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Day 18 – A Prudent Man

Prov. 22:3 “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”

Noah Webster defines “prudent” as:

Cautious; circumspect; practically wise; careful of the consequences of enterprises, measures or actions; cautious not to act when the end is of doubtful utility, or probably impracticable.

He also defines “simple” as:

Weak in intellect; not wise or sagacious; silly.

The simple believeth every word; but the prudent looketh well to his going. Prov 14.

It amazes me how the vocabulary and definitions I learned in school are different from the meanings intended in our King James Bible. Prov. 22:3 is a good example of my interpretation in light of what I “thought” prudent and simple meant. When I read Noah Webster’s definition of these two words, the verse is suddenly revealed and its warning of the consequences is much more severe than I had initially thought.

We can read verse after verse with our own definitions in mind, but is what we are interpreting truly what was intended for us? I’ve mentioned this in a prior blog, but it’s worth repeating. I challenge you to look up the word “sin” in today’s dictionary and then look it up in Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary. You will understand where I’m coming from.

It is nothing to wink at when we are warned that the simple will not see evil and will be punished. Look at what the prudent man does… this cautious man foresees what this evil will bring to him and weighs the consequences. How can he foresee the consequences? He has been in the Word, heeding the Spirit’s teachings and growing thereby. He has been equipping himself for battle, as I pointed out in yesterday’s blog. I am reminded of policemen at this point who enter a situation where danger lurks. They don’t immediately run into a building where a report has been made of breaking and entering. Instead, they are trained to proceed with caution. They sense danger as though it was a sixth sense. They check every dark corner – their gun is drawn and ready for battle. They do not enter alone but always have backup. If backup has not arrived, they do not proceed.

What a great analogy of the prudent Christian. We are trained by the Word of God to proceed in our Christian walk with caution. The Word teaches us to discern what is evil. 

Heb. 5:13-14, “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. (13) But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (14) 

This discernment has been exercised by the older believer. The Word is our weapon – we need it “drawn and ready” for battle every day.

The simple one handles danger in a totally different way. This intellectually weak person has not spent any time of worth in the Word. His weapon is not loaded and ready for battle. In fact, this person walks into evil without forethought and Prov. 22:3 says they are punished because of it.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t care for punishment and I surely will not be quick to enter a situation where I know the end result is punishment. We must grow from our mistakes. If not, we are a foolish one indeed.

Dear God…
May I prepare for battle
By spending time with You
May your Word direct me
In all I say and do.