Friday, July 25, 2008

Proverbs 9 - Two Women Issue Invitations

SCRIPTURE LINK: Proverbs 9

BACKGROUND

Two "women" issue invitations to their homes in this chapter.

Both call out. Each calls those who are simple or naïve to come to dine with her. Wisdom calls openly and sends her maidens out with invitations, too, asking those who hear her to forsake foolishness and come eat with her. Folly (foolishness) sits by the door of her house, calls to those who pass by, and promises a secret meal and forbidden pleasure.

The passage makes plain that the result of dining with wisdom is understanding and life, innumerable blessings. The result of sharing folly’s secret and stolen food is death.

REFLECTION/APPLICATION

I’ve spent some time reflecting on the middle verses of this chapter, verses 7 – 9. The verses seem to be a kind of parenthesis, contrasting the wise person with a person who has followed foolishness so long that he has moved past lacking judgment to consciously choosing evil.

Look at the way the verses are structured, with three lines characterizing how a scoffer or wicked person responds to correction and three lines characterizing the wise person’s response to correction. The wicked person ( the one who continues to follow foolishness) turns on the one who rebukes him or tries to correct him – in fact, he hates him. The scoffer is defensive and easily offended. Contrast his reaction with that of the wise person, the person of understanding. The wise person loves the one who corrects him; he knows that he doesn’t know everything so he learns and adds to his wisdom. He is responsive and humble.

The wise person understands that all of us are moving in a direction, progressing toward wisdom or toward foolishness, and that our choices determine which way we move. The simple person who continues making foolish choices eventually becomes a scoffer and wicked, hardened to understanding and insight. The one who begins making wise choices, learns, and consequently is ennabled to choose more wisely the next time.

In case we have any doubt where to begin in getting wisdom, verses 10 – 12 spell it out for us. Wisdom and understanding begin with recognizing that God is God – with fearing Him and getting to know Him.

I will ask you what I’ve asked myself. How do you react to correction or rebuke? Are you defensive and easily offended? Take some time to think about that. Turn to the Lord and ask Him to give you a teachable heart. After all, doing that is the beginning of wisdom! Then be aware of how you receive instruction and correction.

PRAYER

Help us to fear you, LORD; to turn to You as the source of wisdom and understanding. Give us hearts that are humble and want to learn. Help us not to be easily offended, but teachable.
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