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False Prudence (Isaiah 5:18-23)

Introductory Thoughts

This passage provides a list of grievous sins in the eyes of the Lord. It speaks of those who call evil good, and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). It speaks of the wickedness of those who justify the wicked for reward (Isaiah 5:23), and pronounces a woe upon those who mingle and drink strong drink (Isaiah 5:22). By all appearances, this is a list of wicked and vile sins. Yet, it is in the midst of this list that we find a woe declared against “them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight” (Isaiah 5:21). As with everything in this world, there is a true prudence and there is a counterfeit. The Bible warns us to make sure our prudence is not just in our “own sight,” but is true in a scriptural sense.

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): Naaman was a famous leper. Elisha sent a messenger to tell him to wash in the Jordan River seven times to be healed. Naaman became angry and wanted to wash in a cleaner river. He thought he knew better than God, but God always knows best.
  • (For everyone): Where is the best place to find evidence confirming that we indeed have prudence? To what authority can you cling for proof that you have genuine prudence?
  • Do you think it is wise to claim prudence when you lack it? Are you willing to repent if you have been deceived? Are you willing to seek the Lord for true prudence?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Ask the Lord to help you see the reality of your prudence.
  • Ask God to help you see the wickedness of a lack of prudence.


Higher Ground