The Prudent Person

Text: I Thessalonians 5:1-10


I.         The Hebrew word arum refers to a clever or crafty person.

            A.        In a negative way it refers to a person who deceives or tricks another person, such as the serpent in the Garden - Genesis 3:1

            B.        But it can also refer to the person to thinks ahead and so avoids future problems by being clever in the present.

            C.        It is wise to be numbered among the prudent - Proverbs 16:21

II.        The knowledge of the prudent

            A.        The prudent gathers information first before acting - Proverbs 18:15

                        1.         Then act- Proverbs 13:16

                        2.         You do things because you know it is the best way - Proverbs 14:8

                                    a.         The fool deceives himself in “because I think, therefore it is best”

                        3.         Fools tend to be impulsive.

                                    a.         It doesn’t cross their mind that others lie. If it sounds good, then it is assumed to be good - Proverbs 14:15

                                    b.         The prudent thinks carefully before acting.

                        4.         When you have a problem, do you lash out or do you gather as much information as you can first so you know what you are doing? - James 1:19-20

            B.        The prudent person doesn’t reveal everything he knows

                        1.         When you play a game of cards, it isn’t very smart to show the cards you are holding to your opponents.

                                    a.         You limit your options.

                        2.         A prudent man conceals what he knows - Proverbs 12:23

                                    a.         This isn’t saying he lies or practices deceit

                                    b.         You don’t show off what you know to look important because that is pride.

                                    c.         The smart thing to do not let other people know the extent or limits of what you know.

                        3.         Because the fool is ignorant, he demonstrates his lack of knowledge by doing whatever comes first to his head. He reveals how little he knows - Proverbs 13:16

                        4.         Your mom did this to you when you were young.

                                    a.         “OK, young man. Out with it.”

                                    b.         Suddenly your guilt rises to the surface and you just know mom has eyes in the back of her head, so you might as well confess and through yourself on the mercy of the court.

                                    c.         By not saying how little she knew, your mom learned what she needed to know.

                        5.         It also means you don’t always show your emotional reactions - Proverbs 12:16

                                    a.         Your emotions can be wrong - Proverbs 28:26

            C.        The prudent man learns from his mistakes - Proverbs 15:5

                        1.         No one knows everything. We all will make mistakes, even when we try hard to minimize it.

                        2.         Therefore, the wise thing is to recognize when you do wrong and then learn from it so you won’t repeat it.

                        3.         Stubbornness can hurt you - Proverbs 29:1

            D.        Knowledge results in further knowledge - Proverbs 14:18

III.       Prudence is thinking ahead

            A.        This is mentioned twice - Proverbs 22:3; 27:12

                        1.         Evil doesn’t disappear if you ignore it. You can’t always avoid it, but when you see it coming, the smart thing to do is get out of the way.

                        2.         You pick your times for making a stand - Amos 5:13

            B.        You don’t let your emotions blind you to danger - Proverbs 14:16

                        1.         There were Egyptians who were smarter than Pharaoh - Exodus 9:20-21

            C.        It isn’t just anger that can blind us - Proverbs 9:16-18

            D.        Don’t make promises you can’t keep - Ecclesiastes 5:1

IV.      You aren’t prudent just because to claim to be prudent - Isaiah 5:21

            A.        If you think you are being clever, you’ll eventually make a mistake.

            B.        Pride is not prudence - Isaiah 10:13

            C.        Just because you’ve been wise and clever in the past, it doesn’t mean you are always wise and clever - Matthew 11:25

V.        The truly clever realize they can never be as clever as God - I Corinthians 1:19

            A.        Therefore the wise thing to do, is follow the wisdom of God - Hosea 14:9

            B.        That is why we don’t follow the ways of the world. We’re thinking of what is ahead - I Thessalonians 5:2-6