Moving right along with our Proverbs study, we are diving into chapter 9. There is so much in this chapter that is relatable and practical to our everyday living. Proverbs 9 contrasts the ways of wisdom with the ways of foolishness. We are given good guidelines to help us see the differences in the two paths. In these verses “wisdom” and “foolishness” are given human characteristics so we can easily understand them and what they can do for us.
Proverbs 9 (TPT) begins with these words about wisdom saying wisdom is (3) “inviting everyone to come and eat until they’re full.” This is a simple sentence and one you might not think holds much meaning, but think about inviting people into your space. There is something about this simple act that breathes confidence. It takes confidence to be an “inviter.” “Inviter” might not be a real word, but, for today, it means the one who does the inviting. Wisdom is a confident inviter. Think about that. If I invite someone into my home I have to feel confident that I can receive them and give them something meaningful to do in the time they are in my house. I want my house to be clean and the food to be good and the entertainment is valuable. Wisdom offers everyone something of value. It is confident in what it offers. When you hang out with wisdom, you can be confident that you have something valuable surrounding you.
I love how it says everyone can eat “until they’re full” in this house of wisdom. One of the things I always think about when I throw a party is what food I am going to serve and how much food I need so everyone is full. My go-to is pancakes with toppings like chocolate chips, blueberries, etc. I get so excited and feel quite confident in my menu because I know I have something to offer my friends that is good, fun, and filling. Plus, I know they can eat until they are full because I have prepared well. That confident feeling I have when I know I have plenty of chocolate chip pancakes is the some confident feeling I should have when I think about the wisdom God offers me.
Verses 4-6 says, “Whoever wants to know me and receive my wisdom, come and dine at my table and drink of my wine. Lay aside your simple thoughts and leave your paths behind. Agree with my ways, live in my truth, and righteousness you will find.”
Notice again the confidence spirit wisdom has as it calls for people to come and lay aside the simple thoughts they have had, because wisdom has something better to offer. And the invitation is open to whoever wants to come.
Verse 10 tells us, “The starting point for acquiring wisdom is to be consumed with awe as you worship Jehovah-God.” Other versions of the Bible say, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Either way it is clear that fearing God, being consumed in awe and wonder for Him and His ways, is the beginning point to being wise.
Lastly, in verse 12, “So it is to your advantage to be wise. But to ignore the counsel of wisdom is to invite trouble into your life.” This puts it pretty plan to us–wisdom is a wildly huge advantage in your life. Take its invitation! Don’t let it pass you by.
Now, let’s look at the foolish ways. For the most part, I think foolishness and the trouble it causes is pretty obvious. If I am being real with you, 99.9% of the foolish things I have done were done knowing it was not a smart idea. Like all the signs pointed to it being a bad idea, but I went ahead and did the foolish thing.
One time a friend and I thought it would be super cool to stay in a rental cabin in the mountains in the middle of nowhere. We thought we were being adventurous. While it sounded fun, there was a ring of crazy to the idea. Well, we proceeded to go to this cabin at 10:00 at night. I had spoken at an event so we couldn’t go any earlier. The drive up was sketchy, but we continued on!
When we got in the cabin there was pictures of bears all over the walls; there were bear blankets, bear lamp shades, bear wallpaper, and, for crying out loud, I think there were bear shower curtains. Everywhere we looked there were signs telling us there might be a bear in the area, still we decided to stay. Sure enough at 3:00 a.m. we both woke up to a BEAR scratching and growling on the outside of the cabin! Like a good pastor, I’m just going to ask someone to say, “THE SIGNS OF FOOLISHNESS ARE LOUD!”
Remember Proverbs gives human characteristics so we can understand the word better. One translations describes foolishness as a woman named Folly who is ignorant and doesn’t even know she is ignorant. Another translation says the woman folly is LOUD. Well, foolishness can definitely be loud, but we just push ahead because it also sounds fun. Right?
Let’s look at the TPT versions together because it really explains itself so well.
There is a spirit named Foolish, who is boisterous and brash; she’s seductive and restless. And there she sits at the gateway to the high places, on her throne overlooking the city. She preaches to all who walk by her who are clueless as to what is happening.
“Come home with me.” She invites those who are easily led astray, saying,
“Illicit sex is the best sex of all. Our secret affair will be sweeter than all others.”
Little do they know when they answer her call that she dwells among the spirits of the dead,
and all her guests soon become citizens of hell!
Like my fun adventure to the woods, foolishness calls us in with things that sound fun, good and pleasing, but notice that only those who are clueless listen to her foolish ways. If I would have listened to the wisdom that was trying to warn me, I probably would have turned around that night.
Wisdom and foolishness both offers sign. When we are faced with life choices, if we would just stop for a second to open our eyes so we can see the signs and let our ears to hear what the invitation is really saying, then we will be able to discern whether it is wisdom or foolishness knocking at our door.
Here are some things you can ask yourself:
When you walk into the door, will you leave full or will you face a bear scratching at your door?
“What did the signs say?”
“Am I really paying attention or am I just looking for fun?”
Keep your focus on the Lord and the path to wisdom will open up to you.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!