Monday, April 22, 2013

Wisdom and the Foolish Woman

“Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: she hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.” 
Proverbs 9:1-2

For the sake of simplicity, let’s say there are two women who cry out to the simple ones, the individuals who are seeking to understand their way in the world. One woman takes great care to prepare for her guests. As the opening verses of this chapter, interestingly, the shortest one in Proverbs, suggests, she builds her house, taking great care in the details. She kills her beasts, she mixes her wine, and she sets her own table. She prepares her servants and then she goes out into the street and calls unto the people who desire understanding. She says to them, “Come eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.” (v. 5) She says to these who are searching to come to her table where she has placed no substitutes, where she has cut no corners, and live of her. Her name is Wisdom and she prepares and serves that which she offers seekers.

Then, there is another woman. She is simple and knows nothing. She sits at her door. Let’s say she’s sitting on her porch, which happens to be conveniently located at a place of high traffic in the city. Because of its location, she just calls out to those who are going along their way. She doesn’t actively pursue those who want understanding. She just picks from the “low-hanging” fruit, only from those who are walking near her door. She calls out to those who want understanding and says, “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” She prepares no table for her guests, but offers what some may call the counterfeit of Wisdom’s nutrients. She is lazy and has no integrity. And the guests at her table are dead and “in the depths of hell.” (v. 18) Her name is the Foolish Woman and the Bible describes her as clamorous—noisy, demanding attention, loud, and insolent.

We are, all of us, sought by these two individuals in every aspect of our lives. One, Wisdom, has the real thing, and she actively seeks out her guests. What she offers them is worked for and earned. At her table are truths that are rich, pleasant, and free.

The other, the Foolish Woman, represents the world. She’s loud and demanding, but lazy and slack, as she just picks from those of us who are near her door. There isn’t a lot of work she has to do to draw us to her table, which is filled with stolen waters and bread eaten in secret. Mere shadows of the real thing. She’s dishonest and only mimics what Wisdom offers and not even very well.

I think of God and all He has to offer those of us seeking understanding. He desires us to eat at His table, from the foods He’s prepared. He’s done all the work and all we have to do is accept His gift.

Then, there is Satan and the world. He cares not for you, only that you eat at his table instead of God’s. He’s lazy and unwilling to even make it attractive, but only through his persistent clamoring some of us cannot and do not refuse his offer of hell.

What a vivid picture of the difference between God’s way of offering us understanding and Satan’s way. 

Lord, help me to choose to sit at Your table and eat what only You can and have prepared for me.

 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”—James 1:17

Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA (2007)

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