Stairway to Heaven or Highway to Hell

As I read through the ninth chapter of Proverbs I was initially looking for one particular verse that stood out to blog about, but instead I was stirred by the content and structure of the whole chapter. Here in chapter nine two different voices call out to you “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” (v. 4, 16) Which voice you ultimately heed is of paramount importance, for one leads to life (v.6) while the other leads to death (v.18).

This chapter contains 18 verses divided into three six-verse sections. Part one describes wisdom as a woman calling out to the simple. In the third part the woman Folly likewise calls out to the simple. And in the middle lies the key to our knowing which voice is which.

First, Wisdom calls out
“Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways, and live,
and walk in the way of insight.”
We are invited to eat and drink in wisdom, and to walk in it’s light. Have you experienced the clarity and freedom that is felt when you walk “in the way of insight?”

However, this is not our only invitation for Folly also calls loudly and seductively. She too has food and drink:
“Stolen water is sweet,
and a bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
There’s something alluring about wrong and foolish choices, isn’t there? Surely there must be or we wouldn’t take foolish paths in life so often.

Both Folly and Wisdom try to make their voices heard. Both are offering food and drink. How does a simple man know which voice is which?

I encourage you to read the middle section for yourself in verses 7-12 for they are the key to being a person who heeds the voice of Wisdom instead of Folly. I will highlight just one of those, the theme of this whole first section of Proverbs:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

What does it mean to “fear the Lord”?
Can you think of a time when you fell for the appeal of “stolen water” or “bread eaten in secret”?
Do any of the truths from verses 7-12 challenge you in some way?

I wrote this blog as part of our journey through Proverbs in our series Street Smarts.

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