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Bible verses about Discretion
(From Forerunner Commentary)

2 Samuel 15:13-14

The background of these verses is David's flight from Absalom. Absalom was determined to become king, so he began undermining David through deceitful and worldly-wise ways: by using psychology, by giving favorable judgments to garner support. In so doing, he began to persuade people to follow him. It took him four years of undermining of his father to get a large enough following to move to overthrow him. He was successful to a point.

Proverbs 28:1 says that the wicked flee when no one pursues. God would certainly not call David a wicked man. He went through periods when he was far from God. Here, he fled for his life into the wilderness east of Jordan. Why did he flee? Wisdom dictated that David was in no position to defend the city: He was outnumbered and "outgunned." Absalom, by his strategy, had gained the upper hand, so David decided that it was better to have freedom of movement in an open place than it was to be trapped in a city, where he would be subject to siege.

So he—like Jesus later on—decided that discretion is the better part of valor. Was David a coward? He was a mighty man of valor, a great man in the eyes of God, and a winner of many military victories. It was a proverb in Israel that "David [has slain] his ten thousands" (I Samuel 18:7; 21:11; 29:5). None would dare call David a coward! At the time, flight was the wisest move; his action was guided by wisdom, not cowardice. Beyond this, David, who usually had his spiritual wits about him, did not presume to discount God's authority to do as He pleased as the real Sovereign of Israel.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Place of Safety? (Part 2)


 

Proverbs 1:1-7

The ancient Hebrews associated wisdom with our modern term “skill,” even though “skill” is not a direct translation of the Hebrew term. “Skill” implies what wisdom is in actual practice: excellence in quality or expertise in the practice of one's occupation, craft, or art. People may acquire many skills in life, but the Bible focuses on human life and its God-given purpose. Therefore, a practical definition of biblical wisdom is “skill in living according to God's way of life.”

To refine it further, biblical wisdom is unique to those truly in a relationship with God. That biblical wisdom is a gift of God reinforces this fact, and according to James 1:1-8, we should ask for it and He will give it. James cautions that we must be patient because God gives it through the experiences of living within a relationship with God. Living requires time, and in some cases, a great deal of time because we are often slow to learn. God gives wisdom for us to make the best practical use of all the other gifts He gives, enabling us to glorify Him by our lives. As it is used, it displays a host of characteristics similar to the fruit of the Spirit (see James 3:17-18).

Proverbs 1:1-7 helps to clarify wisdom by showing that it consists of such other godly characteristics as knowledge of God Himself, the fear of God, understanding, discernment, discretion, prudence, justice, judgment, equity, etc., all of which, melded together and used, produce a skill in living that—this is important—is in alignment with God's purpose and way of life.

Undoubtedly, some people are worldly-wise. However, biblical wisdom and worldly wisdom are not the same skillset. Biblical wisdom contains those spiritual qualities that are in alignment with and support God's purposes. Though wisdom may provide a measure of worldly success, that is not its primary purpose.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Eight): Death


 

Proverbs 22:3

Proverbs 22:3 poses an intriguing question. This maxim gives every appearance of involving a moral choice. Could it also involve the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum? To produce the good result, which came first, the prudence or the vision? In light of the cause-and-effect principle gleaned from Proverbs 29:18, from the Bible's point of view, God first gives revelation (true vision), and prudence is vision's fruit. Vision motivates carefulness in conducting our affairs.

Prudence means "the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason; sagacity or shrewdness in the management of one's affairs; marked by circumspection, discreet." In other words, it enables us to exercise more control over the direction of our lives. It is a much-desired quality. Vision gives us a sensibility or carefulness that enables us to avoid dangerous pitfalls. The foolish are unwary and uncritical and naively blunder into trouble—even death. A major task of life is to learn what to respect highly. The Bible shows that most fear the wrong things. Above all, we should fear God, but most fear the world and other people.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Two): Vision


 

Matthew 4:12-14

At first glance, one might think Jesus moved out of the area because He wanted to fulfill the prophecy that His preaching would begin in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali. That works until one understands that the word "departed" means "to withdraw," which gives it a different connotation. The beginning of verse 12 tells why He withdrew: because He heard that John had been put in prison. John had been imprisoned due to persecution, and in Jesus' estimation, it could have enveloped His ministry too. Jesus thus accomplished two things at one time by withdrawing: He left the area to avoid persecution and fulfilled the prophecy of His ministry commencing in the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Place of Safety? (Part 2)


 

2 Timothy 1:6-7

According to Strong's Concordance, the final word of verse 7 is a noun meaning "discipline" or "self-control." Most modern translations render it as "self-control," but "sensible," "sobriety," "self-discipline," "self-restraint," "wise discretion," and "sound judgment" are also used.

God gives His Spirit to us to begin the spiritual creation that will bring us into His very image. Here, Paul ranks self-control right beside seemingly more "important" attributes of our Creator, such as courage, power, and love. Remember, however, that the "fruit" of God's Spirit is written in the singular; it is one fruit, a balanced package needed to make a son of God whole.

These verses tell us what kind of men God is creating. Men of courage, power, and love - and men who are self-governing, sensible, sober, restrained, and disciplined in their manner of life. These qualities are products of God's Spirit in us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control


 

Titus 2:1-6

These instructions are an overall exhortation for the various age groups to hold to a sense of duty with regard to their conduct. But none of the instructions given here should be ignored simply because they are not addressed directly to an individual's sex or age group. For example, Paul says "girls should be discreet and modest." Does this mean, then, because it is addressed to girls that a fellow may be as indiscreet and immodest as he wants because he is male? Simply because the fellows are not mentioned does not excuse them from being discreet and modest as well. In an overall sense, God is telling all of us—parents, young people, male, female—to be sane, sober-thinking, serious about our responsibilities, exercising self-control, curbing our passions, and aiming for self-mastery.

There is a proverb that teaches: "He that rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." Ruling one's spirit involves self-discipline. Self-discipline is willing yourself to do the right, regardless of feelings. It may not be glamorous, but it is the stuff of life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sanctification and the Teens


 

 




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