A tale of two women

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As we come to pray, often there are competing voices vying for our attention. Let them settle, then choose to listen to God, and screen out the others as you wait upon him. Then you are ready to read.

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Bible passage Proverbs 9:1–18

Proverbs 9

Invitations of Wisdom and of Folly
 1 Wisdom has built her house;
       she has hewn out its seven pillars.

 2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
       she has also set her table.

 3 She has sent out her maids, and she calls
       from the highest point of the city.

 4 "Let all who are simple come in here!"
       she says to those who lack judgment.

 5 "Come, eat my food
       and drink the wine I have mixed.

 6 Leave your simple ways and you will live;
       walk in the way of understanding.

 7 "Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult;
       whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.

 8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
       rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

 9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still;
       teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.

 10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
       and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

 11 For through me your days will be many,
       and years will be added to your life.

 12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
       if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer."

 13 The woman Folly is loud;
       she is undisciplined and without knowledge.

 14 She sits at the door of her house,
       on a seat at the highest point of the city,

 15 calling out to those who pass by,
       who go straight on their way.

 16 "Let all who are simple come in here!"
       she says to those who lack judgment.

 17 "Stolen water is sweet;
       food eaten in secret is delicious!"

 18 But little do they know that the dead are there,
       that her guests are in the depths of the grave.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Tags: Fear, Folly, Wisdom

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

Tags: Fear, Folly, Wisdom

Explore the Bible

Hard-won Wisdom
Lady Wisdom in her grand house (its seven pillars suggest completeness) quietly invites us to share in her feast, prepared with as much attention to detail as any Michelin-starred chef. But she has a rival – Miss Folly, loudly enticing the silly to pop in for some fast food (v 17).

This image rings as true today in our Twitter-addicted, selfie-obsessed culture as it did two-and-a-half millennia ago. Seeking wisdom, waiting upon God and growing in deep understanding takes time and effort – it is not quickly won.

Following Folly
In a culture that wants the ‘quick-fix’, and prefers a beefburger on the run to the full restaurant experience, the search for wisdom can seem boring and way too slow. But wisdom is not found in a 140-character tweet, nor is it dispensed in bite-sized convenience packaging. It is the work of a lifetime.

So, why bother? Well, just look at the company you’ll keep if you dine at Miss Folly’s table. In Proverbs 8:35 Wisdom says she brings life: all Miss Folly has to offer, in the end, is death. A culture wedded to foolishness is a dying culture, but there is another way: seek wisdom, seek Christ, and live.


‘Lord, today help me to seek you in all I do.’

Paul Goodliff

Deeper Bible study

‘Do not be afraid; for God has come to test you, and that the fear of him may be in front of you, so that you may not sin.’ (Exodus 20:20, literally)

The same people, the simple, receive identical invitations (vs 4,16), from the same location (vs 3b,14b), to two different parties, but the hostesses are quite different. The parties have different mottoes (vs 5,17) and the company and the destiny are as wide apart as possible: life and insight or ghosts and the dead. One striking thing about Lady Wisdom’s generous and stately invitation is that, as for the invitation of Isaiah 55, ‘the guests’ deficiency is their only qualification’!1

I ponder the significance of verses 7 to 12, which separate the symmetrical six-verse invitations. Perhaps they are more relevant than appears at first sight. The implication appears to be: which invitation will I accept? It is my choice, no one can make it for me – verse 12 says, literally, ‘If you are wise, you are wise for yourself’. Kidner says, ‘Your character is the one thing you can’t borrow, lend or escape, for it is you’2. Choose life (v 6a says with urgent brevity: ‘Simple ones leave – and live!’) This is the better choice (vs 9,11), informed by Wisdom’s first principle which is the biggest motto in chapter 9. Of course your choice may invite mockery, insults or abuse – you are a spoilsport, a killjoy!

‘Come … eat … drink’ (v 5). Our Lord also raised his voice on this subject and gave the same unforgettable invitation. It is set out in some detail, after long reflection, by John in chapter 6 of his gospel, especially in verses 51–58. By the time these words were written, all disciples of Jesus knew what pain and sacrifice stood behind these words, for Jesus himself and for his followers in every generation.

Howard Peskett


1 FD Kidner, Proverbs, p82
2 FD Kidner, Proverbs, p83

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Song: Your words are life
Composer: Noel Richard and Tim Sherrington
Copyright: Copyright © 2008 Thank you Music
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  • Angela Munday | Saturday, 05 August 2017

    "Come, join me and eat at my table"; this is Christ's invitation for everyone. It can be accepted or rejected; the choice is ours........'My grace, all-sufficient, shall be your supply...thy gold to refine.' ( DEREK:- Thankyou for the wonderful words you posted yesterday; have a blessed day. )

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Saturday, 05 August 2017

    v 5 Come eat my food. John 6:27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

  • Jane Hill | Saturday, 05 August 2017

    Thank you, Angela, for your continued prayers. Ruth, praying that chemo helps you. I have found Proverbs difficult.I am much happier with plain narrative but the Bible study and Explore the Bible notes have been helpful as have the many comments. Thank you everyone.

  • Ruth Chisholm | Saturday, 05 August 2017

    DEREK you are gifted with the ability to bless with a song for all seasons. I found the rest of the hymn How firm a foundation on line, the final verse "The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes; That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!" Thank you and bless you and others for your prayers

  • Carol Stockman | Saturday, 05 August 2017

    Thank you Angela, Ruth, David and others for your prayers especially for Monday. . The are really appreciated. God is good.

  • Derek Forster | Saturday, 05 August 2017

    Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord to Thee; Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise. Let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands and let them move At the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet, and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee; Swift and beautiful for Thee. Take my voice and let me sing Always, only, for my King. Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages from Thee, Filled with messages from Thee.

  • Peter Oliver | Saturday, 05 August 2017

    These verses can be crossed referenced with Romans Ch 12 v1_2 be not conformed to the Patten of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

  • Barbara Sabin | Saturday, 05 August 2017

    We are feeding on the living bread, Eating of the feast our Lord has spread, And whoso eateth, Jesus said, Shall hunger nevermore. What, hunger nevermore? Yes, hunger nevermore! What, hunger nevermore? Yes, hunger nevermore! And whoso eateth, Jesus said, Shall hunger nevermore

  • Hannah Watson | Sunday, 06 August 2017

    "Vs 8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you." Let me be that wise man open to criticism. Let me leave my pride behind

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