A portion of the beauty of the Proverbs is their poetic form, which creates memorable word pictures as teaching tools. In the opening verses Proverbs 9 demonstrates this in vivid fashion that flows into instruction about the way of the wise (7-12) and the way of fools (13-18).
What a scene:
The opening verses sketch a scene of wisdom building her house and preparing a banquet. She opens her home and table to all who hear — the simple, fools, and the wise alike. It becomes evident in the seventh and eighth verses that one group will snub the invitation and one will accept. We are given the reason why one group avoids wisdom’s invitation while the other readily accepts it: Pride. That is the reason for avoiding wisdom, plain and simple. Fools cannot bear to be corrected and will even despise the one trying to offer helpful direction (7-8b). The wise appreciate correction, even being rebuked (8b), and will love those who admonish them (this is an ideal spot for a teaser for Proverbs 27:6, one of the most truth-packed, concise sentences ever penned).
What a difference:
Fools are low on humility and high on pride. Correction is an insult to them. That is why they resist it, and, continue to grow more foolish with time.
The wise embrace humility, which in turn fashions them for growth through correction. In turn, they grow even more wise, and more humble, over time.
Pride and wisdom cannot abide one another; they go together like white shirts and spaghetti. You have probably already figured out that one of the primary hallmarks of the wise is humility. Humility is the foundation for the “fear of the Lord,” which is the beginning of wisdom (10). To be clear, the “fear of the Lord,” is not being terrified of Him; it is standing in reverential awe, or holy wonder, of Him. Think of it as sanctified respect.
If you want to grow wise, first bow low. There are no stick-necked, straight-backed, high-chested wise men or women. Park there and perform some self-examination. Each of us has pockets of pride inside. They are our barriers to wisdom and hinder our walk with God.
Chapter 9 concludes with a description of the way of fools. Yep, you guessed, it’s ole Ms. Pants of Fire looking for a guy with more nerve than verve. It’s a sad scene. It plays out each day, everywhere, all with tragic outcomes.
What a God:
Why are you and I not romping off into that lifestyle? Grace, God’s grace. Through His grace He creates humility in us that leads us to listen to His Word and submit to His correction. We owe Him thanks for this, and so much more. He provides the humility that enables us to embrace His wisdom. Through the wisdom we receive, we become more humble, and ready to revere and worship Him. That is where wisdom begins …