Proverbs 9:1-6 NASB
Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine;
She has also set her table;
She has sent out her maidens, she calls
From the tops of the heights of the city:
“Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!”
To him who lacks understanding she says,
“Come, eat of my food
And drink of the wine I have mixed.
“Forsake your folly and live,
And proceed in the way of understanding.”
Wisdom is personified here as a woman getting her house ready for guests. She is making all the necessary preparations to receive guests into her home in order that she might impart to them some godly wisdom and understanding. She is readying her home and her dining table so that she might feed her guests with the truth of God’s Word, which will bring the breath of God into their lives, if they will listen and will heed the counsel.
So, what is wisdom? It is applied knowledge. It is taking what we know intellectually, that is healthful for our minds, bodies and souls, and it is bringing it home to our hearts. It is doing the good that we know we ought to do instead of just pontificating the truths we know while we live just the opposite. It is choosing the good over the bad. And, it is using good sense instead of going out and doing what is foolish and what is harmful.
So, if we are to be like this woman, and we are to be wise, first of all we should heed God’s counsel, which is written down for us in His Word. Then, we should prepare ourselves spiritually, not only to live the lives which God has called us to live, but to share with others how they can walk in the fear of the Lord, too, and how they can be wise by heeding his instructions to us.
But, notice with me that she is not calling out to those who are already wise, but to those who lack wisdom and understanding. She is calling out to the immature who are still fleshly, at least in some ways. She is calling out to the foolish who are walking in the ways of the world instead of in the ways of God. And, she is calling them to receive her counsel (godly wisdom), and she is calling them to forsake their folly (their sinful ways), and to walk in the ways of God, and they will live. And, we should be doing this, too.
Proverbs 9:7-9 NASB
He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself,
And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you,
Reprove a wise man and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser,
Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.
As a general rule, I believe the counsel here is wise. It is better for us to correct or reprove those who will honor us and our wise counsel. For, they will become wiser, and they will increase in learning, but not just in head knowledge. They will truly learn from our godly and biblical counsel. It, too, will be reflected in their attitudes and behaviors that they took our counsel to heart, and that their lives were changed as a result.
But this is not to say that this is God’s way all the time. For, God sent his prophets of old to his rebellious people to call them to repentance, and they often mocked the prophets and scorned their counsel and they treated them badly, and not with honor and respect.
The people went on in their ungodly behavior despite the prophets’ warnings, and despite their rebukes, and despite their calls for repentance. And, this went on for many years before God finally judged his people, as he had promised he would do.
“But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious” (Ezekiel 2:7).
“They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 1:19).
“O Lord, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me” (Jeremiah 20:7).
“I have become a laughingstock to all my people, Their mocking song all the day” (Lamentations 3:14).
As well, our Lord Jesus spoke words of correction and rebuke, too, to those who mocked him, who insulted him, who hated him, who chastised him regularly, who tried often to trip him up so that they could discredit him, and who eventually put him to death on a cross, although he had done no wrong.
“And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’” (Matthew 27:29).
So, the rule of thumb, I believe, is that we should obey God and his direction for our lives. If he says speak, we speak, no matter the outcome. We are not to shy away ever from sharing the truth of the gospel with people just because they might insult us, mock us, hate us and abuse us in return.
If God says “Don’t be afraid of what they will do to you,” then we have to not fear their insults and their mockery or their hatred or rejection, but we must go to whomever he sends us and say whatever he commands us to say.
Proverbs 9:10-12 NASB
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you.
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
And if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
If we want to be wise, we must walk in the fear of the Lord. We must heed his counsel, and do what he says. We must honor him above all else, and treat him with the respect he so deserves. We must worship him with our very lives, giving our lives to him, for his service, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but now walking in holiness, living lives which are pleasing and acceptable to God (See Romans 12:1-2; Eph. 4:17-24).
Then, we can begin to be wise, and we can gain wisdom and understanding, and apply the truths of God’s Word to our daily lives. For, if we continue in our sinful ways, ignoring the Spirit’s promptings, doing what we know is wrong and ungodly and unholy, it will not go well for us.
For, if we retain living to the flesh as our pattern for daily living, we will not have the hope of eternal life with God, for we will reap what we sow. If we are trying to live in both worlds, i.e. if we are trying to live to please God part of the time while we hold on to certain sins in order to keep gratifying our flesh, we will not be at peace. We will not have the joy of the Lord. And, we will never move forward in our relationships with God/Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 9:13-18 NASB
The woman of folly is boisterous,
She is naive and knows nothing.
She sits at the doorway of her house,
On a seat by the high places of the city,
Calling to those who pass by,
Who are making their paths straight:
“Whoever is naive, let him turn in here,”
And to him who lacks understanding she says,
“Stolen water is sweet;
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
Here folly is personified, as was wisdom. And, interestingly enough, she is calling out to those who are “making their paths straight.”
She doesn’t have to call out to those who are already in her house, for they are already there. She wants to entrap those who have made the decision to walk the straight and narrow, who have chosen the path of righteousness, and so she uses trickery and deception and manipulation to try to get Christians to go her way instead of to go the way of God. She is good at what she does, and she can be very persuasive.
What she tries to do is lead those astray who have chosen to follow Jesus with their lives. So, she lies to them. She tells them that they can follow Jesus and still live to the flesh at the same time, and that they still have heaven guaranteed them when they die.
She tells them that Jesus paid the penalty for their sin, so they can continue in their sin, in their sinful addictions, without guilt, and without any need to change. She convinces them that God’s grace covers all future sins and so it doesn’t matter how much they sin, for it is all paid for, so they can live how they want. And, she convinces them that “belief” in Jesus Christ is merely an acknowledgment of who he is or an acceptance of his sacrifice for sin.
And, she preys on those whose faith is weak, or who are just beginning to believe in Jesus, and those who are contemplating faith in Jesus Christ, too. For, if she can catch them in her net before they gain wisdom and understanding, then she feels as though she has them for life, and that she has been victorious.
But, the unsuspecting new believer, or the one who is considering faith in Jesus Christ, or the immature Christian who has not yet grown past infanthood will not yet have the wisdom and discernment needed to separate truth from fiction unless they are in tune with the Holy Spirit’s voice. And, so they may easily fall into her trap, because they don’t realize that those who live in her house are still dead in their sins and that they are bound for hell, not for heaven.
So, we need to understand here that Jesus Christ died on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, and not just to give us the hope of heaven when we die, but he died and he rose again that we might die to sin and live with him to righteousness. He died to transform our lives away from living to sin to walking with him in his holiness and righteousness. For, if we live according to our flesh, we will die in our sins, and we don’t have heaven guaranteed.
So, please know the truth, and follow the truth (wisdom), and you will live. Don’t get trapped by “folly” and end up losing your life for eternity.
An Original Work / October 14, 2011
Softly He speaks gently to us,
Giving us His messages, and
He waits patiently for us to
Respond to His words.
Will you listen to Him speaking?
Will you waken from your sleeping?
He is calling; hear Him whisper
His truth unto you.
Jesus speaks His words unto us,
So that He might live out through us,
Giving light to all who need Him,
So they can obey.
He gave His life to die for us,
So that from sin He would free us
To walk humbly in obedience
Unto Him each day.
Hear the trumpet clearly calling.
He died to keep us from falling.
Won’t you listen; heed His call to
Turn to Him today?
Hasten to Him calling to you.
Turn from sin and follow Jesus.
He loves you so much He gave you
Wednesday, October 24, 2018