Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars. 2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. 3 She has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city, 4 “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, 5 “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. 6 Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.” 7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. 8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. 9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. 12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer. 13 Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing. 14 She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, 15 calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way, 16 “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, 17 “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” 18 But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead. (Prov. 9:1-18 NIV)
Both Lady Wisdom and woman folly have their houses, they have each prepared a banquet for guests to dine. Wisdom offers a future, maturity and life. Folly only offers the immediate pleasure of good things enjoyed outside their intended boundaries, hiding the fact that such pleasure brings death.
The house built of the seven pillars may have in mind the perfection of wisdom. From the highest point in the city, wisdom’s servants call out. This is a visible, central message to those who lack wisdom. To come to wisdom’s house is to be taught wisdom. To come to Lady Wisdom’s house is to set aside the foolish ways. For those who would learn wisdom, there will always be plenty of mockers to make little of wisdom. When you try to correct the mocker, you find that you are confronted with even more abuse. When you promote a biblical approach to life and challenge the immoral behaviour of society you are likely to be publicly denounced.
To rebuke a scoffer will cause him to hate you, but rebuking a wise man will cause him to love you, because by your rebuke he will learn and become wiser. Any instruction given to a wise man will mean he will increase his understanding. It is a teachable spirit that makes the difference between wisdom and foolishness. It is very easy to lose our teachable spirit. It is wise to guard our hearts to ensure that we are always prepared to keep learning.
We are reminded by the teacher that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. To the child of God, the fear of the Lord is not a sense of dread but is a reverential respect. The wise way to live generally adds to the length of our life. Wise decisions improve many outcomes for life. Of course we do not deny that many wise people die at an early age.
Wisdom rewards those who embrace her teachings. A mocker will eventually suffer for his rejection of wisdom, because to reject wisdom is to reject the fear of the Lord.
The woman folly is seen in contrast to Lady Wisdom. Woman folly entices the simple to her house. She is the personification of folly and lacks knowledge.
Stolen water is sweet – the sensual nature of her enticement is openly admitted as illicit behaviour. Immoral behaviour has been promoted for decades. The 1960’s saw a huge public change to the acceptance of immoral behaviour. We are now reaping many of the problems associated with these immoral attitudes. Immoral behaviour is not progressive, it is not emancipation or liberation. This is the way of death. In time all will one day discover this when they give an account to God for what they have done and an account for those they have influenced.
Lord, helps us to remain teachable and to always live in the fear of the Lord. Help us to seek wisdom and life because we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.