Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Beware the Way of Folly
Every morning, Miss Serenity reads Proverbs out loud to me. She reads the Proverb that corresponds with that day of the month, Proverbs 1 on the first day of the month, Proverbs 2 on the second day and so on. A couple of months ago, I was listening to her read and a phrase caught my attention. Serenity was reading Proverbs 9 and the phrase that gave me pause for thought was "She (wisdom) cries out from the highest places in city". That phrase alone was interesting, however, when it was combined with a verse a little bit down the page, it really made me think. "For she (folly) sits at the door of her house, on a seat by the highest places of the city". Interesting, huh?
To put the verses in context, Proverbs 9 is talking about the way of Wisdom and the way of Folly. Never before had I seen how very much Wisdom and Folly resemble one another - they are nearly indistinguishable to the untrained eye! In Proverbs 9:3 it says, "She (wisdom) cries out from the highest places of the city, 'Whoever is simple, let him turn in here'! As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, 'Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed'". But, just to muddy the waters, Proverbs 9:14 says, "For she (folly, or a foolish woman) sits at the door of her house, on a seat by the highest places of the city, to call to those who pass by, who go straight on their way; 'Whoever is simple, let him turn in here'. And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, 'Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant'". Can you believe that? The wording is almost exactly the same!
Not only are Wisdom and Folly calling from the highest place in the city, but they have also both prepared for the simple. In Proverbs 7, the "crafty harlot" says "I have spread my bed with tapestry, colored coverings of Egyptian linen. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. And back in Proverbs 9, it says Wisdom has "Built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars; She has slaughtered her meat, She has mixed her wine, She has also furnished her table". Both Wisdom and Folly prepare (have you noticed they are both presented as women?), yet their preparations yield much different fruits. Whereas those who embrace Wisdom will "Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding" - Proverbs 9:6; those who follow Folly are told "He does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell" -Proverbs 9:18.
What really struck me about these passages is that Wisdom and Folly are almost indiscernible. Only if you're actively pursuing wisdom, will you be able to distinguish the differences between the two. Multiple times every day we willingly choose between Wisdom and Folly, both of whom have prepared for our arrival. It is up to us to seek Wisdom and walk in the way of understanding rather than follow Folly's guests into the depths of hell.
In every aspect of our lives we will find Wisdom and Folly sitting side by side at the highest points of the city. We hear them calling from our town halls and our state capitols. We hear them calling from Washington D.C. and from the United Nations. We hear them calling in our families, in our schools and in our churches. Every day, Wisdom and Folly call to us as we go along our way. And every day, we choose between the two.
As Folly calls to you with a loud, brash voice, be still, and listen. Listen for a quiet, small voice - and follow the path of Wisdom.