Devotional Week 41 Wednesday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“O taste and see that the Lord our God is good! Blessed is the man (woman) who trusts and takes refuge in Him.”
Psalm 34: 8
“Once ‘twas busy planning
Now ‘tis trustful prayer;
Once ‘twas anxious caring,
Now He has the care;
Once ‘twas what I wanted,
Now what Jesus says;
Once ‘twas constant asking,
Now ‘tis ceaseless praise.
Once it was my working,
His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him,
Now He uses me;
Once the power I wanted,
Now the Mighty One;
Once for self I labored,
Now for Him alone.”
A. B. Simpson
Songs of the Spirit
“Like newborn babies you should crave and earnestly desire the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto salvation, since you have already tasted the goodness and kindness of the Lord.”
1 Peter 2: 2, 3
Today’s Study Text:
“Then said the king unto her, ‘What wilt thou, Queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom.’ And Esther answered, ‘if it seems good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him.’ Then the king said, ‘Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said.’ So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.”
Esther 5: 3, 4
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“When Prudence Meets Prosperity”Part 35
“The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way; but the folly of fools is deceit.”
Proverbs 14: 8
Gazing on his beautiful queen, standing before him in her regal attire, King Ahasuerus not only seemed delighted to see his gracious queen, he actually appeared overwhelmed.
Wondering as to the reason of her unexpected appearance, Ahasuerus’ first inquiry was very simple: “What can I do for you?” In our modern language, our attitude would most likely have been the same. Desiring as we might to find out what was on the mind of Esther, our inclination to fulfill the wish of the one we cared for would be the same as the King Ahasuerus.
However, it is the words which follow that make me go “WOW”! King Ahasuerus, with his longing to do anything to please Esther, in this case, offered her half of his kingdom. Wouldn’t that make you go “WOW” too? This is where we find prosperity running headlong into the virtue of prudence, a trait which was already evident in Queen Esther. If we return to Esther 2: 15, we read that when Esther was first taken in before King Ahasuerus in the Medo-Persia Beauty Pageant, instead of plastering herself with every jewel possible or with over-the-top apparel, she instead “required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed.” I have a feeling that Hegai also may well have had the king’s ear and it was quite likely he gave King Ahasuerus the inside information about what the young women were like. Possibly Hegai just made a simple statement like, “Wait until you meet Esther. She’s everyone’s favorite!”
Letting your natural womanly beauty or Godly handsomeness shine through is, in my opinion, the sign of a prudent person. Too bad that in our world today, simple adornment isn’t admired as frequently as the so-called glitzy glamour. Unfortunately, when the word prudence is mentioned, too often the first part of the word “prude” is what individuals take away from what we should have as a more thoughtful reflection.
The wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, had more to say about the virtue of prudence than any other person in Scripture. Twelve times in the book of Proverbs, we read about this particular quality. Here are just a few of my favorite texts and I want to add that while many of these passages in Scripture refer to “men,” the word “women” is completely permissible as well:
1. “Every prudent man deals with knowledge, but a self-confident fool exposes and flaunts his folly.”
Proverbs 13: 16
2. “The prudent are crowned with knowledge.”
Proverbs 14: 18
3. “A fool despises his father’s instruction and correction, but he who regards reproof acquires prudence.”
Proverbs 15: 5
4. “The wise in heart are called prudent and winsome speech increases in both speaker and listener.”
Proverbs 16: 21
5. “A wise, understanding, and prudent wife is from the Lord.”
Proverbs 19: 14
(Something King Ahasuerus witnessed first hand) As King Solomon further stated,
“He who finds a true wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord”
Proverbs 18: 22
In today’s society, we could certainly “get knowledge” as Solomon writes if we took time to study the words of generations past. As I undertook this study on “prudence”, I came upon a devotional insight by author and speaker Os Guinness.
He wrote that Titan had “a painting in the National Gallery, London, called ‘An Allegory of Prudence.’ Prudence has three heads, a youth’s which looks towards the future, a mature man’s which looks at the present, and an old man’s which looks back on the past with the wisdom of experience. Titian has written over their heads: ‘From the (example of) the past the man of the present acts prudently so as not to imperil the future.’”
Sadly, too many people in the world today act just the opposite. I remember my dad’s advice after some well-learned life experiences, “It’s always better to engage your brain before turning on your mouth.” I call that “prudent” advice. It’s a sign of wisdom to speak and act thoughtfully before just letting yourself run of the rails both by what you say and what you do.
Pastor and author of the award winning book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg, offers these insightful words on the virtue of prudence: “Prudence is not hesitation, procrastination, or moderation. It is not driving in the middle of the road. It is not the way of ambivalence, indecision, or safety.” The fact is that in all our lives, prudence fits like a well-made glove on the hand of wisdom.
As the young Queen Esther stood before the head of Medo-Persian power, she offered each of us a lesson in thinking before speaking and listening before acting. Even when she was offered a gift of “half the kingdom,” she politely thought of the king first and invited him and the wily Haman to a banquet which was prepared in their honor. She had thought ahead and planned ahead. And her prudence paid off in more ways than one.
In the book of Luke, Jesus offers us a lesson on prudence which is even more appropriate for our world today than it was when He walked the earth:
“Which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see whether he has sufficient means to finish it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to complete the building, all who see it will begin to mock and jeer at him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish!”
Luke 14: 28-30
No wonder, years later Thomas Aquinas penned this reminder, “Prudence is absolutely the principal of all the virtues.”
The Pharaoh Akhenaton, husband of Nefertiti and father of Tutankhamun encouraged his readers to, “Hear the words of prudence, give heed unto her counsels, and store them in thine heart; her maxims are universal, and all the virtues lean on her.” This is advice that was good in Egypt in 1000 B.C. Good for Queen Esther in Medo-Persia. And good for all of us living in 2016 A.D.
“In the acts of righteousness govern thyself by the rules of prudence, and be not transported, no, not by a zeal for God, into any intemperate heats or passions, or any practices unbecoming thy character or dangerous to thy interests.”
“Jesus my Teacher, guide me along Your way, and help me to piece together the jigsaw of life in Your kingdom. When I make decisions, lead me to the heart of the matter, and when I face conflict, do not let my own panic drown out the still, small voice of Your wisdom.”
“As we plan and make decisions,
God be our way.
As we learn and ask questions,
God be our truth.
As we grow and as we change,
God be our life.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus