Two women are introduced to us in chapters 7 and 8 of the book of Proverbs. Both women are out on the streets but that is where any similarity ends. The one woman is dressed in the garb of an harlot, a woman described as subtle of heart, her wares being herself and her wiles. She looks for one to share her fill of love until the morning. The second woman, Lady Wisdom cries in the streets, also seeking lovers from the sons of men, but her wares are treasures eternal. In contrast to the harlot who calls the simple to indulge in sin, she calls the simple to forsake sin. She calls on the sons of men to love her and to love the excellent things, the right things that she brings, and promises that she is better than rubies and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to her. She issues a call to godliness, catering to the spirit in contrast to the harlotís call to sinfulness which always caters to the flesh.
Lady Wisdomís call includes that which the harlot has forsaken and that is an action called prudence. Prudence guards not the activities of the harlot but always accompanies Lady Wisdom.
When you find wisdom you will find her living with another and that other has the name prudence.
Proverbs 8:12, I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
Prudence is one of those words that has almost disappeared from the English language. It is one of those character words that is old fashioned and no longer in vogue. But it is a Bible word that we should understand and use.
Prudence is wisdom applied to practice. Prudence promotes caution in deliberating on the most suitable means to carry out valuable purposes and the use of judgment in discerning and selecting those means. Wisdom presses toward the best conclusion while prudence finds the most effective methods.
Prudence is that cautionary element that brings to wisdom, safety of action. Wisdom says to go in a certain direction but prudence chimes in and says to be cautious and careful. Prudence agrees with wisdom but says to be careful of the consequences of the action.
Most times when I leave my house my wife says "Be careful".
Now she does not question where I am going but she tells me to be prudent about the going of it. Marriage is like this for I have observed that the man takes the role of wisdom and the woman the role of prudence. I think most men can attest to the fact that their wives are moderating influences on their activities. This should remind us men to consider carefully what our godly wives say for wisdom dwells with prudence and prudence instructs and cautions the adventurousness and energy of wisdom. Many times we do not like to be cautioned however it is wise to listen to the caution of our wives and go forward considering that caution. For prudence brings to wisdom safety of action and identifies those things which tend to thwart success.
As prudence dwells with wisdom and carries out her purpose she finds out knowledge of witty inventions. Now this has nothing to do with the technological age of invention for these inventions have been with us since the Garden of Eden. Those witty inventions here spoken of are plans, usually evil, conspiracies, stumbling stones put in the way of progress; clever schemes that would thwart that which wisdom proposes to do. Prudence is there to uncover those schemes. Prudence finds out what is going on and takes cover or takes another path toward the goal.
Jesus Christ was prudent in all of his dealings. Being wisdom personified, He, by prudence, had the knowledge of the witty inventions of his enemies and thwarted their every attempt to stop him until it was his will to be stopped.
The Scribes and the Pharisees spent long hours thinking of witty inventions to entrap our Lord, however prudence intervened and uncovered their wicked thinking. Matthew 9:4, And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? Matthew 22:18, But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
His prudence led him to see danger and to remove himself from it. Matthew 12:14,15, Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: John 6:15, When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
Even in the matter of paying taxes our Lord exercised prudence by not wishing to offend the authorities and gave orders that the appropriate tribute be paid.
Jesus Christ was prudent with Satan. He knew the character of Satan. He knew that Satan was moved by the now and now and was interested in his own will and plans and not interested in the will of the Father. Anything from Satan was simply another witty invention to tie and to bind Christ from being about His Fatherís business. For He always answered the foils of Satan with the pure Word of God. Prudence led him to a higher plane on which to deal with the self serving schemes of the evil one.
So the mark of the wise is prudence. Wisdom and prudence are faithful partners and where you will find one you will find the other. A wise man is always prudent and never rash for rashness reveals one who has not used the deliberating skills of the wise.