Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

I wonder, Did He or Didn’t He?
A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished. (Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12 NKJV)
Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” (John 5:14 NKJV)
What does it mean to be prudent?
The word prudent probably means sensible or wise in Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12.  The original word sometimes means crafty or shrewd but the context seems to imply that a wise person foresees evil and avoids it.  
This morning I read a story from a devotional called “Choice Gleanings” about a man that had made a visit to his doctor because of chest pain.  His EKG showed he was having a heart attack.  The doctor asked him if he was a smoker.  He said, “no.”  The doctor asked him if he had ever smoked and he said, “yes.”  The doctor asked him when he had quit smoking and he said, “this morning when the chest pains started.”  Now he obviously knew that smoking was one of the leading causes of heart problems but until the pains started, he didn’t take the warnings seriously.  Obviously, he wasn’t prudent.
Some of our problems in life could be avoided if we would just use a little common sense or if we would listen to others who have “been there” or to experts who have studied the problem.  The man in John 5 who had an infirmity for 38 years that kept him from walking must have been paralyzed because of something that he could have avoided.  I believe the Lord was calling something he had done 38 years before sin when He said, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”  The Lord healed him in spite of his foolishness but admonished him not to do whatever he had done again or he might have a worse result.  Now I know that sometimes our sicknesses and illnesses are genetic and we bear no personal fault for them.  That was the case with blind man in John 9.  But I don’t think that was the case with the sick man in John 5.  I wonder if the man refrained from whatever “sin” had caused his original infirmity after being healed.
Pharaoh was not prudent when he would not let the Israelites go when Moses was displaying the power and reality of the God of the Jews.  Ten times over he saw judgment come but when the event was over, God hardened his heart and he made the same foolish decision over and over again.  Now notice that God did not harden his heart until after he had publicly said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go (Exodus 5:2 NKJV).”  It was the heart of a rebellious unbeliever that God was hardening.  Pharaoh had rejected the Lord and so the Lord was rejecting him.  But somehow it seems to me that at some point he should have realized that he was losing this battle.  He should have cared enough for his people and his country to quit throwing good money after bad.  But of course he wanted to believe he was god and Jehovah had to show him that he was not.  Pharaoh must not have believed that Jehovah was doing the judging and after every event, he always went back to his old way of thinking even to the point of drowning his soldiers in the Red Sea.  
Samson was not prudent.  When Delilah kept asking Samson for the source of his strength, he kept telling her fairy tales but each time he told her a lie about what gave him his strength, she told the Philistines and the Philistines tested what he had said.  Of course he didn’t lose his strength until his hair was cut.  But why did he keep allowing Delilah to tell the Philistines where he obtained his strength since they were always lying in wait to see if they could subdue him.  Delilah must have been a raving beauty and Samson seems to have been a very foolish man.  Why love a woman that is not loyal to you?  Obviously Samson didn’t really believe He got his strength from God and that his long hair was the source of his strength.  It was the outward testimony that others could see that he was a Nazirite (or dedicated to God).  I do believe Samson finally believed God after his eyes had been put out and he was imprisoned.  But until he was blinded physically, he was not able to see spiritually.  
Why is it so hard for us to be prudent?  God speaks to us through sickness and death and yet we ignore his warnings about the need to be prepared when we die.  We know that we have certain habits that we should deal with, but for those of us that are overweight, it seems that one more piece of cake isn’t going to make a difference in our long term health.  But of course when we continue taking that “one piece,” in time we do reap the consequences.  One more cigarette.  One more time ignoring the speed limit on the roads.  One more time ignoring the need to avoid an impulse purchase in order to make the rent payment.  We all know that we often make bad decisions for bad reasons.  But one place we should not make a bad decision is when it comes to believing God and preparing for the day of our death if the rapture does not occur first.
The man in John 5 was told, “Sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you.”  The worst thing that could come would be to die without having one’s sins forgiven.  We all know we make a lot of bad decisions that have practical consequences.  Let us not turn away from God just because death does not seem to be imminent.  The prudent person foresees evil and hides himself (or avoids it).  The prudent person prepares for the day of his or her death.
Bruce Collins
Meditation for the weeks of January 22 and 29, 2023

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