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Wisdom's Invitation

Updated: 2 days ago


Blog title card; topic is how to get wisdom
Wisdom's Invitation

Proverbs 9 is one of my favorite chapters of the entire book of Proverbs. Through the personified attribute of wisdom, portrayed as an elegant, virtuous, capable lady, the Lord extends an invitation to all humans. This intended audience, all who lack understanding, is invited to enjoy the riches offered by living a wise life. Because this chapter is dedicated to the contrasting invitations of wisdom and folly, I have entitled this chapter, “Wisdom’s Invitation.”


As we examine this chapter, first notice how wisdom’s invitation begins with preparation for a rich banquet. We see this in verses 1-2. Lady wisdom has built a stately house with majestic pillars. When verse 2 says “she has killed her beasts,” it is saying that she has prepared sufficient food for a multitude. The text further explains that “she hath mingled her wine and she hath also furnished her table.” Significant preparation has been invested into this first-class banquet.


The second thing we notice in verses 3-6 is who wisdom invites to this festive banquet. She uses her maidens as messengers (v. 3) to invite both the simple and "him that wanteth understanding” (v. 4). Essentially, she is saying everyone is invited to “come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine, which I have mingled.“ There is a stipulation, however, for attending. In order to accept this invitation, the guests must “forsake the foolish" and "go in the way of understanding.” If the simple and ignorant are willing to reject the foolish philosophies of the world, wisdom promises they will live! Wisdom gives life like never before (verse 6). This is a wonderful invitation, for it is able to deliver everything it promises.


The third thing we notice, however, is the varying responses to wisdom’s invitation. Verses 7-12 record these responses. The scorner’s response is to refuse wisdom’s invitation. The wicked man responds similarly; he rejects the inherent rebuke of the offer. However, some respond positively. The wise man mentioned in verse 8 and the just man in verse 9 both accept wisdom’s invitation. They understand that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (v. 10). And, while neither the wise man nor the just man is completely perfect, this sense of the fear of the Lord compels them both to accept wisdom‘s invitation.


You might ask how we know that the wise man and the just man in this chapter are not perfect. The answer is that verse 8 points out how the wise man occasionally needs to be rebuked. Even a man who is already wise occasionally needs to be corrected. The same is true of the just man in this chapter. He might be considered a just man, but he still needs to be taught (v. 9). He still has things to learn.


The wise man and the just man demonstrate their wisdom in the way they receive the rebuke. According to verse 10, wise men gain yet more wisdom from wisdom’s rebuke. Just men, likewise, are not too proud to grow in learning. Why? Both of them recognize that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” People who fear the Lord respond positively to wisdom’s invitation.


The fourth thing we notice is the loud distraction away from wisdom’s call. Verses 13-18 describe a competing invitation. Lady Wisdom is not the only woman inviting individuals to sit at her table; there is a “foolish woman” clamoring for the attention of passers-by as well. She sits where she can be seen (v. 14) and she invites “passengers” to enter her house. Her dwelling is not a stately house like Lady Wisdom’s; instead, the text simply mentions a door to enter.


Lady Folly’s promise of what guests will find beyond her door is very different from her wise counterpart’s. Instead of wine to drink, this evil seductress offers “stolen waters." Instead of bread at Lady Wisdom’s table and meat raised in her household, the foolish temptress offers forbidden food. Her invitation is a crafty distraction with potentially devastating consequences. Chapter 9 concludes by describing the people who were deceived by her invitation and sit at this evil woman’s table. “The dead are there,” verse 18 says, “and her guests are in the depths of hell.”


Proverbs 8, the immediately preceding chapter, includes a description of Christ, the Messiah. Verses 22 through 31 are about Jesus. It’s no coincidence, then, that chapter 9 follows with an invitation. Chapter 8 speaks of Jesus, and chapter 9 invites us to come to Him, the perfect embodiment of wisdom.


No person needs to sit at the table with the dead. I don’t want anyone reading to be one of the guests who end up in the depths of hell (v. 18). If you haven’t already, be sure to accept wisdom’s invitation. Confess that you’re a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today to be your Savior!

 

The above article was written by James C. Johnson. He is the pastor of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at strengthforlife461@gmail.com.


Every Tuesday, SFL publishes relevant Bible-based content. Check back next Tuesday to read the next SFL article.

 

More Strength for Life...

Pastor Johnson's Sunday night series examines the New Testament counterpart to Proverbs, the book of James. In this sermon, he examines God's NT promise to give wisdom to those who need it.


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