WISDOM vs. FOLLY – WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO? - Proverbs 9

Shalom family, we give all praise unto our Mighty Elohim, Saviour and Redeemer – unto Him in whom we boast – יהושע Messiah!

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Thus said יהוה, “Let not the wise boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty boast in his might, nor let the rich boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am יהוה, doing kindness, right-ruling, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” declares יהוה.

Don’t let those who think they know it all boast in their own accumulated and assumed knowledge – do not boast because you think you are strong – do not boast in your possessions or position, but rather we are to boast, if we boast at all, that we understand and know Him – the One doing kindness and right-ruling!

To understand and know Him!!! :

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:3-4 “And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands. 4 The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

So many claim and even boast that they understand and know Elohim yet they have no regard for His commands!

The Wisdom of Elohim has been made known to us, because Messiah became for us the wisdom of Elohim:

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 1:30-31 “And of Him you are in Messiah יהושע, who became for us wisdom from Elohim, righteousness also, and set-apartness and redemption, 31 that, as it has been written, “He who boasts, let him boast in יהוה.

The Living Torah - יהושע Messiah – The Word made flesh is the incarnation of the wisdom and the will of יהוה. Wisdom, in Mishlĕ/Proverbs, is used as a metaphor for the commands/instructions of יהוה, which those who will hear His Words must actually obey them, for in it there is great provision, protection and promises that, in Messiah, are yes and aměn! Wise and Wisdom can in effect carry different meanings as we can clearly see today how there are many who have much earthly knowledge and are ‘wise in their own eyes’, yet they simply do not have the wisdom of Elohim. Because it is very clear – if you have the Wisdom of Elohim – you will obey Him! That is why He tells us clearly to ‘get Wisdom’. As one goes through Mishlĕ/Proverbs it becomes clear the need for Wisdom to keep us secure in Him, and wherever Wisdom is to be found there is more often than not another voice that calls out in doing its best to distract you from entering the house of wisdom and delighting in the true riches of True Wisdom; and that ‘other’ voice is of another house – that of folly! How many times have you found yourself, after having spent a great time in the presence of יהוה, find that almost immediately after you have ‘feasted’ upon His Word the ‘voice’ of compromise and temptation beckoning you to do something stupid? Folly is always waiting to lure even the most sincere ‘straight walkers’ off of the path of righteousness. Tonight in a message called, “Wisdom vs. Folly – Who are you listening to?” I would like us to go through Mishlĕ/Proverbs 9 as we can be encouraged to be on guard against the voice of folly and hold fast to Wisdom. Turn with me to Mishlĕ/Proverbs 9 (Read).

Such a great proverb that pictures for us two contrasting invitations to a feast, and in verses 1-6 we see ‘Wisdom’ is calling out to the ignorant to come to her banquet that has been prepared; while in verses 13-18 ‘Folly’ is inviting them to her counterfeit banquet; and between the 2 invitations we see in verses 7-12 the comparison between the scoffer and the wise. It has reached the point of invitation – the tables are set and the invitations are being cried out – Wisdom vs. Folly – who are you listening to?

In order to get a better understanding of the clear contrast between the two invitations we have, Mishlĕ/Proverbs 1 through 8 gives us great insight and warning against the counterfeit invitations that can, and so often does, sound the same as the real, yet they are very different from the True lifesaving call of wisdom, as manifested through our Messiah.

Before we look a little deeper into the two very different invitations that may, on the surface, have a similar looking appearance I thought it best to quickly run through Mishlĕ/Proverbs 1 through 8 and highlight the underlying messages that lead up to the point on discerning the difference between the two invitations or rather choices that we face every single day – and that is – Life and Death, which has been clearly set before us – and it is by the Wisdom of יהוה, that He implores us to choose Him – to choose Life – that which we find in our Saviour and King, יהושע Messiah!

For the purposes of time I will simply highlight for you some key themes or messages that run through right from the first Proverb of Shelomoh and show how it wonderfully leads us to this critical lesson of hearing and recognising the voice of Wisdom. Some themes repeat showing us emphasis, yet there is a continual flow of great insight for us, so let’s begin – for some of you who like to make notes in your Scriptures – it may help to take note of these sections that flow wonderfully in giving us a great encouragement, warning, and training in righteousness to hear, guard and do the will of יהוה.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 1:

Verse 1the TitleThe proverbs of Shelomoh! This may be considered the title for the whole book, yet chapters 10 & 25 have their own titles – too the proverbs of Shelomoh, while Proverbs 30 is by another and 31 is unknown as King Lemu’ĕl which means ‘belonging to El’ may be a symbolic name for Shelomoh. What we do see is that Mishlĕ/Proverb 1:1 titles for us the collective message for 1-9.

Verses 2-6The Purpose of the Book!

What are the primary purposes of the Proverbs? From here we see 5 being mentioned, and they are:

1 – Knowing wisdom and discipline – to know wisdom is the literal translation in the Hebrew with the sense to ‘get’, ‘acquire’ or ‘obtain’ wisdom and with that the need for much required discipline, which is the strict practice required to reach a goal. Messiah is the goal of the ‘Torah unto righteousness’ to everyone who believes and it is through strict discipline that we press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of Elohim in Messiah יהושע.

We could translate ‘knowing wisdom and discipline’ as “These proverbs will teach you wisdom by obeying what they say,” or “These proverbs will make you wise if you command your heart to learn them.

2 – Understanding the words of understanding – Understanding comes in the doing – and it is through strict discipline in walking in the Word that we grasp the insight of these proverbs – able to rightly divide the truth and discern right from wrong – which is critical in identifying the false voice of folly!

3 – Receiving discipline of wisdom, righteousness, right ruling and straightness – It is one thing to know and understand – but often so many people struggle to receive – which actually reveals that they do not actually know and understand! How many of you at times find it difficult to receive discipline of wisdom and righteousness? This only reveals some immaturity and show that you may not know and understand wisdom and the Word as much as you thought! Receiving instruction means that you allow yourself to be taught – “these proverbs will teach you – if you will allow yourself to be taught by them!” One of the dangers that plague so many who are unwilling to become disciplined in training themselves to be set-apart is that they harbour an un-teachable spirit that is unable to receive the right-ruling of the Word of Truth. We are to “know” – which is to get, “understand” – which comes in the doing and therefore allowing us to be enabled to receive correction and training, when needed, which in turn will equip to help others –

4 – Giving insight to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young – Being trained in righteousness that comes in knowing the King of Righteousness through obediently walking in His commands, obeying Him through our love for Him and able to receive correction and discipline will naturally result in us being able to give others greater insight as we become a light to the nations – a light to those who do not know and be equipped to teach they young in faith knowledge and discernment.

5 – Understanding a proverb and a picture, wise words and riddles – One thing that continues to grow in our doing of righteousness is our understanding – parables and riddles are made plain, as יהושע told His disciples that He spoke to the crowds in parables, but to them He spoke plainly and clearly – the closer you walk to Him the more clear and plain do His Words become equipping us further to remain in Him!

Knowing – Understanding – Receiving – Giving – Understanding deeper – the purposes of these proverbs!

Verse 7 – The Motto of the Book! - The fear of יהוה is the beginning of knowledge! Despise His wisdom and discipline and you are simply nothing more than a fool that will sadly follow after the voice of folly and be found sitting in a house destined for ruin and destruction!

Do not despise wisdom and reject her call – the results of which are death!

In setting the scene for the purpose of the book we see the greater speeches and instructions of wisdom that are to be heeded or else; and this is how it is in one way summarised as we jet through the first 8 Proverbs bringing us to invitations that have been called out:

I have labelled sections in order for us to gain a good understanding of the flow that we see – a flow that has been wonderfully constructed by the wisest man:

1:10-19 – Beware of sinners – Straight up is the warning to watch out for the lawless/sinners - do not be enticed by them or walk with them – stay far from their path!

1:20-33 – Wisdom’s speech – she calls out aloud calling many to repentance giving the warning to those who do not hear while a comfort to those who listen

2:1-8 – Seek wisdom – the voice of Wisdom has spoken – seek wisdom while wisdom may be found! Lift up your voice – cry out – seek and search as you would for silver or treasure – then you will understand the fear of יהוה and find knowledge of Him. So many do not understand the fear of יהוה as they are very clearly unwilling to truly seek Him as shown through their compromised lifestyles! We need more reverence in the body today – I often wonder if we have even half the reverence that the men of old that we read of in Scripture had. It is time for us to wake up, grow in reverence through our diligently seeking יהוה with our all and stop excusing our need to seek away with mundane excuses that are simply worldly and fleshly lusts calling for our attention and luring us away!

2:9-11 – Discernment will increase – You will know what is right and understanding would guard your way as you seek for Wisdom and grow in Wisdom!

2:12-15 – Avoid wicked people – discernment will help you stay clear of that which is not of Elohim – bad company corrupts good character – so watch who you become friends with – are you influencing them with the truth or are they influencing you in wickedness and unrighteousness?

2:16-19 – Avoid the immoral woman – avoid the harlot whore who has forgotten the covenant of Elohim! What does the ‘strange woman’ teach today – the Covenant is done away with – avoid this immoral teaching of the immoral woman!

2:20-22 – Rewards and Punishments – verse 22 is clear – the wicked will be cut off from the earth and plucked out! Verse 20-21 – those who guard the path of righteousness and walk in the Truth will dwell in and inherit the earth – the righteous are not going anywhere – they are staying here – if there is to be any form of so called rapture or taking away – it is the wicked – just think about the foolishness of the words of the woman of folly who falsely proclaim a rapture!

3:1-12 – 6 encouragements to walk right and refrain from what is wrong – each with a promise

1 – Don’t forget the Torah, hear, guard and do – the reward is long life and peace (:1-2)

2 – Don’t let loving-commitment and faithfulness leave you – bind it on your heart – the reward is the favour and insight before Elohim and man. The Torah is to be upon our hearts and in our mouth – to do it – not to ignore it! (:3-4)

3 – Trust in יהוה with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding! In everything you do – know Him – that is everything you do – whether in word or deed – do it in the Name of יהושע Messiah – if His Name cannot be attached to that which you may want to do or say – then do not do it! There is far much today being done and spoken that in no way can be associated with having the name of Messiah attached too – too many coarse jokes and vulgar language – to much slander and criticism – too much worldly ‘fun’ that in nothing but crude – and this being done within so-called ‘torah-keeping’ communities! We need to ensure that we acknowledge Him in our all and this will clearly show in our daily lives if we do or not, and when we do acknowledge then we can deepen our trust in Him. The reward for complete Trust and acknowledgement of Him in ALL your ways is a straight path equipped to keep eyes focused straight ahead! When you lean on your own understanding it reveals that you are simply doing your own thing and following your own ways – for understanding comes in the doing – and when you follow your own understanding as you stubbornly follow your own ways you will find that you are unable to trust יהוה and only trust in your own ‘instincts or insights’ derived from your own understanding that when you ‘lean’ upon will fall! Understanding יהוה and His Wisdom will equip and enable you to fully Trust in Him and acknowledge Him in all you do!  (:5-6)

4 – Don’t be wise in your own eyes – do not always think that you know it all and try and sound all intellectual as this is simply a means of belittling others instead of encouraging and building others – seek His wisdom – Fear יהוה and turn form evil – evil is anything that is not of Him. If you do not leave evil ways then you do not have the fear of יהוה! If you cannot leave those simple ‘compromises’ then your fear of יהוה clearly is lacking. The reward for fearing Him and not being wise in your own eyes, thinking you know it all, is this – healing to your wounds and an easing of pains! (:7-8)

5 – Esteem יהוה with your goods – give your tithes, gifts and offerings – it begins with tithes – it does not end with tithes!!! So many today think that they are doing themselves and others a huge favour when they give a little while neglecting their tithes! Do not withhold from Him that which He has entrusted to you – it is all His anyway – be a good steward and see the reward of plenty and overflow – an equation that may not always add up in the world’s ways of doing business – but it adds up in His ways and brings promises that are sure! How many times have we seen the so called world’s latest business scheme that will make one so rich only to find in time to come that it crashes and burns as maybe only a handful managed to suck some temporal reward that fades out of it? This is not so with יהוה’s way of doing business – His system always works even though in the world’s eyes makes no sense – well that is why He tells us that His ways are higher than ours – let us not forget that! Do not neglect giving – it will cripple you – give and He will bring the increase – esteem Him with all you have! (:9-10)

6 – Do not despise discipline or reproof – He loves you and delights in you and that is why He disciplines you – the reward for accepting his instruction and discipline is His intense love and delight over you!

3:13-18 – In praise of Wisdom – to find you must be seeking – to get you must be working – wisdom rewards and all who retain her are blessed.

3:19-20 – Wisdom and creation – Earth was founded by wisdom – In the beginning was the Word and all came to be through the Word as the Word was with Elohim and the Word was Elohim.

3:21-26 – Wisdom gives you a happy and blessed life - Walking in wisdom will keep you from fear and dread – because Elohim is with you!

3:27-31 – How to behave – these verses express ‘negative’ commands that encourage how to love your neighbour!

3:32-35 – How יהוה deals with good and evil – His curse is on the wrong and His blessing on the righteous!

4:1-9 – Listen to your father – Do not forsake the Torah – get wisdom and get understanding as you heed the words of instruction!

4:10-19 – Wisdom give you long life and protection – walking in righteousness is like a bringing forth of the dawn light that will shine brighter and brighter to The Perfect Day that is coming – the wrong walk in darkness and do not even know what they are stumbling in due to blindness and no light. Walk in Wisdom and you will not stumble!

4:20-27 – Remember wisdom and enjoy life – walk in the straight way – do not turn to the right or left and live the abundant life that יהושע has come to give us in Him as you watch over your heart with great diligence as you recognise that His Torah – now written upon your heart – contains the sources of life!

5:1-14 – Avoid adultery – do not forsake the covenant with our Bridegroom! Guard knowledge with your lips as you speak the Truth, having not the words of the ‘strange woman’ on your lips – even though they may drip like honey – yet in the end it is bitter as wormwood! The strange woman is as sharp as a double-edged sword – listen it is sharp, so sharp that so many are cut by her sword and led astray due to ignorance. We have the assurance that יהוה’s sword is ‘sharper’ than a double-edged sword (Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 4:12). Avoid the whore with her total disregard for the path of life and keep far from her and do not turn from the spoken Word of יהוה! The whore will speak smooth words – but stay away from her as you guard the Truth!

5:15-20 – Be faithful to your wife! – drink from your own cistern! – We have come to the well of Salvation – may we continue to draw with great joy from the True well of life in which there is living waters that will always quench our thirst and cause us to be satisfied! Do not drink that which is often very tempting yet very deadly – stay True to your beloved!

5:21-23 – Describes the fate of the wicked!

6:1-5 – Avoid being ensnared by the words of your mouth – do not get caught in making promises that will end you up in trouble – don’t become a guarantor for a friend or strike hands in a pledge with a stranger or foreigner!

6:6-11 – Do not be lazy!

6:12-15 – Once again – the fate of the wicked!

6:16-19 – 7 things יהוה hates

1 – Proud look; 2 – lying tongue; 3 - shedding of innocent blood; 4 – wicked schemer; 5 – those who are quick to do evil; 6 - false witness who lies; 7 – one who causes strife among brothers! Strife among brothers is hated as much by Him as innocent blood shed! Ever given a proud look when arrogantly looking down at someone you didn’t like or you did not like what they said? He hates that!!! Ever found yourself scheming only to find that you are only doing it for self with no regard of the outcome on others – He hates that! Be careful to not do the things He hates.

6:20-23 – Rewards for accepting teaching of the Torah and commands of Elohim

6:24-29 – Once again – call to avoid adultery

6:30-35 – The results of adultery

7:1-5 – Wisdom will protect you from adultery!

7:6-20 – A report of how a foolish young man becomes the victim of a seductive woman! A clear example of how easy it can be to fall prey to deception if one walks in foolishness!

7:21-23 – Youths have fallen into the trap of the seductive whore! They fall prey and do not even know it will kill them! The whore of woman of folly targets the youth – we clearly see it today!

7:24-27 – Avoid the seductive woman OR DIE!

8:1-11 – Wisdom speaks out and calls with a loud voice

8:12-21 – The qualities of wisdom – describes the attributes and virtues of wisdom and how she hates arrogance and lies, loves those who love her and gives wealth and esteem to all who find her!

8:22-31 – Origin of wisdom – wisdom is from the beginning as wisdom is with Elohim and it is with wisdom that the earth was founded. Before all was there was Wisdom – another picture of the clear metaphor of Wisdom picturing for us The Word in that Messiah became for us wisdom from Elohim!

8:32-36 – Choose life or death – If you love Him you will obey Him and choose life – if you disobey Him – you hate Him and choose death!

Ok – so that was a rather quick jet through the first 8 Proverbs of Shelomoh and in a nutshell this is what we have seen from Mishlĕ/Proverbs 1-8, summarised as follows:

The purpose of this book is to make you wise and begins with the fear of יהוה, beware of sinners, hear the words of wisdom as she speaks aloud; seek after her with your all in order to know what is right and in the process avoid wicked people and the immoral woman for there are rewards for the righteous and punishments for the wicked. Esteem the Wisdom of Elohim which is from the beginning and is forever; for wisdom will give you an abundant life, teaching you how to behave and showing how יהוה deals with both the good and the evil. So listen to Him, for His Wisdom will protect you, as you enjoy life in Him, avoiding adultery at all costs, remaining faithful as a spotless bride, for we know the fate of the wicked, so do not be lazy and know what He hates so as to avoid doing that which He hates; for in obeying him there is great reward – and remember to avoid adultery for the results of such have been decreed; and wisdom will keep you from adultery so as to not be a foolish youth enticed by a seductive woman who has already led many astray – so avoid her or die – for wisdom speaks aloud and is from the beginning. What is set before you is life and death – choose wisely!

That finally brings us to Mishlĕ/Proverbs 9 – the invitations that have been sounded – Wisdom vs. Folly:

 

Wisdom has prepared a meal:

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:5 “Therefore, coming into the world, He says, “Slaughtering and meal offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.

Yoḥanan/John 6:53 “יהושע therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Aḏam and drink His blood, you possess no life in yourselves.

Folly has stolen her meal that she is so arrogantly offering!

 

Wisdom has mixed her wine – all is now ready – He offered the cup of His Blood and it is done – the invitation to enter has gone out!

Folly has ‘stolen’ water – that is she has muddied the waters of Truth through lies and hypocrisy and has counterfeited the offer with that which she has stolen and mixed with lies.

 

Wisdom sends out her servants – how many times do we read in the prophets – “I sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising early and sending them…

Folly on the other hand has simply been loud and noisy – simple and without knowledge – yet because of her loudness she lures many in! She is loud profane and … stupid! Yet so many listen to her at what she says - why? Because what she offers ‘looks good’, yet she does not tell you that it will kill you as we have clearly been shown in the preceding proverbs we have just overviewed! So many organisations today are causing the masses to flock to the house of Folly through that which tickles the senses of the people making them ‘feel good’ while they do not realise that they are being made drunk on the maddening adulteries through her cup of whorings!

What is interesting to note between that which is drunk at Pěsaḥ and that which the whore offers is this – the Cup of Messiah is the ‘Fruit of the Vine’ – pure and without yeast for the Feast of Matzot does not allow any yeast to be in the House – yeast as representing sin or lawlessness. The whore on the other hand – Folly – has mixed her cup with much yeast – much lawlessness – declaring that the Torah is null and void and the masses are drinking it up by the gallon and is intoxicated and headed for a destructive death!

 

Wisdom appeals to the mind – the intellect – as we renew our minds daily taking captive every thought and bringing it into obedience to Messiah – as we earnestly and diligently seek and learn and meditate day and night on The Torah and the satisfaction that wisdom brings is eternal.

Folly simply appeals to the senses, where it is easier to excite the senses of the flesh – and the truth is this – the pleasures of folly are only temporal.

 

Wisdom calls to those on the wrong path to walk in wisdom, to repent and get washed and walk in Truth!

Folly calls to anyone – be it those who are walking on the straight path or those who are already ignorant to come in to her and so has a ‘we accept all’ theology where sin is not dealt with and moral standards of righteousness are covered over with lies and a muddied mixture of deadly wine. She is undisciplined and allows for an undisciplined ‘feel good’ approach to worship so as to be able to be filling her house of whorings! We must avoid her and her secret bread at all costs, which is the tainted and corrupt theologies and doctrines of man that are designed to control the masses through the perceived inability of all being able to have a clear understanding unless they have been taught by those who have weaved webs in darkness and secret:

Qolasim/Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one makes a prey of you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary matters of the world, and not according to Messiah.

Wisdom has built her house and has hewn out 7 columns – 7 as we know is a very significant number representing completeness and although we can relate many well founded pictures that could represent for us what these 7 columns are – I believe it simply represents the completed House that stands firm forever and if I had more time I could go on to give you various “7 pillar” presentations that would all be uplifting and beneficial – however after meditating upon this a great deal in seeking out 7 pillars of wisdom with such things like: Fear, Trust, Integrity, Generosity, Diligence, Community and Set-Apartness which are certainly great pillars of walking in wisdom as we too remember the Rock from which we have been hewn and of which we have clearly seen being taught and described in Mishlĕ/Proverbs 1-8. However what I do see fit as what can represent the 7 pillars are in fact the 7 Feasts of יהוה, and why I say that is simply because of this – as we hear, guard and do His commands and keep His Feasts, His Appointed Times, so does our wisdom and understanding increase allowing us to be built together in Him as He brings His Body together – His House together according to His Appointed schedule. Pěsaḥ – Matzot – Bikkurim – Shavuot – Yom Teruah – Yom Kippur – Sukkot – 7 Feasts that I see as truly been that upon which we can be sure of a secure House built on a firm foundation, while we keep His Shabbat, which is also His Feast, weekly reminding us of what is to come – and eternal rest in Him, aměn! We must remember to keep His Shabbat – to guard it, delight in it and not be found doing our own ways! I found a very interesting verse in what is called ‘The Book of Thomas’, which I read this week and did various searches finding various translations that all agree – whether it be a restored names version or from multiple sources on opposite ends of the scales of differing theologies – all have the same wording with no discrepancies. Whether or not it is a valid translation of an original letter, there is nothing in there that disagrees with Scripture and what I found very clear is in verse 27 it basically says this: If you do not fast the world you will not see the Father; if you do not keep the Sabbath as the Sabbath you will not see the Father! Very striking words indeed that remind us just how important it is to live set-apart lives as we ‘fast’ the world and how critical the Sabbath is and we best be reminded of this fact – as today I fear that somehow many who are claiming and obedient Torah observant lifestyle are in fact neglecting the full importance of the Sabbath and the reverence we are to have in coming together in Him!

Despite having much more to share with you on this chapter – the essence of the message is this: Life and death have been set before us: Wisdom is Life; while Folly is death – and we each must choose which we will listen to and into which House we will enter in and feast at.

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 10:21 “You are not able to drink the cup of the Master and the cup of demons; you are not able to partake of the table of the Master and of the table of demons.

Both Wisdom and Folly make their call – while Folly may be loud – may we listen to the still small voice of Elohim and stay far from the door of the house of folly.

Wisdom vs. Folly – Who are you listening to? He who has ears let him hear what the Spirit is saying!

 

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you, and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face upon you, and give you peace.

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