Proverbs 9:1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.
This week we continue into our study on the subject of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. In the last couple of weeks we saw how Wisdom dwells with seven supporting pillars which have names of their own.
Proverbs 8:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. 8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. 8:14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
The seven pillars of wisdom are qualities that we as Christians should strive to build into our lives. “Every wise woman buildeth her house…” Proverbs 14:1
As a review of what true godly wisdom is all about: true biblical wisdom involves God’s wisdom for right living and relationships; it requires the same understanding that God has concerning how we are to live and conduct ourselves; it refers to the knowledge of God or of the things that belong to God as related in His whole Word. We are to obey and live by every word that comes from the mouth of God; that is wisdom. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom all contribute to this effect.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
The Book of Proverbs is all about wisdom and advises us in the way of wise living according to God’s righteousness while living in a world that is hostile to the laws and principles of God. This Book is also an instruction manual to help God’s children navigate through the problems that life throws at us using God’s wisdom to guide and direct us.
In our last article we saw how the pillar of the Fear of the Lord is foundational to all the other pillars for wisdom BEGINS with fearing God. We must have great respect, awe, and reverence for our Great God who alone is Mighty and worthy of our worship; we saw how the fear of the Lord is also a very healthy kind of fear for it leads us in the path of righteousness, and if we love God and fear to disobey Him we will be kept safe from the penalty of eternal death.
This week we look at the pillar called Prudence which is listed first in Proverbs 8; this pillar too is a very important component of what makes up wisdom and it too is a necessary quality trait that all Christians need to have integrated into everything they do. A wise man or woman of God is also a prudent person.
To have the fear of the Lord is to set our hearts to always obey His commandments, and then we add Prudence which is the wisdom of knowing what actions we need to do in the circumstances we find ourselves in. Prudence is also preparing for the future which includes setting up guardrails against harmful situations and people. Prudence helps us to see evil up ahead and then take steps to divert our paths from becoming ensnared by it. Prudence is to implement the keeping of God’s laws into our daily lives incorporating godly common sense in every aspect of our lives.
When someone says “he or she is a prudent person” it generally means that the person is intelligent, careful, farsighted, perceptive, and has good judgment. All these qualities are hallmarks of what it means to be prudent. For example, Joseph showed prudence in advising Pharaoh to store up the grain when crops were plentiful for the coming time when there would be famine.
Proverbs 3:26 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
Likewise, the people of God must become wise in sound management, preparing for the future, avoiding evil, doing what is takes to get ourselves and our families out of harms way if the situation warrants fleeing or escaping; it also means preparing in this life to become wise and compassionate Kings and Priests for the Kingdom of God; all of these things is what it means to be wise in a prudent way.
Definition of Prudence
What is the definition for the word “prudence”? It seems that in our modern era we do not even hear that term very often.
The Hebrew word for “prudence” in Proverbs 8:12 is ormah (Strong’s #6195) and means: craftiness, guile, prudence, subtilty, wilily, wisdom. Feminine of orem; trickery; or (in a good sense) discretion — (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
The English definition of prudence is:
1. the quality or fact of being, or wise in practical affairs, as by providing for the future.
2. caution with regard to practical matters; discretion.
3. regard for one’s own interests.
4. provident care in the management of resources; economy; frugality. (Dictionary.com)
We see then that prudence is good judgment, moral courage and astute common sense. It can also mean having insight, discernment, thinking through problems and using our intellect to figure out how to best handle our problems; it means being smart in a good sense by applying God’s laws and the fruit of the Spirit to any situation or problem that we must address. Jesus told his disciples that they must be wise [circumspect/prudent] as serpents and harmless as doves.
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves [innocent as doves having no self-serving agenda].
Godly wisdom dwells with prudence which means that those who exercise the wisdom of God are wise in handling practical matters and they exercise good judgment or common sense in all of their affairs. It means foreseeing potential problems ahead of time and taking action to prevent them from happening or diminishing their severity; or even turning them around for good.
To be prudent can keep us from lack; a prudent person has the insight to know ahead of time the things he will need and diligently procures those things and stores them up. Prudence is also about balance in all things.
Biblical Scriptures Pertaining to Prudence
Solomon describes what it means to be prudent in Proverbs 27:12:
Proverbs 27:12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
This is saying that: “A prudent man sees evil and hides himself and avoids it, But the naive person [who is easily misled or lazy] continues on and is punished [by suffering the consequences of their foolishness and lack of looking ahead]”. (AMP)
A prudent man or woman has the ability to perceive what needs to be done to stay out of harm’s way or to prevent problems; or when trials do come his way prudence will help him or her to know how to handle them in the wisest way.
Prudence also means that a prudent person is able to wisely discern the direction a certain situation is taking them and they quickly do what is necessary to hide themselves, (remove themselves or they take steps to come out from being influenced or affected) to avoid trouble; the prudent do what it takes to protect themselves from getting involved with sin. It is wisdom to know that he or she must get away from a certain situation, or a group of people (or even a person) in order to avoid temptation or things that are harmful. Wisdom dictates what it takes to avoid evil and gives a person discernment to know how to avoid even the appearance of evil.
Proverbs 14:16 A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.
Prudence also means to prepare for the things in the present for what we know we will need in the future. To live with prudence means to live our lives well, making wise decisions, taking care of our responsibilities, and knowing and practicing that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that an “ounce of righteousness is worth a pound of correction”. It is about stewardship.
Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
Proverbs 27:23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. 27:24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? 27:25 The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. 27:26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. 27:27 And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.
Proverbs 16:21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning [sweet speech increases persuasiveness and learning in both speaker and listener, AMP].
Proverbs 18:15 The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
Proverbs 14:15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
The naive or inexperienced person [is easily misled and] believes every word he hears, But the prudent man [is discreet and astute and] considers well where he is going. (AMP)
Prudence is doing “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
The “Prudent” Wife and the Bride of Christ
Proverbs 19:14 Houses and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.
Solomon says that houses and riches are inherited from our parents but to have a prudent wife is a blessing from the Lord. Solomon has much to say about women in his teachings and he praises the woman who exercises prudence and he says that she is of the Lord.
In Proverbs 19:14 the word “prudent” in the Old Testament Hebrew is sakal a word that is rich in meanings, all of which pertains to different aspects of wisdom.
The word “prudent” is translated from the Hebrew word sakal (Strong’s #7919a); this Hebrew word encompasses much that has to do with intelligence and wisdom. This verse is also an allegory of the kind of wife [with all of these wonderful character traits] God the Father wants for His Son. By using this word Solomon describes for us what it entails to be a prudent wife and all the wonderful benefits she brings to her family and household.
The definition of sakal: to be prudent. 1), acts wisely (3), behaved himself wisely (1), comprehend (1), consider (1), considers (2), discern (1), expert (1), failed (1), gain insight (2), give you insight (1), give heed (1), gives attention (1), giving attention (1), had…regard (1), have insight (4), have success (2), insight (1), instruct (2), instructed (1), instructs (1), intelligence (1), prosper (2), prospered (3), prospering (2), prospers (1), prudent (2), show discernment (1), showed (1), showing intelligence (1), succeed (1), understand (4), understanding (2), understands (2), understood (1), wisdom (1), wise (6), wise behavior (1). (NASB Translation Dictionary)
H7919 saw-kal A primitive root; to be (causeatively make or act) circumspect and hence intelligent: – consider, expert, instruct, prosper, (deal) prudent (-ly), (give) skill (-ful), have good success, teach, (have, make to) understand (-ing), wisdom, (be, behave self, consider, make) wise (-ly), guide wittingly. -(Brown-Driver-Briggs Old Testament Hebrew-English Lexicon)
The word “circumspect” means “heedful of potential consequences.” The Bible says that a prudent wife is circumspect, she uses her own mind (she thinks) and considers the consequences of her actions.
Solomon is saying that a prudent wife comes from God (Proverbs 19:14). It means that she belongs to God and shows forth the noblest of character for she has set in her heart that she will obey God and that He is the most important thing in her life; the results are that she is an excellent wife, mother, and keeper of her home for she seeks to do God’s will with all of her heart and puts His laws into action in serving and providing for her family.
A prudent wife is modest, industrious and sensible, marked by sound judgment. A prudent person, (man or woman) is virtuous and filled with the Spirit of God and is led by that Spirit; he or she puts God first in all things and walks in the wisdom of God: the virtuous wife cleaves to her espoused Husband with all of her heart and strives to please Him in all things.
In Proverbs 31 Solomon goes into further detailed description of what a virtuous (excellent) wife does and how she lives her life which is a wonderful example of a prudent life for us to learn from.
This passage is an allegory of the Bride of Christ so this pertains to both men and women in how to lead lives of excellence. This is prudence in action in all aspects of living. To exercise prudence in one’s life means to live a life of excellence, purity, and virtue.
The Hebrew word for “virtuous” is chayil (Strong’s #) 2428 and means: able, activity, army, band of men soldiers, company, great forces, goods, host, From chuwl; probably a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength — able, activity, (+) army, band of men (soldiers), company, (great) forces, goods, host, might, power, riches, strength, strong, substance, train, (+)valiant(-ly), valour, virtuous(-ly), war, worthy(-ily). (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
The meaning behind this word is very interesting: we see that chayil “virtuous” can actually mean an army, a force, war, strength, might, riches, power, etc. (Strength/power is one of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom that we will be studying in a few weeks.)
Keep in mind that this virtuous woman represents the [collective] bride of Christ! This very famous passage of Scripture is a picture for us of an intelligent, godly, industrious wife [of Christ] working diligently to provide for her household.
Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous [excellent] woman? [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous] for her price is far above rubies. 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 31:14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. 31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. 31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Do we see the wonderful analogies in this description of an excellent woman? The “virtuous woman” is a metaphor and a description of the Bride of Christ. She is completely loyal to her Husband and He knows that He can trust her. Solomon then describes the activities that she is involved in which include: Commerce, working to produce the things her family will need: Mercy, showing compassion to the poor and unfortunate in her community: Provision, she takes care of the needs of her household (those under her): Education, she opens her mouth to teach wisdom and the law of kindness (God’s law, the letter of the law and the deep spiritual intent of God’s law) to her children and to the rest of her household.
We see that she looks well to the ways of her household and is not slack or lackadaisical (she is not Laodicean). She does not have to boast or campaign for any position for she has earned her position in the eyes of her family, the community, and most importantly through the eyes of God who sees all.
This is about rulership; about being Kings and Priests in the future Kingdom of God. This is a job description of what the chosen (both men and women) of the Lord will be doing under Christ in His kingdom; this is describing true godly [and prudent] leadership! And the training for leadership starts in our little, seemingly insignificant lives as humans now in this life taking care of the responsibilities that we have been given by God.
Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Proverbs 8:15 By me [wisdom/prudence] kings reign, and princes decree justice. 8:16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
We Were Made to Be Wise Prudent Stewards
In the very first chapter of Genesis as God was creating Adam, He decreed that Adam and his descendants would have dominion [the prudent care of] over all the other living things and creation, including the wise management of the whole earth.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
God the Father and His Son are creators, sustainers, they are workers that take diligent care of their creation and their family.
John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
We are being made into their image therefore we were created to work and to be good managers as they are.
Genesis 2:15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
As soon as Adam was created God gave him a job to do: The Lord told Adam that he must dress and keep the garden that God had created for him and Eve to live in. To “dress” is to cultivate [levedah Strong’s #5647] and to “keep” is shamar [Strong’s #8104 to keep, watch, preserve].
So the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to serve it and to guard and protect it. That means that Adam [and all of his descendants that would come after] were created to be wise stewards of all the living creatures and the earth.
When Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit they failed miserably to be stewards of themselves and this carried over to the care of the rest of the earth and the creatures, for sin is corrosive and destroys rather than maintains and enhances.
If Adam and Eve had exercised prudence they would not have let Satan entice them to disobey God. They would have stopped to think about what he was telling them and pondered the consequences of what they were about to do, but they were not prudent and the consequences has been 6000 years of curses and hardship upon humanity and the earth.
Everything belongs to God: He only loaned the earth and its creatures to man to give him the opportunity to learn wise stewardship, to learn how to rule as God would rule. Prudence as a quality or trait is about shrewdness, skill and good judgment in the use of resources. It is about nurturing and taking tender care of those things that have been placed in its care.
Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Psalm 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 8:5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 8:6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
The real title holder of the earth and of the animals is God and He will hold us responsible for how we have cared for His creation including our own bodies. God’s desire was, and is, that man would keep and care for the earth.
God decreed from the beginning that man would have dominion over the earth in order to manage and rule wisely; instead mankind has exploited the earth and is abusive to the animals; we continue to rape the land, denude the forests, strip-mine the hills, burn through the resources, and gut the earth; man further ravages the countries with war, disease and famine. Over the ages we have polluted the earth and it is headed for total destruction if God does not intervene soon. (Revelation 11:18, Matthew 24:22)
This is proof that mankind does not have the prudence to know how to rule properly, but God is calling a few now to learn how to be wise leaders in the ages to come and it is they who will help Christ restore the earth to a Garden of Eden condition once again and they will do it under Christ’s rulership with Wisdom and Prudence. (See Proverbs 8:21-30)
Mankind lacks wisdom, he has not used prudence to manage all things and the earth is being destroyed; the whole of creation is crying out for deliverance from man’s mismanagement. Metaphorically the earth is expectantly waiting for the trained sons of God to appear to start the restoration process [this too will be Prudence in action].
Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
When Satan misled a third of the angels he probably deceived them by using the same tactics that he used on Eve. He suggested to her that God could not be trusted, that He was not fair, that He had lied to her about the death penalty for disobedience to Gods command. Satan told her the lie that she would not surely die, then he lied again about how she could be as God in deciding what is right and what is evil if she would take of the forbidden fruit.
Satan has not changed, his method of operation has not changed; he still uses this method to deceive the whole world. All of humanity follows him and believes in his lies because they cannot prudently think things through and come up with logical truth by correctly adding things together; they cannot see the lunacy of his faulty reasonings.
Bible Examples of Prudence
The subject of Prudence is threaded throughout the Bible in all the stories of God’s servants. As we study through Scripture, we read of many of God’s servants of which it is said that they feared God, but they also exhibited the character quality of being “prudent” as well.
Jesus Christ is our most preeminent example of what it means to be prudent:
Isaiah 52:13 Behold, my servant [Messiah particularly, and all the servants of God] shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
Prudence is interlaced with the fear of the Lord; they go together. We see prudence (or the lack of it) being played out everywhere in the Bible, in the Old Testament and also in the New Testament.
There are many examples of how God’s servants were very prudent in their lives. It is beyond the scope of this article to address all the people and all of the incidences recorded in Scripture of how the many men and women of God exercised prudence. There is just so much, but reading and meditating upon the many examples of God’s people who were wise and prudent makes for a very worthwhile Bible study which can teach us the many nuances of what it means to be prudent. We think of such men and women as Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, Rahab and Ruth, Paul, and many, many others but one example that really stands out for me is Abigail.
Following is how Abigail handled a very sticky situation. She was married to a very “churlish [mean and cruel] and evil” man. The Bible says that Nabal was a mean and cruel man therefore he most likely was cruel and abusive in his dealings with his family and household servants. When Abigail was told by one of her servants what was happening out in the field and the subsequent danger that was now looming over all her household she knew she had to do something to reverse the offense done to David and his men by her husband. From much experience Abigail probably realized the consequences that she would incur if she were to go against her husband, but she knew she had to quickly come up with a plan to save her husband, family, and servants. In this case she was obeying God rather than obeying a man, for it was a godly thing to do to save the lives of her household.
Nabal [whose name means fool] was such a fool that no one could talk him to counsel him in regard to his actions; he listened to no one except himself for the young man that informed Abigail had said: “for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him”.
Abigail was between a rock and a hard place for she and her household were at the mercy of a foolish and stubborn husband who was supposed to be her head and protector, but instead he had put his whole family in harm’s way by needlessly insulting and angering a man of God, and as result David was determined to take out Nabal and all that pertained to him. In this particular situation David too was about to act foolishly and do something that he would greatly regret if he had carried it out. But along came wise, prudent Abigail with her peace offerings and her words of wisdom. Unlike Nabal, David was willing to listen to wise and prudent advice and from a woman at that. Read the story below and think about how prudence is being played out here in this situation:
1 Samuel 25:2 And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 25:3 Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.
25:4 And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep. 25:5 And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name: 25:6 And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast. 25:7 And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel. 25:8 Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.
25:9 And when David’s young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased. 25:10 And Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master. 25:11 Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?
25:12 So David’s young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings. 25:13 And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.
25:14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them. 25:15 But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields: 25:16 They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. 25:17 Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.
25:18 Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses. 25:19 And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal.
25:20 And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert on the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them. 25:21 Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good. 25:22 So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
25:23 And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, 25:24 And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid. 25:25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.
25:26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. 25:27 And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.
25:28 I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days. 25:29 Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.
25:30 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel; 25:31 That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.
25:32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: 25:33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. 25:34 For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
25:35 So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.
25:36 And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light. 25:37 But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. 25:38 And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died.
25:39 And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be theLord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the Lord hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife. 25:40 And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us unto thee, to take thee to him to wife.
25:41 And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord. 25:42 And Abigail hasted, and arose and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.
David and his men had camped close to where Nabal had his shearing place, probably in the vicinity of where he lived. David and his men had protected Nabal’s very large flocks and herd which was his livelihood. When David asked Nabal for some provision in return for this protection Nabal refused him. David’s reasoning was that since he and his men had protected Nabal and had helped him to increase and kept him from being robbed by marauders in the area it was not out of line to ask him to share some of his food and supplies for his hungry men.
When Nabal refused to accommodate David’s request for food and supplies he incurred the wrath of David and David was about to wipe out Nabal and all the men of the household. Abigail learned of this and personally went to the (future) king with victuals, and more importantly, wise counsel as to how David should rightly respond if he were going to be a king of justice and integrity. Her wisdom (prudence) saved the day for her husband and herself and everyone in their household. Abigail showed her shrewdness by the way she handled her husband’s treatment of David and his men and by thwarting the devastation that loomed over her whole family and their servants.
David was immediately grateful to Abigail for showing him kindness, but most of all for the wise advice that she offered to him.
1st Samuel 25:32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: 25:33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.
The story of Nabal, Abigail, and David shows us a good example of what it means to be a fool on Nabal’s part, but how Abigail handled a bad situation with prudence. Nabal is the personification of someone who behaves like a fool and Abigail is the personification of wisdom and one who is prudent in all of her dealings.
Abigail did not use violence nor did she hurt anyone; she did not fire one shot nor did she wield a sword, yet by seeing the situation through the eyes of Prudence she was able to save a whole household because of her bravery and by using wise stratagems to prompt David to do what was the right.
Later God rewarded her wisdom and godly example by delivering her from a churlish, foolish husband, and a short time after choosing her to become the wife of the future king of Israel.
Prudence is the practical application of God’s law in the letter and in the spirit; it is part of our spiritual warfare. This was spiritual warfare at its finest by employing the wisdom that God gave to Abigail; and this is the kind of warfare we as Christians must wage through the power of God’s Spirit which imparts to us God’s wisdom and prudence which helps us to overcome our enemies and the fiery darts they throw at us.
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
The story of Abigail is an example of how Prudence is the virtue needed for living in a mixed-up, carnal world, interacting with carnal and flawed people. Prudence is practical intelligence, practical wisdom, put to work for the benefit of one’s own interests and for the interests of one’s family; but it also extends out to the benefit of the Ekklesia, the community, and then to the whole world.
The account of Abigail and the way she spoke up to give David godly advice convincing him to spare her husband and their household, brings to mind what Jesus says about the wisdom that He will impart to those who are brought before kings and rulers to give a testimony for Him.
Luke 21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. 21:13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 21:14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 21:15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
Prudence versus Folly
God has much to say in the Bible about wisdom. He wants us to learn and grow in wisdom, and so there is much instruction for us in the Bible about wisdom. As we have been studying about wisdom and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the book of Proverbs is mostly devoted to helping us learn wisdom and how to be wise. But what does Proverbs say about folly? The flip side of wisdom is folly, which is something God wants us to come out of, so God has a lot to say about fools and their folly in His Word as well.
The English definition of “folly” is: the state or quality of being foolish; lack of understanding or sense. (Dictionary.com)
The English definition of “fool” is:
1. One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.
2. One who acts unwisely on a given occasion: “I was a fool to have quit my job.”
3. One who has been tricked or made to appear ridiculous: a dupe: “They made a fool of me by pretending I had won”.
4. Informal: a person with a talent or enthusiasm for a certain activity: a dancing fool; a fool for skiing.
5. A member of a royal or noble household who provided entertainment, as with jokes or antics; a jester.
6. One who subverts convention or orthodoxy or varies from social conformity in order to reveal spiritual or moral truth: a holy fool. (thefreedictionary.com)
In our modern usage of the term “fool” we often think that it pertains to someone that is silly, nonsensical, or perhaps even someone who is lacking in intelligence. Today when we hear the word “fool” we often think of a dunce or perhaps a silly painted-up clown or someone making a fool of himself; hence we define fool as a senseless fellow, i.e. a person who acts stupidly or is acting in a silly manner.
When the Bible was translated in 1611 the meaning “fool” meant something different. Its original meaning at and before 1611 meant “lacking in judgment or prudence.”
The Bible clearly states the definition of a fool. The Bible’s most definitive description of a fool is someone who is contemptuous of God’s Word for he believes that there is no God. In fact we have the definition of how a fool really thinks in Psalm 14.
Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God….The psalmist goes on to say: ….They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. 14:2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
A fool lives as though there is no God and therefore he fears no accountability for the things he does and the way he lives his life. But it starts even deeper; it starts within the heart of someone God considers to be a fool.
There are several Hebrew and Greek words for “fool” with varying degrees of acting the fool, but the Hebrew word for “fool in Psalm 14:1 is Nabal (Strong’s # 5036) and it means: Fool: foolish, vile person From nabel; stupid; wicked (especially impious) — fool(-ish, -ish man, -ish woman), vile person. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
And here are excerpts from Brown-Driver-Briggs for “fool”: adjective foolish, senseless, especially of the man who has no perception of ethical and religious claims, and with collateral idea of ignoble. Substantive (impious and presumptuous) fool, Isaiah 32:5 characterized as at once irreligious and churlish, Isaiah 32:6; denying God Psalm 14:1, Psalm 53:2; insulting God Psalm 74:22, and God’s servant Psalm 39:9; Proverbs 17:7 arrogant speech becometh not the (impious and presumptuous) fool (whose faults it only makes the more conspicuous), much less do lying lips him that this is noble ( Proverbs 17:21 Proverbs 30:22) (Brown-Driver-Briggs)
The term “nabal” focuses on the fool’s inner disposition; his character, not just his actions. A fool, contrary to having the fear of God within his heart as we studied last week, does not fear God. He is someone who does not see things the way God sees them; he is someone who makes poor decisions because something in his thinking is skewed. This person is morally deficient and will not listen to the the voice of reason or wisdom. God is completely out of the picture for him. He has no clue that God is watching all that he does and will someday hold him accountable for his foolishness.
So from the biblical perspective a fool is not someone who is lacking intelligence but rather he is a person who is lacking morally, he is in rebellion against God for he has no regard for God nor for the things of God. A fool is one who refuses to believe that there truly is a God because he does not want to believe there is a God, therefore he believes that his actions have no consequences. In fact he makes himself his own god for he believes that he is right no matter how evil or foolish his way of thinking is or his actions and he does not listen to reason.
The most intelligent and learned men in the world can still be fools if they have no acknowledgment of God in their hearts and feel no obligation at all to do what God says is right and good.
A fool, according to the biblical definition, lives as if he is accountable to no one. He does according to what human nature dictates without counting the cost or even considering that HE MIGHT BE WRONG. He just does what he feels like doing without thinking about the damage that his actions and his way of living might bring to himself or to others. This is folly.
The Hebrew word for “folly” is ( Strong’s #200) and means folly, foolishness; from the same as ‘eviyl; silliness — folly, foolishly(-ness). see HEBREW ‘eviyl [evil]. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
To act foolishly or to display folly can also mean: insolence, rebelliousness, being quick tempered, impetuous, having a stubborn insistence on his own ways, he is immature [acts like a child most of time]. This is evil. Folly is the hallmark of a fool and it is the opposite of Prudence.
Proverbs 13:16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
Proverbs 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
Proverbs 14:18 The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
And since folly is evil and to do wickedly, it is something that we must purge from our hearts.
Who Are Your Friends: Prudence or Folly?
We must be sure we are on the straight and narrow path but also be prudent to not let others (who refuse to listen to the voice of wisdom) influence us and convince us to behave as they behave. As far as leaders and teachers, stop and think about everything we are told or the things we are being taught; does it make sense according to what God says in His Word? Be sure to prove all things before naively assuming that everything is true just because a certain leader or impressive person tells us something is true.
If we want to be wise, God tells us through Solomon to walk with wise men:
Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Proverb 2:20 That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. 2:21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. 2:22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.
If we desire to become wise it is prudent to seek out wise friends and teachers who are godly examples in their own lives. If we willingly follow those who are sinning or do foolish things we will suffer the consequences for they will lead us to their way of thinking and doing.
Prudence will motivate us to avoid persons who tempt us to compromise with the ways of God. Our foolish friends may not even be directly telling us to compromise but by their actions they show that they are ungodly and it so easy to fall into step with those we are walking with, whether they be friends, brethren, or those we look to as our leaders. (see Psalm 1)
Proverbs 13:20 tells us that we are influenced by those with whom we associate. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.“
We are to flee the foolish and wicked and run in the direction of understanding and God’s wisdom. No matter how hard we try to reason with foolish friends or associates they will not listen to reason and therefore we cannot influence them to do what is right, they will only bring us down.
Proverbs 9:6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. 9:7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. 9:8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
We see this in the world; our leaders are foolish, our counselors and “wise” men are foolish, our educators are foolish, Hollywood actors are foolish, and the governments of men are foolish and run by fools.
Isaiah 3:1 For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water. 3:2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, 3:3 The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.
Prudence is avoiding those who promote evil and sin and by so doing we can avoid much trouble and heartache in this life. Being diligent in life and working hard has its own rewards and benefits; and this does not pertain to just material riches, but also pertains to the spiritual riches that are even more valuable and lasting. Solomon contrasts the reward of the diligent [those who are wise] to the reward of those who are wicked [foolish].
Proverbs 10:16 The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.
Yes, there are many people in the world who are highly intelligent and are very prudent in managing, organizing, inventing, coming up with innovative solutions to man’s problems. The modern world is full of technological conveniences and inventions that most of humanity down through the ages could only dream of.
But with all of our inventions and sophisticated technology is the world really a better place? Of course not, we are just as evil as ever and the problems of the world are only increasing. It is because the people of the world do not have godly wisdom, they have no prudence; there are many who are geniuses at material things but still fools when it comes to the spiritual things of God.
There are great scholars who have written volumes of commentary on the Bible and are familiar with every Scripture and yet when it comes to doing what God says in the Bible they cannot put two and two together to come up with logical conclusions. The most learned Bible scholars know the Scriptures that say we are not to worship other gods and how we are not to worship God in the manner that unbelievers worship their false gods and yet they still refuse to do as God says in His Word.
Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Deuteronomy 12:29 When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 12:30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 12:31 Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 10:3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
Revelation 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: .
1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
Many people down through the ages who claim to be Christians and say that the Bible is their guide, have read these admonitions from God’s Word and may even have them memorized; and yet they cannot see that it is an abomination to keep the pagan holidays with all their pagan traditions; or to change God’s Sabbath day and His High Days to another day; or to set up and worship statues or pictures of “Christ”; or to set men up us as if they are gods and then obey them rather than God Almighty, etc. etc.
What is wrong with this picture? It is because they are not being called yet, they do not have God’s Holy Spirit to enlighten their minds to see logic. The whole world lacks true wisdom. Spiritual wisdom [and prudence – knowing how to apply God’s laws and principles] is a precious gift from God given through the power of the Holy Spirit to His called out ones who are are faithful.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
One way we show prudence in good judgment is in our conduct and how we conduct our day to day affairs. When we are wise in this way, we will take stock of every aspect of our lives and take the necessary steps to bring all aspects into alignment with what God says is right and prudent, by living and conducting our affairs according to God’s ways: whether it be in our families, our other relationships, our finances, our health, etc., i.e. striving to be good stewards in everything we do.
Prudence makes it possible to see that all of our actions have consequences whether for good or for bad; therefore we think ahead of what the consequences will be for certain actions or lack of action, and then prepare accordingly, at the same time seeking God’s guidance and insight to lead us in ways that are best.
Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 14:29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 14:30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 14:31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 14:32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
Matthew 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 24:46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 24:47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 24:49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (See also Matthew 25:14-30)
Are Christians immune from folly? Absolutely not; for we all were fools and acted foolishly until God began to call us and even then, it is a life-long process to come out from our folly and begin to live prudently. We are God’s children under construction and are in the process of learning wisdom and it takes a lifetime to take on the wisdom of God. It takes conscientious diligent effort to forsake our foolishness and still we all make foolish mistakes from time to time. But we are to learn from them, repent and move on and in this way we learn wisdom from our experiences and from our mistakes.
But if we are not careful even those called of God can revert to foolishness if they are not seeking God and striving to live by His every Word. We must be continually growing, overcoming, studying God’s Word and being in constant in prayer to keep from drifting and from becoming lukewarm.
The Laodicean in his heart says that “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” (Revelation 3:17) which is saying “I am rich and increased spiritually, I do not need to grow anymore, or be diligent to overcome and grow. I do not need anything, not even God.”
Laodiceanism starts in the heart, it is a heart condition for the Laodicean says in his heart “I am in need of nothing”. This sounds somewhat like Psalm 14:1 “The fools says in his heart that there is no God”.
This is a very dangerous place to be. Forsake the folly of seeking the things of this world more than the things of God; forsake the attitude of going to services only to be a part of a social club and to belong to organizations that are not teaching zealously the deep spiritual meanings behind God’s Word but rather are teaching their own false traditions.
Prudence is recognizing where we may be compromising or becoming lukewarm. Come out from the Laodicean attitude, come out from those who mislead and want to take advantage of you. The apostle Paul had this to say about being unequally yoked with unbelievers [those who say in their hearts there is no God] who teach and say with their actions that we do not need to zealously obey God and all of His laws and ordinances the way He says to keep them.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
God is going to correct those who have forsaken Him; those who refuse to give up their foolishness, meaning that they do not live as if God really mattered, they are not putting Him first, they have one foot in the world and one foot in the Ekklesia. Is that not the state of the Laodicean? Was this not the condition of the people in Elijah’s day?
1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
The opposite of Laodicean is to be zealous, to be on fire for the things of God and seeking after the Wisdom of God which is also the Spirit of Truth. Ask God to lead you into all truth.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
The fear of the Lord and Prudence are intertwined, you cannot have one without the other which we will see is the case with all seven of the pillars of wisdom as we go along. It is prudent to listen to the voice of Wisdom; prudence is to put into practice the things that wisdom tells us to do for it is really the voice of God that is crying out to us. Christ is knocking at our doors wanting to come in to be the center of our lives and to be the object of our devotion.
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Then read what Solomon has to say in his Book of Proverbs about wisdom. This was a message to the people in Solomon’s day and it is a message to God’s people down through the ages; is also a very relevant warning to those living in the end times:
Proverbs 1:20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 1:21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, 1:22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
1:24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 1:25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 1:26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 1:27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 1:28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 1:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:
1:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 1:31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 1:32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 1:33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
If we are not diligent to purge out foolishness which is sin, even a little bit will affect our entire character. Even a little bit of foolishness if left unchecked can affect the entire church which it is doing as we witness the condition that the Ekklesia is in today.
Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
As we seek to come out from the sinfulness of this world we come to see that foolishness is sin, it is turning our back on God’s wisdom and it is something that we need to purge from our lives for folly and foolishness is at the very heart of sin.
God wants intelligent capable kings and priests who know how to make sound decisions, who can rule those placed under their jurisdiction wisely and with prudence; He is molding and fashioning children for the Kingdom who are problem solvers, not problem makers. There will be no fools ruling in the soon coming Kingdom of God.
Future Priests and Kings Will Rule With Wisdom and Prudence
God’s people must seek after this type of wisdom for to exercise prudence is self-restraint and sound judgment and this must be engraved into our character. If have God’s gift of prudence it will overflow into all aspects of our lives and in everything we do and will be made manifest to others. Wisdom and Prudence are always together, they act as one, and they always express themselves in the exercise of one’s thoughts, reason, and self-control; a prudent person is discreet, subtle, and courteous; never rude, brash, coarse or blunt. In this way a prudent person expresses the “the fear of the Lord” and it is prudent to hate evil, pride, arrogancy, the evil way, and the froward mouth.” (Proverbs 8:13) Prudence is also God’s love for it expresses God’s love in action.
If we see that we may be lacking (and all of us need to be continually growing in wisdom and prudence) we can ask of God to give us sound judgment and prudence in all things.
Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
The apostle James tells us that if we lack wisdom [including prudence], we should ask God for it. It is God’s desire that we all possess wisdom, and He is the source we should go to first.
James 1: 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
When we face a problem or a trial of any kind we need to run to God first, and then ask Him to help us, to show us what we may need to correct in our lives and then ask Him to give us the faith and the wisdom to know how to handle the problem. If we are sincerely seeking Him and living for Him in our lives He will provide the necessary wisdom and show us what we need to do as our part; and then He will do His part.
If we step out in faith to do His will He will show us the path that we need to take. He will give His power to our wise handling of the situation and make things work out for good; perhaps not in the moment or the day, year, etc, but eventually it will work out for the good. (Romans 8:28)
Keeping the whole big picture in mind is also wisdom for sometimes it may seem like things are not working out so well in this life.
Psalm 126:5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 126:6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Prudence is the practical application of God’s laws and it is part of our spiritual warfare. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but principalities in high places. These principalities are very intelligent, very calculating and cunning but God gives to His faithful the wisdom to discern them and then out-maneuver them by looking to God and by keeping His commandments.
Proverbs 2:5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. 2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. 2:8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. 2:9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 3:8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
Prudence means shrewdness and sound judgment and it protects us from being misled by deceivers and con-men. As stated before Jesus taught his disciples the principle of being prudent; that they must be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
“To be as wise as serpents”; many of Solomon’s proverbs teach us that we cannot afford to be naive and gullible. As we go through life we do make mistakes because of ignorance and naivety, but we are to get back up and learn from our mistakes; and in this way we gain wisdom in how to avoid the pitfalls in the path of life. And this is the main reason why we need prudence, so that we can discriminate between truth and error and then do what is right with God’s help. We need to be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves to avoid being ensnared by the wiles of the devil. We cannot afford to stay naive if we want to live and rule with Christ in His kingdom.
God the Father calls those whom He wants for His children and He wants them to endure and overcome in this life in order to become part of the chosen who will be raised to be the Kings and Priests in His kingdom. They will hold responsible offices for all of eternity and God must be absolutely certain of their love and fidelity to Him.
For those God is calling now, our physical lives are a time of intense training and proving. If we are vigilant to exercise diligence and prudence now in all that God has given to us to rule (be stewards of) then we will have proved to Him that we will be righteous and prudent kings and priests in the offices that will have immense responsibility over the people and over the rest of God’s creation.
There will be no politicking, no campaigns, no elections of leaders in God’s Kingdom. There will be no in-fighting nor filibusters, protests; or riots because certain ones are not getting their way or getting their favorite candidate in the Kingdom of God. Just think how refreshing that is going to be.
We are quietly and unceremoniously qualifying now for the jobs that God has picked out for us. He is watching us as we live out our day to day lives to see if we are exercising His wisdom; and prudence is a huge part of applying the wisdom of God in the way we conduct ourselves and how we manage all things whether they be material or spiritual. He is also noting our priorities for that too is a part of prudence. In the following passage Paul teaches us about Prudence and what it entails:
Ephesians 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly [prudently], not as fools, but as wise, 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
“Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil. Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is”. (Ephesians 5:15-17 AMP)
Solomon talks about the preeminence of Wisdom when he tells us that: “Wisdom is the principal thing” (Proverbs 4:7). “Principal means first in time, place, order, and rank”. Solomon also says that wisdom was with God from the beginning. Wisdom works in concert with the preordained and divine laws of God; those who are seeking God’s wisdom and strive to live accordingly, will be examples and teachers for others; but those who choose to live as fools will die because they refuse to live by the wisdom of God.
Proverbs 10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
This means that those who seek after wisdom will live and [unrepentant] fools will die (the soul that sinneth it shall die). No wonder Solomon says that wisdom is the principle thing.
Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
God desires that His spiritual children walk in wisdom, to be able to think for themselves, to discern what is right in God’s eyes, to see through problems and choose wise solutions to those problems. He does not want robots in His Kingdom who only do what they are told or what has been pre-programmed into them from outside forces.
He does not want children that blindly follow others who are blind. But He wants real leaders who choose what is right from the heart because they believe and know with all of their being that God’s ways are right, that doing things God’s way is noble, sensible, makes sense and that living by all of God’s commandments will ultimately bring blessings and what is best to all.
When God’s children know the plan of God and God’s purpose for humanity and want it for themselves and others, they will be motivated with a sense of mission, moving one beyond self-interest to concern for others; they strive to have good relationships with all people and they act for the common good of all people including those who are not called at this time.
As we live in this world and gain experience from our own mistakes and in seeing the mistakes of others, we come to understand the dynamics of the world and the people in it; this helps us to learn the importance of exercising prudence in all that we do. Pairing that understanding with a knowledge of godly principles inherent in the teachings of Jesus Christ enables us then to take appropriate actions to seek the best for all those we come into contact with; for we have a passionate desire to help God to fulfill His plan for all humanity.
Our daily actions of practicing the virtue of prudence are very likely to be seen as very small steps. Sometimes it seems as if we are hardly making any impact at all on those around us and those in the world. But if we are living for excellence and walking in wisdom, small steps accumulate over time and give rise to bigger accomplishments in the end; do not become discouraged for we are working for the coming Kingdom of God at which time Jesus Christ and His righteousness will reign supreme over all the earth.
Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Christians are called to speak up for the truth and to take a stand for the Gospel. A prudent person carefully chooses the proper time, place, and manner in which to teach or preach the truth. The ways to do this are chosen with care based on sound knowledge of the people and their circumstances along with the wisdom that God gives to us based on solid godly principles. That leads then to Christ’s commission which He has tasked all Christians to fulfill.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
There is so much meaning packed within just this one word: PRUDENCE. No wonder it is one of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom; and if we incorporate within our heart and our character the very core essence of the wisdom of God, we too some day shall be call pillars in the Temple of our God. (Revelation 3:12)
And finally, the Bible has this to say about the importance of being wise and prudent:
Hosea 14:9 Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.
PRUDENCE brings together wisdom, practicality, and a sensible approach as we seek to be lights for Christ in an ever darkening world. (But it is not going to be dark for very long! God’s restoration is coming.)