The Servant's Prudence

Isaiah 52:13

The Golden Passional of the Old Testament - The Servant's Prudence

"Behold My Servant shall deal prudently" (Isa 52:13)

In this introductory stanza to the Golden Passional we have God's "Ecce Homo." Let us never forget that this was a prophecy uttered many years before Bethlehem and Calvary. Have you ever thought of the goodness of the Father in not only prophesying of the sufferings of Christ, but also of the glory that was to follow? "He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high." These are expressions confined by Isaiah to the Godhead (consult Isa 6:1; Isa 57:15). Therefore we here not only have prosperity foretold, but much more than that: surely this means nothing less than the exaltation and enthronement of Deity. Unlike mere mortal and finite men, the Man of Sorrows knew exactly all that awaited Him-the betrayal, the failure of His followers, the cruel scourgings, and the awful death. But how often, as He reflected on all these sad accompaniments of His death, His heart must have been cheered by this bright and attractive forecast.

That prosperity should follow prudence is to be expected. "My Servant shall deal prudently-He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high." Sometimes prudence fails in man, but never in the Man Jesus Christ.

I. THE NATURE OF HIS PRUDENCE. What is prudence? Prudence and wisdom are not one and the same thing. "Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent"-here they are referred to as separate and distinct, though closely related. Prudence is wisdom in action. The prudent are not only the possessors of wisdom. They are those who use that wisdom wisely and well. It is possible to be wise and yet not prudent. In other words, for wisdom to dwell alone. But prudence always dwells with wisdom, as is pointed out in Pro 8:12 : "I, wisdom, dwell with prudence." Prudence and wisdom are twin sisters.

II. THE FACT OF HIS PRUDENCE. Our Blessed Lord Jesus was greater in wisdom and prudence than Solomon. Indeed He was, and is, the source of all wisdom and prudence. The greatest and grandest example is found in Him. This declaration in the Golden Passional is, of course, a prophecy. His own life is its fulfilment.

III. THE EXERCISE OF HIS PRUDENCE. A very devoted and eminent preacher of the Gospel of our own time has pointed out how our Lord so wonderfully exercised prudence in His life, and manifested it also in His death.

1. In Not Prematurely Surrendering His Life. Time and again His enemies sought to slay Him, but our Lord and Saviour took every precaution. Till He knew His work was done He would not allow His life to be squandered,

2. His Insight into Character. All who came into touch with Him became conscious of the fact that He knew them through and through, better than they knew themselves. They were aware, time and again, of the fact that He could read their thoughts; and He acted toward all with unerring wisdom.

3. In the Adroitness of His Replies. Christian workers cannot do better as a preparation for missionary work, whether at home or abroad, than to study our Lord's methods with individuals. Both as a preacher and as a teacher He manifested amazing skill-was calm, never flurried, had always an apt reply, ever hitting the nail on the head. Over and over again we simply marvel at His replies.

4. In His Concessions to the Limitations of His Hearers. That He was the All-Wise One, and the All-Knowing One, possessing and exercising in His human life all the attributes of Deity is a fact, yet He never talked or preached above the heads of His hearers. As as example of this He stooped to parabolic teaching, conveying the most abstruse thoughts in simple language. Hence "The common people heard Him gladly," as well as the learned scholars of His time. Many a public teacher is destroyed through lack of prudence.

5. In His Encouragement of all Good Living and Well-intentioned Folk. Time and again, in dealing with individuals, He recognised and complimented them where He could. As for example: "Thou art not far from the kingdom." How encouraging this must have been. "Ye search the Scriptures" (R.V.). There He admitted their diligence in ascertaining the mind and will of God in the written Word.

6. In His Work of Salvation. He ever recognised that man's greatest need is not teaching, but disposition, not merely a code of morals, but a clean heart. Nicodemus right away opened the interview by acknowledging our Lord Jesus as a peerless teacher, assuming that all that was required for the regeneration of mankind was better teaching, but this our Lord at once countered by a firm declaration that man's chief need was a new life. "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

7. In His Wondrous Scheme of Redemption. Study Eph 1:8. It is in the redemptive work of our Lord that we have the greatest example of His prudence. So marvellous is the scheme that Satan with all his skill has never yet been able to find fault with it, and we may add, he never will. Every Divine attribute is in perfect and harmonious operation in this wondrous plan of salvation. There at the Cross mercy and truth met together, there, righteousness and peace kissed each other.

1. Exalted to the highest pitch of honour. Study Eph 1:21.

2. Extolled. Study Php 2:9-11.

3. Glorified.

V. THE EXAMPLE OF HIS PRUDENCE. These records of His wonderful prudence are given to us not merely for our admiration, but also for our emulation Heavenly wisdom is exceedingly practical, as is pointed out in Jam 3:17. Prudence is much to be coveted and desired in our daily lives and service, and "who is sufficient for these things?" Christ is. The marvel of our redemption is that not only did our Lord Jesus suffer on the Cross in our stead, but after we have accepted that great fact and received Him, He comes to dwell within us and to live out His own wondrous life. The Prudent One will be prudence to us. Oh, that He might fill us with His own gracious presence!

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