A PRUDENT MAN
Date: August 4
Category: Godly Character
"A prudent man sees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished [with suffering]."
This verse is a comparison between the actions of a prudent man and the actions of a simple man. It says here in verse 3a, "A prudent man sees the evil and hides himself…" In other words, a man who is prudent will think about a course of action, consider the effects of that action, and examine if the effects are positive or negative. Then if the effects are negative, he won't proceed with that course of action. That's what it means when it says that he sees evil and hides himself. So a prudent man won't even allow himself to be in the midst of evilness. He won't follow the pathway of wickedness. As soon as he sees it, he hides himself.
Let's say, for example, you are with a group of people and they offer you a ride home. But then you learn that they have been drinking. You see that there is a possibility of them getting into a car accident because of the alcohol in their system. That's a danger. If you are a person who is prudent, then you will decide not to go with those people. That's what it means to see evil and hide from it. Or let's say, you are at work and you start developing an emotional connection with someone at work even though you're already married. You recognize that there is danger in that. You recognize that it's not right according to the Scriptures. If you are a prudent person, then you'll choose not to nurture those feelings. Instead, you'll cut them off and not share anything intimate with that person. That's another example of seeing evil and hiding from it.
The rest of verse 3 says, "but the simple pass on and are punished [with suffering]." So the simple person, who is actually a foolish person, will see the dangers of a certain course of action, but he'll still do it. He'll still follow that pathway even though he knows it'll lead to destruction. That's foolishness! And according to this verse, that will lead to destruction and punishment with suffering. For example, many people who commit adultery even though they know it's wrong often catch sexually transmitted diseases or they impregnate someone who's not their spouse, or their marriages fall apart and even their finances suffer as well. There is no benefit in following the road of evilness. That road will only lead to destruction and death. So it's much better to be a prudent person who sees danger and hides from it than to be a simple person who just follows the pathway of evilness anyway.
The baby boomers are getting ready to retire soon, and I read that only 27% of them are really ready for retirement. So most of them are not prepared for retirement at all and will probably experience some financial hardships. We, who now know this, can be prudent in this case by starting to save for retirement now. That means cutting down on unnecessary expenses now to save up for retirement later. That's what it means to be prudent. Or if you are a student, for example, and there is an exam coming up. A foolish person would see that the exam is coming and still choose not to study. But a prudent person would see the exam and immediately start studying for it. A prudent person will prepare for the exam ahead of time. That's why people of prudence are successful while simple people who fail to plan ahead don't receive success.
There are difficulties that we're all going to face in our lives. But we can prevent many of them from happening by obeying the Word of God and avoiding evilness. That's why reading the Word of God every day is so important. When you feed your spirit with the Word, then you will speak the Word out of your mouth. When a difficult situation comes, you will know how to react. The Word will give you wisdom and insight to know how to handle your life situations, but it will also help you plan ahead before those situations even come to avoid such hardships.
So let's receive the Word of God into our hearts and learn something very important from this verse. If we want to be people of prudence, then we must obey this Word of God. As soon as we see evil, we must hide ourselves from it and not walk along that path. If we do that, then we will avoid the punishment that the foolish people who don't hide themselves have to experience – the punishment with suffering. So let's be people of prudence, and let's hide ourselves from evil!