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Proverbs 9

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Proverbs 9

Post  Admin on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:27 am

Whenever God inspires man to talk about true Wisdom, we do well to take mind.

[The Way of Wisdom]
[9:1] Wisdom has built her house;
she has hewn her seven pillars.

Both Wisdom and Folly will be courting your attention, inviting you into the places they have built. Neither Wisdom nor Folly is a small matter, they are described as structures, as if to say that it takes time to become Wise or Foolish. Wisdom's house has 7 pillars. It is large and built with a symbolically significant 7 pillars. Revelation speaks to 7 churches and in so doing speaks to the entire Church. Wisdom's house is not empty.

[2] She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine;
she has also set her table.

Wisdom has been making ready for her guests. Her house is not a secluded estate hidden from view and surrounded by an electric fence. She has a big house because she wants much company. She wants her company well fed, relaxed, and conversant. It is a Holy Meal, eating with Wisdom.

[3] She has sent out her young women to call
from the highest places in the town,

[4] “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
To him who lacks sense she says,

[5] “Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.

[6] Leave your simple ways,[f1] and live,
and walk in the way of insight.”

Wisdom does not sit idly waiting for the poor children of this foolish world to stumble in by accident. Wisdom pursues. Wisdom does not merely build the house and prepare the feast and set the table, only to sit idly with her precious servants while the world walks by hungry, thirsty, quiet, ignored, dirty...

Wisdom sends her beautiful family out from "home base". She has equipped them with a message. They are to broadcast their report that Wisdom has already made all things perfectly for all people. Wisdom strongly desires a full table of guests and yet always has room for another and another.

This message is so clear. Leave behind your isolation. Receive what Wisdom has prepared for you. This is WISDOM we are talking about, and when she mixes wine... you drink it.

[7] Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.

[8] Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;

Wisdom's messengers are not told to win arguments. They are to broadcast Good News, a Holy Word of fellowship, a Meal, and insight. But it is a message that will be scoffed at and treated wickedly. Perhaps the messengers themselves will even be treated wickedly and scoffed at.

But they are instructed. Don't argue.

How easy it is to think of Jesus as he is scoffed at and treated wickedly. He is wise not to argue. While you may marvel at His self-control, He is deeply rooted in the same Wisdom who has called you to self-control.

We all know those people with whom we hate to argue. They don't listen well. They are not open to reason. They are stuck in the fear that believes a lie. They are cruel. They are wicked with their words towards you. They lead you to anger, spite... they can lead you to hatred. They are often wrong and cannot will-not admit it. Don't argue with them.

Don't argue with them because, says Wisdom, you will end up hurting. Despite being "right", you will only find injury and abuse there. Speak your message in love, in truth, and in brief. Then shut up. Let them scoff. Their wickedness will only hurt you worse if you argue. Wisdom will deal with them another day. (But...)

reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
[9] Give instruction[f2] to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

Fortunately, we all have friends too. Whether it is a spouse, sibling, parent, child, or friend, Wisdom has not abandoned you entirely to the foolish. You have friends. You have listeners. You are not alone, ever, in the company of Wisdom.

And just as important, note this: you have something to say. No one is without value in Wisdom's house. Your opinion counts. Your perspective is unique and cherished, you are capable of blessing someone else. So take courage, and talk to someone.

[10] The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

Just so we are all clear, God seems to say, I am not talking about philosophical, scientific, academic, psychological, or worldly wisdom. No.

This "house" of "Wisdom" is Yahweh, God known by name, the Holy One, ultimately: Jesus. Wisdom's house is the church as she worships, fears, loves, and partakes of Jesus Christ.

In other words, if you ever feel at a loss for words yet it feels like something must be said... Wisdom speaks of Christ.

[11] For by me your days will be multiplied,
and years will be added to your life.

[12] If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

Indeed this is not merely the wisdom of knowing things, this Wisdom brings abundant life - eternal life.

The emphasis in verse 12 is a reminder that wisdom which is not in service of God is wisdom that leads no where eternal. It serves only temporary purposes. And Godless wisdom is no different in the eyes of eternity than wicked scoffing.

This is not to say that philosophy, science, etc. are not wonderful. God inspires wisdom, though, and where He does not the result is decidedly less Holy.

[The Way of Folly]
[13] The woman Folly is loud;
she is seductive
[f3] and knows nothing.

I love the image here of a brash, foulmouthed, bar-hag of a broad who knows how to wait for "last call" to pick from among those sodden fools whose beer goggles lead them to follow her home. OK, overkill perhaps, and hardly what the author had in mind.

But Folly is loud. And she seduces. And none of it leads anyone anywhere but into deep trouble.

[14] She sits at the door of her house;
she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,

[15] calling to those who pass by,
who are going straight on their way,

[16] “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
And to him who lacks sense she says,

[17] “Stolen water is sweet,
and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

We are reminded here of Psalm 1. There also we learn that in the company of wicked scoffers there is much idle sitting. Folly is not industrious in righteousness. Scoffing is portrayed as lazy behaviour taking place from a self-appointed judgment seat. Psalm 1 warns you to steer clear of scoffers. Proverbs 9 is warning you not to be one yourself.

Notice how inviting Folly can be. But it's a come-on. There is nothing sweet about stolen water. There is nothing pleasant about isolation, loneliness, about eating meals forever alone. The meal served by Folly is nothing like the Holy Feast of Wisdom. This is water and bread, stolen from others and glommed down in fear. I picture the hyena scrabbling for scraps before the lion returns to her kill. Nervous. Rushed. Undiscerning. Swallowing whole. Awful.

[18] But he does not know that the dead[f4] are there,
that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

The "he" is the simple one who is being called out to by Folly (the same person for whom Wisdom has made so much loving preparation and pursuit). He is blind to the death in Folly. He is "hell-bent", and blind. Folly devours such people.

In the end, you are left with compassion for those who have been consumed by Folly. Yes they often hurt you. They ignore your gifts. They say cruel baseless things to you especially at those times you are trying most to be patient and loving. Scoffers have radar for espionage, and they will kill Godly momentum with foolish words. And it hurts.

But not only are you to avoid argumentation with such as these, you are left with the broken heart of God. These people are ignorant of the death they deal with their dictates.

In the company of Wisdom, you have a Holy Word. You have experienced the fellowship with God that comes with sharing His Meal. You have a mission - to speak a simple, clear message to the scoffer and wise one alike: "Jesus loves you and me the same." There is no argument there. There is no debating he-said, she-said, you-did, you-didn't, foolishness. There is only this hope of fellowship that cannot be found in any other house but Wisdom.
(Proverbs 9 ESV)

Reference: Devotional Meditation on Proverbs 9

[1] 9:6 Or Leave the company of the simple
[2] 9:9 Hebrew: lacks instruction
[3] 9:13 Or full of simpleness
[4] 9:18 Hebrew: Rephaim


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