It is often easy for us to take our eyes off of wisdom in exchange for what we think to be Godly teaching.
Hebrew poetry finds much of its beauty and rhythm in parallelism that utilizes similarities as well as antithetical ideas. Proverbs 9 lays out the case for wisdom by comparing and contrasting wisdom and folly. It is then up for us to choose which path we will walk in, and the choice couldn’t be clearer. Again wisdom is personified as a woman and now folly, as well, is personified as a woman in which it would be wise to avoid.
Lady Wisdom sends out her young servants to beckon and invite all into her banquet to learn from her (3-4). “Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight” (6). Conversely, Madam Folly is loud and obnoxious. Instead of sending out welcoming servants, she lazily sits in her doorway, calling out to passersbys.
What is perhaps most difficult for us is that wisdom and folly often say the same things. The writer points out that the two women both call out, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here” (4,16)! Folly’s strength is that she has learned to sound like wisdom and deceive seekers of wisdom. Don’t be fooled. Do not find guidance in thinks that look Godly, but rather find guidance in God alone.
We can be subject to falling into snares of false teachers, though. We must test everything that we are learning against scripture, not merely our hearts or our feelings. As we read, listen to sermons, converse within our churches, let us ask God for discernment to recognize true wisdom that we may walk in it.