“Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man …” (1 Sam 16:18)
While studying the life of King David, I’ve found so many characteristics that I’d love others to use when describing me. Unfortunately, some of them, such as “handsome” are subjective and are largely out of my control. However, there are others that I can definitely develop in my life – one of them being prudence.
To be prudent is to exhibit discernment and understanding. However, David was discerning about much more than just his word choices – as “speech” also referred to “deeds, events, business, accounts, things, and matters.” In other words, David was discerning about many (dare we say, most) things. In fact, some translations say David was “prudent in all matters.” This makes sense to me because one must first understand a subject before they can speak prudently about it.
But, in practical terms, what does being prudent look and sound like? For starters, it means we know the facts before speaking. We don’t jump in half-cocked and make broad and sweeping statements. Discernment also guides us to know what to say, and when to say it. Likewise, it helps us to know what NOT to say and why something shouldn’t be said. A person prudent in all matters can also carry themselves well in every situation; a quality important in a king.
While I’ll never be a king, I do long to be prudent in all of my conduct and speech. I want to gather my facts and gather myself before I speak. I want to be circumspect about every important situation I face – looking at them from many perspectives as to not unnecessarily harm others.
Like David, I want to be prudent in all things. How about you? –Dave
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