Prudence Is Applied Wisdom
‘I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. Proverbs 8:12’
Wisdom includes wits! Prudence is applied wisdom. Where do you think computers, ice cream, microwaves, and airplanes came from?
Creative imagination, expanding knowledge, innovative solutions, inventive genius, and their application for good uses are God’s gifts. They are given to men and for men where wisdom is exalted. The practical, life benefits of wisdom are great – do you appreciate it?
If wisdom is honored – fear of God and love of Scripture – clever innovations and inventions follow, either by the men with wisdom or by pagans for those men. The men with wisdom win! Solomon exalted wisdom by teaching that it brings witty inventions.
Proverbs chapter 8 is the loftiest chapter of the book; it exalts wisdom higher than the others. A simple division has four sections – a salutation and invitation by Lady Wisdom (Pr 8:1-11), the natural and spiritual blessings that follow wisdom (Pr 8:12-21), God’s eternal use of wisdom in creation (Pr 8:22-31), and her concluding warning (Pr 8:32-36).
These four sections help interpret the proverb by showing natural blessings to be a large part of Solomon’s reasoning here (Pr 8:12-21). The spiritual blessings are righteousness and hating evil. The natural blessings are counsel, understanding, strength, reigning, justice, ruling, riches, honour, durable riches, judgment, substance, and treasures.
Every time you use new technology, benefit from a new procedure, read about a new substance, or see a new solution, remember to bless God for the “witty invention” and exalt the wisdom that discovered it, communicated it, conveyed it, or applied it for your benefit. God knows what He has done for you, and you should thank Him for it.
Lady Wisdom is the source of prudence and knowledge in man’s advances. She delights in serving and helping men (Pr 8:31). Appreciate innovations that enhance your life, even if pagans invented them for Christians to use them. The rule still applies. Philistines may have used the bow first, but David used the bow better, and against them (II Sam 1:18)!
Wisdom applied is prudence, and it leads to new methods to accomplish old tasks in an easier, more economical, and more efficient way. The advancement of any society depends on the degree of wisdom and blessing they have from the Most High. Like God sending sunshine and rain on the wicked, some innovations may also come through them.
Wisdom seeks better solutions to difficulties others accept as unavoidable. Disregard for traditional methods, obsession to experiment, lack of fear of failure, and a vision of something nonexistent are gifts from God. Such traits make inventors! And inventors improve society by leveraging society’s efforts by a new tool for greater productivity.
Necessity is the mother of invention. True! But only to those able to imagine a different way of doing things! Many generations of various nations have stubbornly held to traditional means of survival or production. Why are some men obsessed about finding a better, easier, more economical way to do things? God gave them the capacity for creative thinking and prompted them to consider alternative methods or machines.
Wisdom is profitable to direct (Eccl 10:10). A fool glories in bicep size from beating trees down with a dull ax; but a wise man uses a file to sharpen his ax, which allows him to cut trees down in a fraction of the time and effort of the fool. While a sharp ax is superior to a dull ax, a chainsaw is many times superior to a sharp ax! Wisdom leads to prudence and witty inventions. But some men and societies are perpetual fools.
Wise and orderly planting, fertilizing, weeding, watering, harvesting, and processing of various food grains is a gift from God (Is 28:23-29). Read the passage given, and rejoice in the LORD! There was no trial and error. God implanted the wisdom in certain men in the very beginning. Adam was quite capable of naming all the animals (Gen 2:19-20).
The Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, was a wise and prudent man (Is 11:1-4; Col 2:3). With supreme acuity of wisdom, He knew and exposed the designs and thoughts of His enemies (Matt 9:4-8; Luke 7:36-50). And He confounded their heretical notions with brilliant and probing questions and dilemmas (Matt 21:23-27; 22:15-46).
The ultimate prudence and creative solution in the universe is the plan of salvation, in which God abounded toward His elect “in all wisdom and prudence” (Eph 1:8). How can a holy God justify sinners and maintain perfect justice? With infinite wisdom, He sent Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, to die as a substitute, and to rise from the dead! The angels desire to look into this brilliant transaction (I Pet 1:10-12).