Proverbs 9 personifies the ideas of Wisdom and Folly as two women who offer people different things.
Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city, “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way, “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
Author Lysa Terkeurst refers to this passage in her book called The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. She says that acquiring and using wisdom takes work and it takes practice. While God promises in James 1 that He will give us wisdom if we ask, this doesn’t absolve us of taking action.
Lysa illustrates this by comparing herself to her daughter Ashley, who at the time was a high school pole vaulter who was on her third year of training. Lysa jokes that she too could call herself a pole vaulter if she chose. Lysa could be with her daughter Ashley in the same place – at the track near the pole-vaulting pit. They could have the same goal of getting their bodies over the bar without knocking it down. They could both tell everyone who wanted to watch pole vaulters to come near.
Sound familiar? Wisdom and Folly both have houses at the highest point of the city. They have the same goal of getting people to come into their homes and join them. They speak the same invitation.
However, Lysa would be a lousy pole vaulter because she has not trained her body or mind to participate in the sport. Her daughter Ashley, on the other hand, has shown up to practice day after day for years and has improved her skills. Likewise, Folly cannot offer what wisdom does. If we look deeper at Proverbs 9, there are more differences than there are similarities.
Wisdom built her house with seven pillars – this is a sign of strength. Wisdom has put in the time to prepare her food and drink to honor her guests. Wisdom has learned of God so that she may teach others. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
Folly is careless. She does nothing to prepare for those she invites to her house. To those who have no sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.
May we choose to be people of wisdom. May we show up like an athlete that faithfully attends practice. May we put in the training and the work to learn from God so that we are prepared to share Him with others.
Join me at practice?
~ Pastor Cindy