Saturday In The Proverbs—How To Spot Folly (Proverbs 9)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here…” (Proverbs 9:4, 16).

Both Wisdom and Folly call out to the same thing to people who are lacking understanding: “Come into my house!” So how do you tell the difference?

Simply put—Wisdom raises the bar, and Folly lowers it. Wisdom will make you work; Folly cuts corners.

Wisdom works hard to prepare for her guests. She then asks them to:

  • eat what she prepared
  • forsake their foolishness
  • submit to correction
  • learn new things
  • fear God

Folly, on the other hand, is simply loud. She prepares nothing. Instead:

  • she offers stolen goods
  • she justifies breaking the rules
  • she never corrects nor instructs
  • she has no fear of God
  • she simply looks for those who will go along with her

But only Wisdom can give knowledge of God, understanding of His ways, multiplied days, long life, and life-enhancing wisdom. Folly can give nothing but empty words and dead-ends.

Be careful of which hostess is asking you to “come into my house.”

5 Differences Between Wisdom And Folly

Parallels between law and wisdomIn Proverbs 9, Wisdom and Folly are both personified as women. And both of them call out the same thing to their would-be followers: “Let all who are simple come in here!” (vv. 4, 16). They both claim to have ‘the goods’ for those searching for truth, but here are five things that separate them.

  1. Wisdom has built her own house (v. 1); but Folly merely occupies someone else’s house (v. 14).
  2. Wisdom has like-minded “maids” who support her (v. 3); but Folly has no supporters.
  3. Wisdom serves what she has prepared herself (vv. 2, 5); but Folly steals from others because she has nothing original to offer (v. 17).
  4. Wisdom corrects, and that correction leads to deeper knowledge (vv. 8-10); but Folly lets people do whatever they wish, which only leads to deeper suffering (v. 13).
  5. Wisdom offers life (vv. 6, 11), insight (v. 9), the fear of God (v. 10), and rewards (v. 12); but Folly only offers suffering (v. 12) and death (v. 18).

How ironic that some people respond to Folly’s call, “Let all who are simple come in here,” and yet they act like they know it all already, not wanting to learn anything new.

Bottom line: If you are willing to learn, Wisdom has much to teach you. But if you know it all already, best to just hang out with Folly.

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