Noodling on two house parties being put on in Proverbs 9. Meditating on two hostesses, Wisdom and Folly, who have set their tables and sent out their invitations.
Wisdom’s table is filled with organic, free-range food. Triple-A, Prime beef from her own herd. Only the best, hand-tended grapes from her own vineyards used for the wine. A three Michelin star meal for those wanting to experience the full flavor of life. And so, she sends her young women to call “from the highest places in town” (9:3).
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.”
(Proverbs 9:4-5 ESV)
But there’s another voice crying out “on the highest places of town” (9:14). She’s serving warmed up takeout from a greasy spoon, fake food restaurant. She really has no idea what’s on her table and care’s little where the food has come from. Serving up a nourishing meal isn’t her concern, her endgame is to serve up herself. She wants to get ’em in with the offer of filling their belly, but in the end what she really wants to do is consume them. Folly’s offer sounds a lot like Wisdom’s, but she’s offering up junk food.
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
(Proverbs 9:16-17 ESV)
Wisdom’s dining place is well sourced, well lit, and welling up with food that enables the simple to flourish. Her guests are those who want to live life and life it to the full.
Folly’s serving up stolen food, in a dark place. The food but a cheap, coma-inducing appetizer as she offers up herself as the main dish. Her guests? “The dead are there” (9:16a).
Hmm . . . where am I going to eat today?
Sounds like it should be a no-brainer. But we’re talking about the simple here. The naïve. The undiscerning. The seducible. So committed to being “open-minded” that they’re willing to try whatever looks good with little regard to where it comes from or what it might lead to. What they need first is to want to leave their simple-ness and “walk in the way of insight” (9:6b). And what unlocks the desire for insight?
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
(Proverbs 9:10 ESV)
The knowledge of the Holy One, the Creator, will create the palette for the Three-Star table. The fear of the LORD is what will make Wisdom’s invitation compelling and send up red flags when it hears Folly’s call.
With our culture’s increasing rejection of the Divine and the Transcendent, is it any wonder there’s so little interest in insight and we’re gorging ourselves at Folly’s table?
For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.
(Romans 1:21-22 ESV)
How I need to beware of culture’s influence and Folly’s call. How I need to nurture the insight gifted to me as, through the cross, I once was blind to the things of heaven but now I see the Holy One. How I need to feast at Wisdom’s table on a frequent basis and stay far away from secret places and stolen food.
Only by God’s grace. Only for God’s glory.