Wisdom and Folly

The book of Proverbs offers only two paths to its reader: the way of wisdom or the way of folly. While folly often will try to disguise itself as wisdom, wisdom never will dress herself up as foolishness. Perhaps that is why it is so ridiculous and grievous to see seeker-driven churches attempt to cloak themselves in the world’s garb in their efforts to grow larger and more popular. The Christian should seek to be separate from the foolishness of this world.

Thankfully, God’s wisdom does not need to wear a worldly mask to be attractive. In fact, the wisdom of God shouts in the streets (Prov. 1:20). The wise man fears the Lord and desires to seek and obey His will.

Throughout Proverbs, the fool and the wise man are contrasted. It is madness to pursue the false wisdom of this world and he who does rejects God, apparently content to exist as His enemy (Ps. 14:1). Wisdom loves, fears and obeys the Lord, who is the very giver of that wisdom. He who follows the way of wisdom will never find himself wanting.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Prov. 1:7)

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
(Prov. 2:1–8)

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens;
by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew.
My son, do not lose sight of these—
keep sound wisdom and discretion,
and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck.
(Prov. 3:13–22)

The discerning sets his face toward wisdom,
but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
(Prov. 17:24)

Seek then this day the wisdom of God and Jesus Christ the Lord, who is Himself the very power and wisdom of God incarnate.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Cor. 1:18–25) 

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