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Whose Voice Will You Hear?

By Dennis Pollock


Proverbs 9 is a fascinating chapter of the Bible. It describes two different ladies calling out to people, inviting them to their respective homes. The first lady is described in the chapter's beginning and has wonderful food and drink for all who will enter her doors. The second woman is described at the end of the chapter and offers sweet treats to all, but which will lead to a bad end. Enter her house and you will surely regret it, although not, perhaps, at first.

Let's look closer at Lady #1. We read these words:

Wisdom has built her house,

She has hewn out her seven pillars;

She has slaughtered her meat,

She has mixed her wine,

She has also furnished her table. (Proverbs 9:1-2)

Wisdom has been a busy and industrious lady. She is more than a house maker; she is a carpenter. She builds a beautiful house, for the purpose of having guests – lots and lots of guests. Then, once her house is built, she kills a few cows, buys bread and wine, and prepares a feast for all her guests. The table is well-laden with everything you could wish to please your palate, fill your stomach, and cheer your heart.

But Wisdom does not merely put up a sign in her front yard, inviting people to her banquet. The Bible tells us:

She has sent out her maidens,

She cries out from the highest places of the city,

“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”

As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,

“Come, eat of my bread

And drink of the wine I have mixed." (Proverbs 9:3-5)

Not content merely to feed and nourish those who casually wander into her domain, she sends out messengers throughout the town, announcing the banquet and inviting one and all to come and enjoy themselves. But even that is not enough. Wisdom, herself, goes to the highest place in the city and calls out her invitation personally. She shouts with a loud voice, "Come to my house, eat my bread, and drink my wine." She leaves no doubt about her willingness to feed her guests very well; she is incredibly eager for all people to come to her house and partake of her marvelous meal.

There is one type of person that Wisdom specifically invites. She says, "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here." She is inviting simple people to her party, not complicated people, not deep thinkers, but simple people, people who "lack understanding." In the Book of Proverbs, simple means something different from the traditional American understanding of the word. To be simple, Biblically, is to be godless, to have no faith in God and no desire to please Him, or live by His rules. Regardless of your intellect or level of worldly sophistication, if you have no use for God in your life, you are a simpleton.

In the next verse we discover what God is really saying through this illustration: "Forsake foolishness and live and go in the way of understanding." (Prov 9:6). The literary device being used here is called "personification," which is a way of taking a concept and making it seem like a living person. In reality, there is no lady named Wisdom who is building a literal house and purchasing various foods and wines for people. God is revealing Himself as Wisdom and declaring that He has prepared a feast for all of humanity, a banquet that represents Jesus Christ, and the abundance of grace He provides all who will come to Him. Jesus is God's feast for the whole human race. All that is good and beautiful and satisfying, and fulfilling is found in Jesus, and God invites all people everywhere to come and partake of this feast.

Messengers are commissioned to go all over the city, inviting people to this magnificent feast. None are overlooked, none are excluded, and no one is disqualified to partake of God's goodness in Christ. Wisdom further declares: "Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding." (Proverbs 9:6). To enjoy God's bounty, men and women must forsake their foolish, selfish, carnal, and sexually immoral ways. Using a New Testament word, they must repent of their wicked ways; we are commanded to forsake foolishness. Give it up, turn away from it, and leave it behind as you transform from a simple person to a wise one, from a God-rejecter to a Christ-follower.

In the last part of this chapter in Proverbs, chapter 9, we find a huge contrast from what was said at the beginning. Earlier we read about a lady called "Wisdom" inviting one and all to come to her house and enjoy all the goodies she has prepared. But at the end of the chapter, we find the other side, the dark side, sending out its invitations to the same people. Here is another lady, but her name is not Wisdom. Her name is Foolish Woman. The Scriptures tell us:

A foolish woman is clamorous.

She is simple and knows nothing.

For she sits at the door of her house,

On a seat by the highest places of the city,

To call to those who pass by

"Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!" (Proverbs 9:13-16)

The message is the same as the one coming from Wisdom. Like Wisdom, this "Foolish

Woman" is calling out to simple people, but instead of inviting these simple folks to the Lord's banquet of wisdom and blessings, she is inviting them to a banquet of wickedness and destruction.

Foolish Woman calls out: "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." She invites simple people to enjoy "stolen water" and "bread eaten in secret." In other words, people are being invited to enjoy wicked pleasures to which they have no right, and shameful sins that must be "eaten in secret." This "Foolish Woman" represents the devil and the lusts of our flesh, creating desires for things of which we have no right: someone else's husband or wife, the money gained by cheating and trampling upon others, overindulgence in pleasures when God calls for moderation and self-control.

Two voices are being heard in this chapter: the voice of the Holy Spirit inviting men and women to enjoy the grace of God, and the dark, malicious, alluring voice of the evil one inviting us to enjoy the pleasures of sin. Two appeals, two invitations, and two urgent pleas, but they are sending people in opposite directions. The question becomes, "Whose voice will we heed?"

It has always been this way. The voice of God and the voice of the evil one have been calling out to humans all over the world in every generation. God invites us to receive His Son Jesus, by whom we are given eternal life, forgiveness, righteousness, peace, and joy. Satan calls out likewise, but his call is deceitful. He promises us pleasure, which sin can indeed provide for a season, but he does not inform us that misery and destruction will come in the end.

In the final verse of this chapter, we read about the folly of choosing the Foolish Woman. The Bible says about the man who enters her house: "But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell." (Proverbs 9:18). Simple people are enticed into a life of sin, and sensuality because they do not realize that they have entered "the house of the dead." Their lifestyle is a deathstyle, a way of living that leads inexorably to the second death, that lonely, dark place of eternal destruction.

What this means is that things are incredibly different from how they appear. Imagine a party attended by the beautiful people, celebrities, movie stars, politicians, and wealthy people. Sadly, none of them know Jesus. They laugh and joke and clink their wine glasses. They are dressed in clothes costing more money than most ordinary people make in a month. The women have spent a fortune on cosmetic surgeries of all kinds. The mood is lively, and the jokes flow freely. Yet God says that all these folks are dead. They are dead men and women laughing and talking with other dead men and women. The Bible says that all the guests at this party do not realize that they are in the depths of hell.

It does not have to stay this way. There is another voice, the voice of the Holy Spirit, calling us to another house. This is the house of God, where peace and joy abound, and all the guests at this party are loved, forgiven, and adopted into the family of God. They are not dead, but alive: made alive to God through Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, the real issue of life is this: Whose voice will you heed? Which house will you enter? Which feast will you enjoy? In Deuteronomy we read: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live." (Deuteronomy 30:19). The apostle John wrote: "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:11-12). And the Son's name is Jesus!




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