“Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids, and she calls from the highest point of the city. “Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment. “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:1-6)
You are invited to a party. You instinctively ask, “What can I bring!” “Nothing. Don’t bring a thing. We’ve got everything covered. We’ve already got the food. We’ll have drinks for the kids. We’ll have drinks for the adults.” The host insists. And you reluctantly promise not to bring a thing.
The day of the party arrives and as you promised, you show up empty handed. The party is incredible. The food is the best you’ve had in years. The selection of beverages rivals that found at most American weddings! But then, at the end of the evening as everyone is about ready to head home, the host walks around to all the guests and hands everyone a little leather-bound folder. You open it up and find a bill! No different than the kind of bill you’d find at a restaurant! The bill claims you owe the host $100 AND THERE’S EVEN A LINE FOR A TIP!!!
How would you react? Flabbergasted? Stunned? Probably doesn’t even begin to describe it! Would you ever accept an invitation from that particular person again? Probably not! You might even become a bit skeptical of any invitation!
In Proverbs chapter 9 we find 2 invitations. One invitation closely resembles the one I just told you about. The other does not.
In the first invitation, “Wisdom” is personified—personified as a woman—an impressive woman. She’s inviting you to her house—a house she built. And it’s not as though she went to the lumberyard to purchase the lumber and supplies. No this woman is too impressive to do something like that. She even takes the time to mill the lumber herself! As if that wasn’t impressive enough, she prepares all the food and beverages herself. She butchers her own meat. She ferments her own wine. She cooks completely from scratch. She even knows how to mix a good drink! It’s to this house she invites you! This invitation is to eat her home cooking and to drink her fine wine! To help better understand this invitation however, we need to first look at the second invitation found in Proverbs chapter 9. An invitation to Folly’s house.
Folly is the opposite of Wisdom. “The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way. “Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment. “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave.” (Proverbs 9:12-18)
Like Wisdom, Folly also extends an invitation. And you may have noticed she invites the same people Wisdom invites. In fact, her invitation is an exact quote of Wisdom’s invitation. ““Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment.’” And yet just because she invites the same people to come into HER house, it pretty clear her party can’t hold a candle to Wisdom’s party. And so, In an attempt to lure her simple guests, she promises happiness in the unknown. “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious.” Unfortunately everyone who falls for her lies are handed a bill at the end of the party. They pay with their lives and spend an eternity in hell.
You’re not having too much trouble deciding which party to go to, right? At one party you LIVE! At the other party you DIE! It seems so simple—doesn’t it? So obvious! But think about. If it actually were so obvious, why would we need these particular proverbs in the first place? You see, that’s just it. For sinful people like you and me, it’s impossible to distinguish between the party of Wisdom and the party of Folly. By nature, we’re too simple. We lack judgment.
The proof is in the pudding. By nature we very much want to draw attention to the things WE do. Now don’t, get me wrong, I’m not saying that you and I are ALWAYS sinning when we insist on bringing SOMETHING—ANYTHING—to a party. That would be an exaggeration. But I know from my own life that I CAN say—without a doubt—that sometimes—when I insist on bringing something to a party—it is sinful. You too? After all it is an opportunity to showcase how awesome we are. We might be showcasing our cooking skills. Perhaps we’re showcasing our extensive knowledge of wine or beer pairings. It might be as simple as a desire for the host to think more highly of us. Let’s be honest? We may try to disguise our selfish intentions with an trench coat of love or generosity, but often times that trench coat is simply proof of our own hypocrisy.
By nature, we don’t seek out Wisdom’s party. And the reason is simple. Wisdom’s party leaves no room for our glory. Wisdom gets it all. And Wisdom deserves it all. Wisdom not only builds her own house she hews the pillars herself. Wisdom not only grills the steak to perfection, but butchers it herself. Wisdom not only pairs the perfect wine with the perfect steak, but painstakingly carries out every step in the wine making process. Wisdom is just plain better than you. Better than me too. In fact, Wisdom is flawless—perfect in every way.
We don’t deserve to be in Wisdom’s presence—and we know it. So we look at Folly’s invitation again. We get a little uneasy about it, but hear her say “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious” and get curious. We see an opportunity to experience something NEW! Something EXCITING! Something that WE’LL enjoy! Something that just might bring US glory. We not only consider rejecting Wisdom’s invite, we start to lean toward Folly’s.
What fools! What simple, unwise fools we are! And yet what does Wisdom do? Wisdom invites US—simple though we are. Wisdom tells us to COME. Wisdom insists that we EAT—insists that we DRINK! Why?! To give us the nourishment we need to LEAVE our simple ways—to LEAVE those simple ways which lead us to focus on our own glory.
Pretty awesome, isn’t it? And it only gets better. Why does Wisdom give us the food and drink—the nourishment we need to LEAVE our simple ways? Because she knows the LEAVING leads to LIVING and the LIVING leads to WALKING.
If you haven’t figured out this awesome Proverb let me break it down for you. Wisdom personified is the Word of God made flesh. It’s your Savior Jesus himself! No, this doesn’t mean Jesus is a woman. But Jesus is the one who builds God’s Church. Jesus is the one who invites us to COME. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh one who invites us to EAT his very real food and DRINK his very real drink. He’s the one who tells that through his Word—his flesh and blood—we’re given the gift of faith in the truth that his death and resurrection mean our sins are forgiven and heaven is ours! Jesus is the one who promises us that faith does not come without fruit. Your God-given faith, enables you to not only LEAVE your simple ways, but gives you new LIFE!
As you spend time in God's Word right now, know you’ve already COME to Wisdom’s house. You’ve EATEN her food. You’ve DRANK her wine. You’ve LEFT your simple ways. You are very much ALIVE! Now WALK. WALK in the way of understanding. Open your Bible this week. EVERY DAY. Not because you have to. Not because I challenged you. Because you’re ALIVE! Now WALK.
God's blessings on the rest of your week!