Seek Wisdom

Men, my challenge this week is simple and direct. Seek wisdom and reject folly. If you’re a decent man, you want to be wise. If you desire to be a great and Godly man, wisdom is the only option; all folly must be rooted out. One of the most foundational verses in the Bible is Proverbs 9:10 – Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

Fear is not dread that He will beat you into submission. (A good Father never beats His kids). Fear isn’t terror or fright leading to distance but rather confidence and assurance leading us to draw near. (A good Father builds up His children). Fear here is a sense of reverential awe that opens the floodgates to wisdom and understanding.

If I want wisdom, I have to know where the source of wisdom is found. I must reverently approach the wellspring of knowledge and understanding. When we do this, we can freely drink from God’s fountain of truth. God created the heavens and earth and all its inhabitants. In His Goodness, he distinguished mankind from all other creatures by giving us a moral framework. Part of being made in the likeness of God is that we have the ability to perceive and practice wisdom.

Throughout the first 9 chapters of Proverbs, King Solomon writes a pointed and practical letter to his sons highlighting the distinction between godly wisdom and worldly foolishness. As he writes, he contrasts the life and conduct of two main characters- Dame Wisdom and Madam Folly.

Folly is defined as a lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight. My teenage years and into my early 20s were marked by a season of foolish actions or conduct. Like most young men, I made some foolish mistakes. In our world today, men are refusing to grow up. Adolescence is pushed being pushed further in life and folly is everywhere. I know plenty of grown men who live in folly. Gentlemen, folly never ends well!

Wisdom has built her house on seven pillars and she prepares her food and sets her table. Then she sends her staff out to call at the highest place of the city, calling for the simple to come to her house and learn (Proverbs 9:1-3).

Dive in with me as we break down this passage and seek to apply it. First, notice wisdom owns her own house. So she’s a worker! Second, she built it on seven pillars. It’s sturdy with deep footers and a strong foundation. James 3:17 states “ but the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.”

Next, lady wisdom prepares her food. She doesn’t ravage someone else land but tends her own garden and cares for her own livestock. Pay attention to this detail – she sets her table. She’s getting prepared for a mission, something special and specific. She has a purpose and she’s intensely focused! Then she sends her staff out to the highest place in the city. Notice she has trustworthy employees to whom she has been blessed. As she exercises authority, they respond with obedience and eagerness because she has modeled hard work, hospitality, and humility.

Wisdom calls out for those who are simple and have no sense to come over for a meal. As they feast, a call is made to learn and leave the simple ways. Why does she do all this? Because her whole life is rightly centered around a proper fear of God (Proverbs 9:10). She works hard, rightly exercises authority, and fulfills her responsibility; not to please man but to honor God. She’s not embarrassed and she’s not wasting time! Let’s get the work done that God gave me! Let’s be hard-working, God-fearing no BS kind of men! (FYI Bull Stuff!)

So what does folly look like in contrast to wisdom? Proverbs 9:13 says she is unruly, and loud, she is simple, knowing nothing! She sits at the door! Sitting is a sign of laziness. Like wisdom, she calls out at the highest place of the city, but take note she hasn’t sent a staff. She is seductive and disruptive and does it all on her own. Why? Because she has no staff and serves no good purpose.

She calls to those who are on the straight path; the ones who have a direction. Why? Because she’s trying to redirect and ruin their life. Somehow Madam Folly is able to snag some as she targets the “simple”. (The simple are those who have no sense). Lastly, she serves them stolen water that is sweet. No meal! Just empty, stollen water!

And they all eat in secret and call it delicious! They know that what they’re doing is wrong so they hide and buy into the lie that what they’re doing is good. The passage concludes by stating that this type of acting leads to death. Her guests are in the deep realm of death. Doesn’t sound good to me!

So why would any of us choose folly over wisdom? Wisdom is from God; folly is sourced in Satan. Satan is constantly working to disguise folly as wisdom! Wisdom owns her house, builds on seven pillars, prepares the meal, has helpers, and is not ashamed to walk in the ways of insight! Wisdom is based on truth. Truth is displayed through the work and life of Jesus and God’s Word. Folly in contrast is loud, lazy, a liar, and a thief. Folly wants people to join her but the only ones she can get are the simple. Be mindful that she lurks on the straight paths as a master temptress.

Men, you have a choice – wisdom or folly. Folly always offers what our flesh wants. It always overpromises and underdelivers.  It will always leave you wanting. If the easy party bus invites you to jump on, just remember that the bus is often stolen and the driver never has your best interest in mind! You’ll either end up dead or in some ditch far from home! Run from folly! Learn to drink from God’s well of wisdom and not the broken cisterns of stolen water! Remember this promise – If you seek Him he will not only show up but will guide you in knowledge and truth! That’s true wisdom!

Steve Thomas, RTM