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Proverbs 8:16, 1721, 3236; 9:1218comment (0)

March 13, 2014

By Robert Olsen, Ph.D.

Related Scripture: Proverbs 8:16, 1721, 3236; 9:1218

Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile

Listen to Wisdom’s Invitation

Proverbs 8:1–6, 17–21, 32–36; 9:12–18

Wisdom’s Invitation (8:1–6)

This section is a second appeal to gain wisdom. Wisdom is portrayed as a wise woman who calls out to those who pass by to heed her decrees. We often encounter wisdom when we listen to parents or to close friends. We even learn wisdom when we are in school. The culture in which we live even has wise ways — don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t cheat. 

However, as our society continues to lose the Christian consensus, wisdom from the culture becomes harder and harder to find. This is why we cannot depend on the culture or society to be the final decision on what is right and wrong. Even common sense isn’t common anymore. 

Since this is the case, where can anyone find wisdom? The only sure and unchanging basis for wisdom is God Himself, who has given us His Word in which we can learn true wisdom. The wise person will seek God’s wisdom and live accordingly.

Folly’s Invitation (9:13–17)

Here we can see the consequence of living according to folly. Foolishness leads to destruction. This is not hard to envision. We see on the news almost every day the consequences of people who do not live according to God’s wisdom. One of the main problems of “folly” is that her ways are enticing because sin is enticing. People want to get rich quick, they want to take out their anger on others, they want to do things their way — these are the ways of Satan and they lead to death and bondage. We can look at almost every sin and see the consequences. Selfish people are despised by others. Robbers and murderers are sent to prison. Adultery ends marriages and causes rifts between children and parents. Drugs create health problems or even death. It is not hard to see that the way of God’s wisdom leads to life, and yet the draw of sin leads even the strongest men and women astray. How can we have any hope?

RSVP Required; Consequences Confirmed (8:17–21, 32–36; 9:18, 12)

If true wisdom can be found only in God, then the only hope we have is in God Himself. But how can we know God and what He wants? Since God has given us His Word, we learn about God by reading the Bible. In the Bible we see that God punishes sin and punishes those who turn away from Him, but He has provided a way for us to truly know Him. God’s wisdom is made known in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:24). In the Bible we see that God sent Jesus Christ — perfect God and perfect man — to live a life of obedience, never sinning, and then dying for sinful man. Jesus dies on our behalf, taking the punishment of God that all sinners deserve. 

However, Jesus not only died, but He rose again and defeated death. Now all who believe in Jesus — those who believe that He died for us — do not have to face eternal death. Proverbs 9:18 shows that the way of folly leads to Sheol (Hell), but those who embrace and accept Christ as Lord and Savior do not. They spend eternity in the presence of God (“so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” — John 3:16). Once someone has believed in Christ, God sends His Holy Spirit to come dwell in him. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and helps us to make wise decisions and gives us the power to avoid sin. This is true wisdom, to accept Christ and live a life of hope and love. 

We will still sin and still face trials. Being a Christian does not make our problems magically go away. But God gives us the strength to deal with our trials and a hope of eternal life so that we have a joy in the midst of our struggles. This is something that our culture does not understand.

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