Oct 14th, 2018
Hello and welcome to episode ninety-five of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes or so we’re going to continue our time in the book of Proverbs taking a look at wisdom and folly.
The writer of Proverbs uses feminine pronouns when talking about wisdom. This theme is introduced in Proverbs 1:20-33, verses 20 and 21 read, “Wisdom calls out in the street; she makes her voice heard in the public squares. She cries out above the commotion; she speaks at the entrance of the city gates;”. We see this idea of wisdom personified woven throughout the rest of Proverbs, but we see it brought back to the forefront in chapters 8 and 9. In 8:33-35 wisdom invites us to find her and in doing so receive the Lord’s favor. Understanding how the book uses the feminine depiction of wisdom helps us understand many of the warnings and encouragements found within the book of Proverbs.
Folly is presented throughout the book of Proverbs as wisdom’s counterpart, a sort of anti-wisdom. Folly is presented as an adulterous or wayward woman who preys on foolish men who allow their appetites and desires to rule them. While wisdom in Proverbs 8:21 is portrayed as a companion who gives wealth as an inheritance to those who love her, folly in Proverbs 9:18 is said to lead the unsuspecting to their death and the depths of hell. Wisdom is wealth and leads you to receive the Lord’s favor. Folly is death and the depths of hell.
Sometimes choosing between wisdom and folly, right and wrong are hard, even when the wiser of the two choices is obvious. Even when you’ve spent enough time working this out so that you can instantly recognize wisdom, and instantly recognize folly; it can still be a hard thing to choose which path you want to walk down. We face this many times in our lives. We know that going to bed on time will pay off in the morning when we wake up refreshed and ready for work, but we’re only three episodes away from the end of a series we’ve been binge watching, and we want to stay up and finish it. We gotta know what happens, we gotta know right now! We know when we have lots of work piling up at work and we get to take it home, “get” to take it home, that if we get it done quickly and getting it out of the way will free us up for the rest of the night, but our favorite game just released a new update. We know we should head home at a decent hour when hanging out with friends, friends that we see less often than we’d like, but they’re just so much fun to be around. Both options in each of these scenarios have their own appeal, but only one is wise while the other is folly.
There are times in our lives the wise decision and the foolish decision may be difficult to discern. Despite their differences, folly and wisdom are presented as partaking in similar actions. Proverbs 8:2, and 9:14 tell us that both wisdom and folly set themselves in high places of the city, and Proverbs 9:4, and 16 tell us that both call out for the simple to come to their respective houses. We talked about you’d really have to bury your head in the sand to ignore all the words of wisdom that are crying out in the street in today’s media. But, know is that time that likewise we have to acknowledge that there’s also an equal amount, if not more, folly crying out in those same movies, those same T.V. shows. Those same areas where we see wisdom calling out, folly is usually right there calling out as well. This is why it is important to pursue wisdom early in our lives. The more time we spend learning wisdom, the easier it will be to make wise choices when the right course of action may not always be so obvious or when the right course of action is obvious, practicing wisdom will make it easier to choose wisdom.
We see this opposition between wisdom and folly played out in Matthew 7:24-27. We talked about this once before in this series, Jesus says, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. It collapsed with a great crash.” Wisdom says to build that house on a firm foundation while folly says to just build the house. The rains come and with them, flooding, the winds blow and without a firm foundation, the house of folly collapses. You and I should be building houses of wisdom, not folly.
Both wisdom and folly call out loudly, and both can look appealing if we don’t practice wisdom. As we grow in wisdom, it will become easier to approach situations with discipline and discernment. We will have the discipline to make the right decision even when the wrong one looks appealing. We will grow our judgment and discernment to know when to put on the brakes and when the wise choice is not always apparent.
It’s my hope that I could cultivate all of this in my own life. By no means in teaching any of this am I making the statement that I only make wise decisions and that I am immune to folly. That’s not true at all. I keep myself under accountability, I have a friend that keeps me in check that I go to and talk to and run things by and even making decisions in some points I will seek out his counsel on what he sees. Should I go this way? Should I go that way? And they’ll be times when he’s my greatest cheerleader, my greatest advocate cheering me on. And there are other times where I’ll bring to him something that I’ve done and he goes, “What are you doing?!? That’s out of your character completely, I totally didn’t expect that from you, you messed that up.” You need that. You need someone who can help you in discerning sometimes. Sometimes you think you did it right and it turns out you didn’t.
When you’re on this path to wisdom and learning all this, my personal recommendation is that you need someone you can trust who when you need to be praised can praise you and someone who when you need your butt kicked a little bit, isn’t afraid to get in your face and not be a yes man but to actually tell it to you like it is. Go out there and find someone who cares about you and can tell it to you like it is and give them permission to tell you.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”