Proverbs 12:23 ESV
A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims folly.
Why does Proverbs tell us that prudent people conceal knowledge? Such concealment seems dishonest, almost; shouldn’t they be forthright in sharing what they know?
Lying is wrong. We all know this. Concealing knowledge, though, is not lying. Not all knowledge is fit to be spread; not all knowledge is good. We guard even reasonably mature children from cuss words, sexual matters, and the more ingenious forms of war crimes for a reason. The prudent parent, in these cases, limits what his or her child learns because to learn about these things, especially at such a young age, would not be good for them.
Knowledge exists, however, which it is not good for even mature adults to know, which is dangerous and only to be approached with the greatest of care and the greatest of reasons. I’m speaking specifically of the occult. Deuteronomy 18:10 places divination on a level with infant sacrifice, with laying a child on a red-hot statue and letting him roast to death, as was the custom in Canaan: “There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer.” Rituals which call upon the demonic have real power, as Genesis 44:15 and the story of Pharoah’s sorcerers show, but they are evil, abominations (Exodus 7:12, 22:18). When Jehu divides the sins of Jezebel into “whorings” and “sorceries” in 2 Kings 9:22, he isn’t dividing them into small and large; sorcery is legitimately a sin of gravity on par with obscene sexual immorality, the precise sin God compares Israel’s rebellion and idolatry to countless times (1 Samuel 15:23; Exodus 34:15).
Why am I establishing this foundation regarding sorcery? It’s because knowledge of the occult is dangerous knowledge. God calls us to think upon what is honorable, just, pure, lovable, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy; God calls us to think upon these things and not their inverse (Philippians 4:8). Knowledge of the demonic is an evil thing which tempts man with the promise of power or happiness to his own demise. It’s rather like drugs- once you know what drugs feel like, it can be incredibly hard to stop yourself from going back to learn more. Just like drugs, it’s usually more prudent never to partake in order to avoid the full power of the temptation.
Therefore, the prudent man conceals from himself and from others such knowledge. This prudence, though, is only a part of what the proverb addresses. The prudent man has tact. Proverbs 29:20 holds even the fool above the man of hasty words. Speech should be, like art, good, true, and beautiful. That is to say, we should speak with good motives and intent; we should speak the truth alone, no more and no less; we should speak in such a way as is spiritually and ultimately beneficial to both speaker and listener. Tact is the art of ensuring that speech conforms to these three, especially the third (beauty) and the first (goodness).
The fool has a very high opinion of himself and of his wisdom. In 1 Samuel 15, referenced above, Saul rejects God’s word, choosing to spare the livestock (apparently for the purpose of sacrifice), presuming that his wisdom is greater than God’s, presuming that he knows better. Because the fool, like Saul, has a very high opinion of his own wisdom, thinking it at least a little bit more authoritative than God’s wisdom, he goes around spewing out his folly, sharing his ‘wisdom’ with all who can hear, for his own glory or for some other worldly reason, such as ideological passion.
God has given to His people so much good to know and to teach; He has given to us the responsibility to learn and teach this knowledge to the world and to our children and to our children’s children (Matthew 28:16-20; Deuteronomy 6:20-25). With wisdom comes an understanding of that knowledge, of how to apply it to life and to the further glorification of God. Let us therefore cultivate wisdom, seeking Him and studying His word that we might be not as the fool but be prudent, concealing that which ought to be hidden and proclaiming to all the Gospel of Christ for the sanctification of the world.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.