“Come, eat of my bread and drink the wine I have mixed. Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.”
Proverbs 9: 5-6
I think one of the interesting books in the Bible is the Book of Proverbs. Not only does it give you nuggets of wisdom on tap, but it has a poetic flair that paints unforgettable word pictures.
I think two characters that Solomon created that embody the theme of the book are Wisdom and Folly. They are portrayed as two women who call out to men looking for a companion. Both stood at the high place in the city, both have a home that promises food, good company, and a satisfying life. They ask simple men to listen to what they have to say.
Wisdom is the one who speaks first. She has carefully prepared her home to welcome guests. Her intent is supply the good things that God wants for wandering people. The wisdom of the Proverbs is real food and drink if one would just take what has been offered freely.
Then, like a copycat, Folly speaks up. She mimics Wisdom by standing in the high places, calling out to simple men, and promising what they need to be satisfied. Other voices would try and sound like Wisdom, however, there is something not right when you really listen carefully to their words.
Wisdom maintains the character of the Lord. That would make a lot of sense. Both of them say, “ Whoever is simple, let him turn in here.”
While Wisdom adds, “ Come eat my bread, and drink my wine. Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.” She is healing and helpful. Wisdom offers to make your life pleasing to God. Her smile and beautiful spirit is genuine.
Folly says all the things that you want to hear. She adds, “ Stolen water is sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” It doesn’t sound like she is correcting bad behavior but encouraging it. Folly isn’t thinking of being helpful to her guest but the prey on their already fallen nature. I picture Folly as a wolf licking her lips, ready to make a meal out of her prey.
As a note, in Jewish culture women did not have any place of authority over man. They were just above servants and considered weak or un- important in the affairs of men. However, men, we know that a soft voice, and pretty face catches a man’s attention. We see the beauty of a woman and can be caught by the heart. So no matter what a culture says, women do have great influence over men.
So, we need to be careful who we let close to our hearts. May we be able to discern a wise woman from a foolish one. Just as we need to listen to God’s words for us daily. I pray that you will be able to not be lured by words you want to hear. Rather, you can tell when the Lord is bringing words of wisdom that guide the course of your life. It could save your life now and for eternity.