Thursday, August 9, 2012

Proverbs 9

Read Proverbs 9:1 – 6. Wisdom has built her house and prepares a meal for those willing to respond to her invitation to dine with her. The invitation is addressed to “the simple.” In our culture, simple has several meanings. In one context, it describes intellectual capacity. A simple person can’t grasp difficult concepts. In other contexts, it describes intentional lifestyle choices. A simple person has chosen to do away with complex options in order to reduce distraction. Neither option exactly fits the biblical context of Proverbs. In Proverbs, a simple person has chosen to ignore or reject godly choices and, as a result, lacks the ability to recognize the value of those choices. Wisdom’s invitation makes clear that a simple person must choose between simple ways and life. Not choosing is itself a choice. In which situations do you find yourself refusing to make a choice, in the belief that no choice is an acceptable third way?

Read Proverbs 9:7 – 9. Here, godly wisdom and secular knowledge generally concur. Using wisdom to correct a person who lacks respect for wisdom only leads to further mocking or abuse. However, correcting a wise man with wisdom will, in general, lead to a grateful response and further learning. While we recognize the value of this truth, we often struggle to practice it. We hastily correct a mocker out of a desire to prove to him his error. We fail to correct the godly when she acts unwisely, because we are hesitant to discourage her or bring correction upon ourselves. When you see a lack of wisdom, who are you most likely to correct? Why?

Read Proverbs 9:10 – 12. This section reminds us of what we first read in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge….” The author here claims that the beginning of true wisdom or knowledge is found in God. Do you believe it is possible to attain wisdom or knowledge without knowing God? If so, what kind of knowledge can you attain? Verse 12 appears to make clear a cause-and-effect relationship between what happens to each person and his or her wisdom choices. Your wisdom will reward you. Your folly will lead to suffering. Is this a universal principle, true in every situation? Read and consider John 9:1 – 3 and Hebrews 11:32 – 40 in light of your answer.

Read Proverbs 9:13 – 18. The woman Folly is now described in contrast to Wisdom. She is loud, undisciplined and without knowledge (v. 13). She calls out to the same people Wisdom tries to reach, but promises different rewards. Her rewards are secret and stolen (v. 17), things which are not meant to be possessed. They lead to spiritual death and perhaps great loss in this life, too. Many of us would like to experience the blessings of God without following His wisdom. Folly appears to offer this path. In which areas do you find yourself looking for shortcuts to blessing? Consider the choices you face today. Ask God for the ability to recognize and follow His wisdom today.

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