it is used in this definition means the faculty or act of understanding or perceiving. This word “prudent/prudence” is mentioned many times in Scripture. We would do well to examine our lives for quickness of perception and penetrating consideration before we take any action.
All of us, who are students of God’s Word, realize that prudence is an attribute that comes from the Word dwelling in us richly. Psalm 119:130 states, “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” The light that the Word gives is spiritual discernment and comprehension. Who are the simple? According to Vine’s, those of us who choose only what glorifies God are the simple here addressed. Discussed are those who are without evil and who have no harmfulness in themselves. What a mind-piercing, challenging concept—we will be striving to improve in this mindset until death!
Speaking of God, Job tells his pitiless friends in Job12:13, 16, “With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding. With Him are strength and prudence, the deceived and the deceiver are His.” Isaiah 5:21 warns, “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight.” Speaking of Jesus the Christ, God said in Isaiah 52:13, “Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled [lifted up] and be very high.”
Proverbs has been referred to as the wisdom book of the Old Testament. Solomon stated the purpose of the book in the opening verses. Proverbs 1:1-2, 4 reads, “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding… To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.”
The following passages address the vital need for God’s Word to permeate our thinking process.
Ecclesiastes 5:1 declares, “Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.”
David is an outstanding example of prudence being exercised during the turbulent relationship between King Saul and him. This chaotic relationship developed as a result of Saul’s disobedience and God’s rejection of him as king. God had directed Samuel to anoint David as Saul’s successor. First Samuel 16:14 reads, “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.” Saul’s servants were aware of this and encouraged him to seek out a man who was a skillful player on the harp. They said when the distressing spirit was upon Saul, and this man played, he would be well.
Saul then told his servants to look for such a man and this man was to be brought to him. First Samuel 16:18 says, “Then one of the servants answered and said, ‘Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person, and the LORD is with him.’” With a recommendation like that, how could David miss being chosen to soothe Saul’s torment?
However, Saul was afraid of David because the LORD was with him, but had departed from Saul (1 Samuel 18:12). Verses 14-16 tell us, “And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the LORD was with him. Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.”
This was the story of the lives of David and Saul. Saul became so jealous and felt so threatened by David that he sought to have him killed numerous times during his 40-year reign. God continued to deliver David from Saul’s maddening rage because He had instructed Samuel in the choosing of David as Saul’s successor (1 Samuel 16:1-13).
First Samuel 18:28-29 says, “Thus Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him; and Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David’s enemy continually.” Verse 30 declares that David behaved more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed.
When God is for us, it does not matter who is against us! We can be assured that God is for us when we have complete faith and trust in Him by our submissive obedience. Romans 8:32 strongly declares, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
Ephesians 1:7-9 tells us that God’s grace, His divine initiative toward us, has been freely granted to us to the superlative degree! “In Him [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.”
The value of God granting His unmatched grace to us in wisdom and prudence is impossible for the limited human mind to appreciably comprehend. Yet, God being infinite in every aspect of His nature, has graciously done this for His faithful children because He wants us with Him eternally.