Prudent Men and Faithful Messengers

September 13, 2017

Proverbs 13:15

Good understanding gives favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.  

Bare knowledge is not commendable. For example, knowing the name of every one of the two million cities and villages in the world may impress a few of your friends, but it does not make you a man of understanding. (The Hebrew word for “understanding” is Sehkel.) This speaks to the ability and the character to properly use that knowledge. You may have a vocabulary of millions of words, but if you do not know how to say the right thing at the right time, you will never achieve much good in your life. 

Then, there are also those who know how to accomplish a few things by a certain practical use of knowledge, but they establish tyrannical governments, pornography businesses, or abortion clinics. The fruit of such endeavors is foul, destructive, and corrupting. On the other hand, those who apply knowledge to good understanding, wise words, and godly and profitable endeavors, will pour grace everywhere. They will create peaceful communities, generational blessings, and fruitful relationships. 

“The way of transgressors is hard.” This maxim may be applied a billion times a day in every part of the world. What good fruit will drunkenness, fornication, and fraud ever yield? Many a high-flying businessman feels that he can get away with a drunken, fornicating lifestyle for ten years, or even thirty years. But as the old saying goes, “The mills of God grind slowly, but very fine,” or in the words of the Apostle, “Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.”(Gal. 6:7) What goes around, comes around. For many years the defrauding, fornicating drunk might continue living comfortably in his sin. But one day, the seeds he plants will germinate. Then he will reap a field of stinking plants, and his life will yield bushels of bitter fruit. 

The low road is always the hard road, especially as the traveler approaches the end of his journey. Every pastor, psychiatrist, and marriage counselor will confirm this truism a thousand times over. A hundred thousand heartaches and ruined relationships in any single life might have been avoided if a man had shunned addiction to alcohol, unfaithfulness in marriage, and lying on contracts. He may blame his problems on a hundred other causes. But if it had not been for the sinful choices he made, his life would have straightened out nicely. The way of transgressors is hard. 

Proverbs 13:16

Every prudent man deals with knowledge: but a fool lays open his folly. 

Before a young man is ready to lead a family and make good judgment calls, he must become a prudent man. In order to make wise decisions, a man must develop a firm grasp of truth. If he has a wrong understanding concerning God’s law, if his values are not rightly selected and prioritized, or if he fails to understand history and the mistakes that men have made in the past, he will not be able to deal (as a “prudent man.”) 

Under normal circumstances, fools identify themselves as fools to everyone around them. So if someone in your school or business is acting the fool, don’t feel pressured to mark him out or forewarn others about his foolishness. The fool is the fellow wearing the badge marked “Fool.” His words and actions speak for themselves. 

Proverbs 13:17

A wicked messenger falls into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health. 

Before the days of e-mail and telephones, the only way a king or an employer could pass on a message to his people was by means of a real human being, referred to in the Hebrew language as a Malak. The king had to rely upon his messengers to get the message right and convey it correctly to all his subjects. This is the only way whereby a village or country could operate smoothly, according to the directions of the king. 

A good messenger is one who is faithful to the king, passing his messages along with a conscientious desire to understand the intent and the heart of the king, and to convey the message with the utmost precision. This is the role of every father, pastor, or teacher that brings the Word of our Lord to the people under their charge. We cannot allow any personal agendas and arrogant innovations to creep into the message. As we open up God’s Word, we must ask ourselves, “What does God intend by these words? How does He want us to live?” You can see that this begins with a heart of respect and honor for God. It is easy for people to twist the Word a thousand ways, if their hearts are not in total submission to the will of God.

Those wicked messengers that refuse to honor the will of the King will inevitably destroy themselves and those that follow them. They may pretend to know better than the king how to run the land, or they may think they know how to operate all the aspects of some business operation better than the Chief Executive Officer; but such presumptions are nothing but pure arrogant idiocy. Because they don’t have the background, the wisdom, or the authority to superintend the affairs of the ship, their mutinous antics will only run the ship into the ground. 

On the other hand, if you want a healthy country or business operation, it will take good and faithful servants who stick to their orders and follow through on their instructions to bring it about. Of course, the same thing applies to building the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. We simply cannot do it without faithful pastors or messengers who continually follow His directions contained in His Word. 

Family Discussion Questions: 

1. How much knowledge do we have of the Word of God? What sorts of doctrines, principles, etc., do we claim to understand? Now, what are the sorts of things that we do with our knowledge? Do we see prudence in how we handle our knowledge as a family?

2. How careful are we to avoid imposing our own agendas and innovations on God’s Word? Are we humble and honoring to our Lord as we pick up His Word? 

3. Are we faithful messengers and servants in the businesses or countries where God has placed us? Or are we the sort of people that assume we know more about how to operate the business or the country than all our leaders?