TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS 9-12
Wisdom’s invitation; the contrast between the righteous and the wicked; the contrast between the upright and the wicked.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
One of the most incredible qualities of the Bible is its ability to transcend time and culture. Though it is thousands of years old, its relevancy and application to today is nothing short of supernatural. Because of the way the Book of Proverbs was designed by the Holy Spirit, declaring truth based on comparison, and cause and effect, the Book of Proverbs is one of the easiest Books in the entire Bible to make applicable to those of us living in the 21st century.
As we begin in chapter 9 today, just as we saw in chapter 8, wisdom is personified as a woman (i.e. “Wisdom hath built HER house” – 9:1). In chapter 9, the WISE “woman” is contrasted with the FOOLISH “woman.”
Both extend an invitation to the “simple,” who is identified in verse 4 as one that lacketh or “wanteth understanding.” They have similar invitations, but very different motives.
Note in verse 1 that “she (wisdom) hath hewn out her seven pillars.” These seven pillars are the seven manifestations of the Holy Spirit referred to in Rev. 4:5 (also Rev. 1:4; 3:1; 5:6) as the “seven Spirits of God.” They are specifically identified in Isaiah 11:2 as:
1)The spirit of the Lord
2)The spirit of wisdom
3)The spirit of understanding
4)The spirit of counsel
5)The spirit of might
6)The spirit of knowledge
7)The spirit of the fear of the Lord.
The invitation that is extended to the “simple” by both of the “women” (the “WISE” vs. 1 and the “FOOLISH” vs. 13) is to a “feast.” Wisdom offers a feast of “bread” and “wine” in verse 5 (the elements, coincidentally enough, of communion – I Cor. 10:16). The feast offered by the foolish woman is described in verse 17 – “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant,” and ends up being a stinky pile of worms where the fire is not quenched! (See Ex. 16:20 and Isa. 66:24).
In verses 9 and 10 of chapter 9 is a key truth in the Book of Proverbs. To “increase in learning” we must possess the “fear of the Lord,” and have the “knowledge of the holy” (i.e. Holy God, Holy Word, Holy Spirit, Holiest of Holies, Holy Place, Most Holy Place, etc.) Anyone who does not acquire this “knowledge” will be unable to make sense out of life and will be unable to know life’s purpose, and will be forced to come up with his own meaning and purpose which will be “foolish” and completely irrational to the mind of the Lord.
This truth, if kept in focus as we read the Proverbs will reveal how far apart the Wise Man and the Foolish Man really are. This insight will indicate clearly what we are free to say to these individuals and those we are instructed not to answer at all (Col. 4:6). Note in Matt. 27:11-14, Jesus would not answer the accusations of the chief priest and elders, Pilate marveled, because it was an inner strength that he did not possess.
Look at Proverbs 26:4-5, where there appears to be a contradiction regarding who we should answer. First, verse 4, answer not a fool according to his folly, or you will become like him. Next, verse 5, answer a fool according to his folly, or he will become wise in his own conceit. So which is it? Am I supposed to answer or not? The key is the difference between the two fools.
The first fool is a committed fool. He is already “wise in his own conceit.” He has accepted that wrong is right, and teaches others to believe the same. To answer this type of fool, will further equip him in his folly. He is argumentative and will twist your words to defeat immature Christians, or twist your words to convince a simple fool that what you say is wrong.
The second fool, is a simple fool. As indicated above, he is reachable and teachable. He is looking for a role model. He is a perfect candidate for those in gangs to initiate into their criminal involvement on one hand (1:10-19), or on the other, he is a perfect candidate for those who know the Lord Jesus Christ to reach with the gospel of salvation, introducing him to the ultimate Role Model, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (I John 2:6).
As you continue your study, be aware of the vast contrast between these two types of people. It will challenge you to do as we are instructed in I Peter 3:15. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As ONE who hates lying – Prov. 12:22. “He that sat upon the throne said... all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:5,8)