This articles covers two of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom; The Knowledge of every Word of God, and Prudence which comes through experience in applying God’s Word in our lives.
Proverbs 9:1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:
The seven pillars that hold up Wisdom’s house.
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 correspond to the following seven qualities that dwell with Wisdom:
- The Fear of the LORD
- Knowledge of Witty Inventions [This is an incorrect KJV translation and should read “The Knowledge of God”]
- Prudence [gained by experience in living by every Word of God]
- Counsel [advice, instruction]
- Sound Wisdom [This is an incorrect KJV translation and should read “Godly Judgment”]
This week we will explore what it means to “find out knowledge of witty inventions”. The description of this one aspect of wisdom may sound somewhat strange and we may wonder what it mean: to find out knowledge of witty inventions?
Proverbs 8:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
Bible translations other than the King James translate “knowledge of witty inventions” as “discretion” or “I know how to be discreet”.
The King James translation is very awkward and confusing, while the “discretion” translation is misleading since discretion has to do with the application of knowledge while .the Hebrew word translated in the King James knowledge of witty inventions) is mezimmah (Strong’s #4209) and means: discretion, intent, witty invention, and refers more properly to the actual knowledge rather than to the use of such knowledge.
The Hebrew language uses the word mezimmah when speaking of either good or bad devices [knowledge]. This word [mezimmah] is usually translated as “devices” [plans] “thoughts”, or “intents” as per the following verses:
Job 21:27 Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices [mezimmah] which ye wrongfully imagine against me.
Job 42:2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought [mezimmah: purpose, discretion, device] can be withholden from thee.
Jeremiah 30:24 The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he hath done it, and until he have performed the intents [mezimmah] of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.
Proverbs 12:2 A good man obtaineth favour of the Lord: but a man of wicked devices [mezimmah] will he condemn.
Psalm 10:2 The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices [mezimmah] that they have imagined.
Psalm 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts [mezimmah].
Psalm 21:11 For they intended [mezimmah] evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device [mezimmah] , which they are not able to perform.
Biblically the term so awkwardly translated in the KJV as “to find knowledge of witty inventions,” when associated with Wisdom, means acquiring knowledge of what is right and true. In terms of godly wisdom this word means to study, learn and acquire a knowledge of the whole Word of God; which as Solomon and David said, is the foundation of wisdom.
Other translators translate mezimmah as discretion which also obscures the reality that the word simply mean knowledge whether good or evil.
We see that this word mezimmah simply means knowledge; whether good or evil, and it is by the context that the meaning of either good or evil knowledge becomes clear.
The foundation of wisdom is the Word of God, and on that foundation stand the seven pillars of wisdom; one being KNOWLEDGE of God and beside it is the pillar of Prudence, which is the correct godly application of knowledge.
Solomon pairs these two pillars of wisdom in the very beginning of the Book of Proverbs when he says:
Proverbs 1:2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 1:3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 1:4 To give subtilty [prudence] to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
In Proverbs 8:12 Solomon pairs prudence and knowledge of godliness together but they are still two separate components of wisdom. Knowledge of the Word of God and the proper godly application of the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.
Proverbs 8:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
Prudence [the godly application of the knowledge of the whole Word of God] and a good knowledge of every Word of God; go hand in hand and work together when it comes to applying the wisdom of God to our everyday.
A good Knowledge of the Word of God enables us to discern between good and evil by comparing all things with a good knowledge of the standard of God’s Word! Whatever is consistent with every Word of God is righteous and good, and any departure from any part of the Word of God is evil!
It is the knowledge of God’s Word that Solomon is talking about when he speaks of what the KJV terms very awkwardly: “the knowledge if witty inventions”!
We are to acquire the knowledge of what God says is right and good and then prudently implement that knowledge in all of our plans, intentions, thoughts and actions.
The pillar of the Knowledge of godliness stands with Prudence, which is the proper application of that knowledge!
In this series we will see that all seven pillars of wisdom stand on the same foundation of the Word of God, and all seven pillars are interrelated and work together
We must come to the knowledge of every Word of God and then learn to discern the difference between the Holy and the profane which is Prudence; and then we must unite that knowledge of godliness with godly prudence.
Ezekiel 44:23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
Ezekiel 22:26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
To know the Word of God [knowledge] and to put it into practice [prudence] is a big part of godly wisdom.
Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Godliness is about leaning [acquiring the KNOWLEDGE of God] and then applying every Word of God to how to think and act [PRUDENCE].
That is wisdom and “the knowledge of the Word of God” is one of the pillars [as it is used in Proverbs 8:12] that make up the house of wisdom.
We must have the knowledge of every Word of God to exercise the prudent application of that knowledge in order to discern between good and what is evil.
The acquisition of the knowledge of God requires asking God for knowledge and understanding of his word, followed up by a diligent study of every Word of God ; after which that knowledge must be correctly applied to our thoughts and actions which is Prudence.
Daniel ~ An Example of Knowledge and Prudent Action
To better understand this aspect of wisdom we can see it plainly played out in action in the lives of God’s faithful servants. One person that comes readily to mind is Daniel. From the very first chapter of the Book of Daniel we see that Daniel was a person of wisdom and strong character along with his three friends.
Daniel and his friends were among the captives that were taken to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar invaded and took over Judah,
Daniel 1:2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. 1:3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;
1:4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
1:5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
1:6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 1:7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.
Daniel and his three Jewish friends were given special gifts of knowledge and understanding directly from God. “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill [prudence] in all learning and wisdom…” (Daniel 1:17)
In the next verse we are told that Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with eating the unclean food of the Babylonians.
The fact that Daniel had resolved in his mind that he would NOT eat of the unclean foods, is indicative that Daniel had the knowledge of God’s Word and that Daniel and his friends were committed to ACT [prudence] on that knowledge.
This incident shows us that Daniel and his friends were loyal to God, knowledgeable of God’s Word and were willing to obey God, which is prudence since only God can save from death, no matter what; and because of this God granted them even more special knowledge and wisdom.
These young men had determined from their youth that they would stay true to the Most High God and not defile themselves by turning away from God even though they were captives living in the midst of that nation.
Daniel was the spokesperson and leader of the group and he was especially imbued with wisdom and understanding….”and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams” (Daniel 1:17).
Daniel 1:9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. 1:10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
1:11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 1:12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 1:13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
The prince of the eunuchs was willing to give them a chance to prove that they would not suffer poor health or poor appearance if they did not eat of the king’s food for ten days.
Daniel 1:14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 1:15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.
Daniel’s plan worked and at the end of the ten days of eating only grain they looked healthier and better than all the other young men who did eat of the kings fine and dainty food therefore they were given permission to continue in their vegetarian diet.
Daniel 1:16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
Daniel 1:17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
Because these young men KNEW the Word of God and obeyed God and were loyal to all of His ways, God granted them even more knowledge and wisdom.
In the very next chapter we are told that King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and he demanded that his “wise men” (the magicians, astrologers, his enchanters or soothsayers sorcerers, and Chaldean diviners) tell him the dream and its meaning. When they said that they could not possibly do for the king what he was asking, the king flew into a rage.
Daniel 2:10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. 2:11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. 2:12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
Even though Daniel and his friends were not magicians or soothsayers they were still lumped in with what Nebuchadnezzar considered “the wise men”.
Daniel 2:13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain. 2:14 Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: 2:15 He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.
When Arioch the king’s commander came for Daniel and his friends, Daniel remained calm and acted with wisdom when he learned of the King’s decree. Instead of panicking or despairing, Daniel immediately asked the king that he be given a little more time and assured him that he would return to tell him the dream and the interpretation. This shows that Daniel had faith that God would help him even when it looked impossible.
Daniel 2:16 Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.
Daniel not only had wisdom but he had great faith; faith that God would reveal to him Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and thereby spare him, his friends and the other wise men.
Daniel and his friends sought KNOWLEDGE from God appealing to God for knowledge and understanding of the dream and its interpretation. They asked God for the pillar of wisdom called KNOWLEDGE and then explained the thing to the king prudently declaring that the knowledge came from God and not their own wisdom.
Knowledge is knowing the Word of God and Prudence is how we apply or use that knowledge of the Word of God!
Daniel 2:17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 2:18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
That night God revealed the secret to Daniel in a night vision.
Daniel 2:19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
Daniel praised the Great God who is the source of all wisdom and knowledge, giving God all the credit and all the glory, and he thanked God for making known to him the secret of the dream and its interpretation.
Daniel 2:20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
2:22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. 2:23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.
This was not just any dream but a prophecy of the future kingdoms of the world and how they would succeed each other until the King of kings would come in great power (represented by the Stone cut out of a huge mountain) to smite the image on the feet and bring all of the opposing kingdoms of this world (represented by Babylon and the golden image) tumbling down and crushing it to pieces.
Daniel 2:24 Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation.
2:25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation. 2:26 The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?
Daniel continued to give God the credit for giving him the interpretation of the king’s dream.
Daniel not only had knowledge from God to interpret the dream, but he also was given the wisdom of knowing how to handle a very volatile situation [prudence], saving himself, his three friends, and the whole company of the other wise men.
Daniel 2:27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; 2:28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;
2:29 As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.
2:30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.
Daniel knew that he did not have any superior intelligence of his own to see into the secret things of God but that it is God who gives the knowledge of godly things.
Wisdom is a gift from God and it does not originate within ourselves, it comes to us through the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit which imparts the Seven Pillars of Wisdom to His children, if they ask for and diligently seek the knowledge of the Word of God and live in obedience to Him in all things.
God gift of knowledge to Daniel to interpret the dream for Nebuchadnezzar also became a part of Holy Scripture revealing significant information about the future of all the kingdoms of the world and the coming of the Kingdom of God.
How to Grow in Godly Knowledge and Understanding
Every person who is called to God, is called to learn and to live by every Word of God; which is the foundation of all godly wisdom.
We are called to become Holy as God is Holy (Lev 11:45, 1 Pet 1:16) which means that we are to live as God lives, internalizing the every nature of God through learning and living by every Word of God; and if we do this we will learn the wisdom of God.
For it is written: 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.
When we are called and we commit ourselves to live by every Word of Good, we take upon ourselves the moral duty to learn every Word of God, for how can we live by something which we do not know?
To come to the knowledge of every Word of God, we must ask God to give us that knowledge which is a pillar of wisdom built upon respect and the fear of God..
Then if we are called to God and fully committed to live by every Word of God, He will give us the gift of His Holy Spirit which will open our minds to learn, retain, internalize, obey and recall God’s Word.
We must then diligently and continually study every Word of God, not only reading it, but thinking [meditating] on it on a continual bases. Examining God’s Word in the thoughts of our minds and working to learn how to apply it in our lives.
From there we must apply God’s Word to our actions, and through the continual application of God’s Word in our actions, we marry knowledge to experience and with God’s help we begin to understand and properly apply the knowledge of godliness, which is the pillar of Prudence.
Proverbs 9:1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.
Wisdom has seven supporting pillars each of which helps to support the whole sum.
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)
True biblical wisdom involves God’s instructions 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 and the Word of God . 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. 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 the first part of this study we saw how “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 pillar of healthy respect and fear to offend God motivates us to see the pillar of The Knowledge of God and the Word of God
Now 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 and live by every Word of God, and then we add the knowledge of the Word of God followed by Prudence, which is the wisdom of knowing what actions we need to do in and circumstances we find ourselves in.
Prudence helps us to foresee evil and then take steps to avoid that evil. Prudence is to correctly implement every Word of God into 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.
The Definition of Prudence
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 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 to diminish 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.
The Scriptures and 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 avoid trouble; most especially the godly prudent are wise to do what it takes to protect themselves from getting involved with sin.
It is prudence based on knowledge to know how to get away from certain situations, or a group of people (or even a person) in order to avoid temptation to sin, or to avoid things that are harmful.
Prudence is gained through practical experience based on godly knowledge, in living by every Word of God; teaching us the wisdom 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.
To live with prudence means to live godly lives well, making godly wise decisions based on every Word of God, taking care of our responsibilities, preparing for the future [especially preparing spiritually] and knowing and practicing the adage that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that an “ounce of righteousness is worth a pound of correction”.
Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
This is just as true spiritually as it is physically, those who are lax in internalizing the Word and nature of God now, will find little reward in the spiritual realm.
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, godly words, 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 person ignorant of the Word of God is easily misled and believes every word he hears, being easily led astray into error and sin. The person knowledgable in the Word of God and experienced [prudent] in its application is pleasing to God and has a good reward.
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 can be inherited from our parents but to have a prudent wife is a blessing from the Lord. Solomon has much to say about women – whom he uses as a metaphor for the spiritual called out bride of Christ, 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] that God the Father wants for His Son.
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 said 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 in her being 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 knowledgeable in every Word of God, 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 (strong to be godly, 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 as guidance in leading lives of godly 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 [strong to be godly]; based on the knowledge of every Word of God.
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).
The Biblical definition of virtue is having the wisdom to know and the will and strength to do what is right, to live by every Word of God.
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 [strong to be godly] 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.
The “virtuous woman” is a metaphor and is 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 las (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.
This is the kind of bride that Jesus Christ is looking for to be resurrected to spirit to live with him for eternity.
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 Called to Wisely Apply Every Word of God, Which is Prudence
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.
The Biblical Meaning 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 who feared God, and applied the knowledge they had of God and God’s will prudently.
Jesus Christ is our most preeminent example in being 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 based upon the fear [awe and respect] of the Lord; and is the proper application of the pillar of Godly Knowledge.
Prudence is the practical application of God’s law in the letter and in the spirit; it is part of our spiritual warfare. 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, knowledge and prudence, helping us to overcome our enemies [Satan, sin and death] 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;)
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.
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 make no acknowledgment of God 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.
Denying God and forsaking godly wisdom is the definition of a fool, because anyone who rejects truth and wisdom is a fool; and God IS wisdom and truth!
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 lives.
Who Are Our 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 [associate] 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; where supposedly worldly wise men are foolish in that they deny God and the wisdom of the Word of God.
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; although this does not always pertain to material riches which can be damaged or stolen, but it especially 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 the Eternal like others worship their 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.
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 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 diligently 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. no one can teach me 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 lax 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 laxity is to be zealous, to be on fire for the things of God and for 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 wisdom 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 said abut wisdom in his Book of Proverbs. 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 today.
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 of foolish wickedness will affect our entire character. Even a little bit of foolishness if left unchecked can affect the entire church as is happening in the Ekklesia 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 rebellion against the wisdom and truth of God.
God wants intelligent capable kings and priests who know how to make sound godly 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. 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 [and then seek it diligently through the study and application of every Word of God]. 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 foresight and readiness to apply God’s Word 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, foresight and sound judgment and it protects us from being taken by surprise and 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 these pitfalls in future.
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 [to 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 preparing and qualifying now for the jobs that God has picked out for us. God 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.
Proverbs 10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
This means that those who seek after godly 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 learn 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.
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 set an example of living by every Word of God, and that example is the principle thing in proclaiming the Gospel of Salvation, for if we preach repentance and live in wickedness ourselves we are hypocrites.
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 of godliness in an ever darkening world.
It is not going to be dark for very long! God’s restoration is coming.
James Malm and Constance Belanger
Note- Constance submitted the original rough draft of this article in 2016, which I then completed for posting.