“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you!” – Proverbs 9 verse 8 (RSV)
If you want to become wise you will consider the criticism that comes your way, you will weigh it up and not see it as an attack but as someone possible shining a lamp to light your way. It may be that in the end you dismiss what it is that was said to you, but to be wise you will allow yourself to be open to criticism. This is no way deflects from you following your purpose, if there is any truth in what is being said about you and you listen, it will speed up your arrival.
Chapter nine of the Book of Proverbs is asking us to look carefully at all the sensory input we are currently receiving. Yes there will be an amount of rubbish that needs to be discarded but not at the expense of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” It may seem like a tightrope walk to begin with, but if we persevere eventually the road we are taking will widen as we begin to see the difference between folly and wisdom.
Wisdom is described as a house that is firmly established, her foundations are strong and she has prepared to feed all those who want to eat from her table. The invitations have been sent out in such a way that everyone should be fully aware of the fact that her house is open and her table is set for you and I to go and feast there. Wisdom particularly wants those hungry for her knowledge and insight to come and eat.
This is not just an invitation to come and eat, but a challenge to completely change your way of life. Most of us seem to adopt the so called “wisdom of the age” or “follow in our Father’s footsteps.” If our Father was a wise man (not just in our eyes, but in the eyes of others too) then things will go well for us, but if not, what then. Samuel Taylor Coleridge said “Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom!” and yet common sense is not wisdom!
Without wisdom we are all on a hiding to nothing! I don’t know about you, but as I read these words, in my mind I am already running with haste to wisdom’s house, I know I need to eat from her bountiful table! Maybe the food will be too rich for me to digest to begin with, but that is ok I will eat a little and wait until my stomach can accept it, but I will become wise! If you are what you eat, then I will eat wisdom; if what you think about comes about, I will think wise thoughts!
As the quotation at the top of this article clearly states, people who don’t want to hear wisdom or become wise, won’t thank you for sharing your wisdom with them. In fact according to verse seven, you are likely to be verbally and physically abused for sharing your knowledge and insights with such a person. Maybe this is why the wise become wiser and the rich become richer? You can’t help those who won’t help themselves.
I have avoided speaking about the spiritual dimension to all of this and have not mentioned God in the first eight articles I have written on the Book of Proverbs. You no doubt have your own beliefs about God and I don’t want to persuade you to change your mind about them; however what I am going to say now is to help you to understand my perspective on verse ten of Chapter Nine and maybe some other explanations I will share with you in future articles.
When I read “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” my perspective is that Wisdom herself is another word for “the LORD.” Scientists are looking for a mathematical equation which will express “The Theory of Everything.” They say it will be represented by something even more simpler than E=MC2, I do not know how to express everything scientifically, but philosophically Wisdom or God expresses it for me.
To be fearful, in the sense of respecting and being concerned at what effect ignoring the LORD, or Wisdom will have on us will start us on the path to having the supreme knowledge and insights that maybe today we are lacking. If you haven’t embraced a desire for wisdom already, now is the time to get your act together. It’s time to desire Wisdom, like you never have before, because if you do, there is a promise of long life to be found in verse eleven.
Wisdom always described here as a she; so don’t be surprised to find Folly described a woman too! This “foolish woman” has also built her house and invites people to go and eat with her. Her invite is the same, and it’s seems so much easier to go there in secret and eat stolen food; but in the long run it will prove to be extremely costly; because your life is at stake if you go there. You wont know before you enter that those who are spiritually dead are already her guests.
Yes, the houses of Wisdom and Folly may look similar on the outside, the invitations to go and eat there equally desirable. Folly may look more exciting, and those without wisdom will not know the difference until it is too late. Therefore we are left in the street to realise that we have a choice to make: Jesus said “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it!” Matthew 7 verse 13 (NIV)
Love and light to you from Andrew <3
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