(9:1-3) The Invitation
(Prov 9:1-3 MSG) Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home; it’s supported by seven hewn timbers. The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted, wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers. Having dismissed her serving maids, Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place, and invites everyone within sound of her voice.
This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by crossing over into a new chapter. In chapter 8 Solomon introduced God’s wisdom to us as, “Lady Wisdom.” In this chapter Solomon continues to use the same analogy as he paints a picture of a great feast. He tells us that Lady Wisdom has a beautiful home, fully furnished, and ready for a bountiful banquet. Everything you could want to eat is prepared and ready at the banquet. Once everything is in place and the only thing missing is your presence, Lady Wisdom goes out to town, stands in the town square, and makes her invitation. This eliminates all excuses. The table is spread, the silverware is set, the music is playing in the background, the flowers are already in water, the party is ready and all you have to do is show up to enjoy it.
Why does God paint a picture of a feast here? Why does He make the connection between His Wisdom and a good time? I believe it is because He is making His offer attractive and rightly so, He should. Living in God is living “The Good Life.” I did an entire series entitled, “The Good Life,” where I outlined the blessed benefits of life in Christ. Make no mistake, Jehovah and satan are rivals for the souls of men. Satan unashamedly paints a rosy picture of the life he offers. He makes his life – the life of sex, drugs, alcohol, fast money, and etc. – look very attractive and he make no excuses for it. His offer is both clear and deceptive at the same time. He clearly offers temporary pleasure, but what he fails to explain is that his offer bring with it eternal consequences. The enemy conveniently fails to show the fine print (on the bottom of the invitation) to his guests; the fine print that says, “All guests at this party are also reserved for a complimentary stay in eternal damnation.”
Lady Wisdom’s invitation has no fine print, no trappings, and no strings attached. To accept her invitation is to accept a rewarding, fulfilling and enjoyable life. Her table is spread, her feast is prepared, her party is ready, and the question is: will you accept the invite? Now, let me be clear. Accepting Christ as your Lord, becoming a Kingdom citizen, and deciding to walk with God all the days of your life does not mean that you will not face challenges. However, what it does mean is that you will not have to face the challenges alone. God will be in you, on you, with you, and for you every step of the way. With God on your side you can experience guiltless victory and success. When you succeed God’s way – a way free of corruption, lies, deceit and backbiting to get ahead – you gain the added benefit of being able to live free of regret, resentment and shame. Believe me, this is the Good life and it is awesome!
So what does this mean to you today? It means that there are two invitations and they both look attractive, but only one comes with pure motives. Choose God, choose His path, choose His feast, and in so doing you literally choose the life He intends for you to live. There is a cause and effect for everything. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your decisions do not matter. Hosea told us that if we sow wind we would reap a whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). So make sure you make the right choice.
Confession for Today: Father, I choose Your invitation. I am take You up on Your offer. I am going to Your party. I am able to enjoy Your feast without having to give up my eternal destination for temporary pleasure. In You I can have both pleasure and peace. I can enjoy my life now and still have the confidence of eternal life with You. It is clear to me that Your life is the best life and I choose to live my best life now. I seek success Your way and I am able to enjoy success without regret, resentment or shame. I experience guiltless victory today and everyday! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(9:4-6) The Ignorant and Foolish
(Prov 9:4-6 GNB) “Come in, ignorant people!” And to the foolish she says, “Come, eat my food and drink the wine that I have mixed. Leave the company of ignorant people, and live. Follow the way of knowledge.”
This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.” In our last message Lady Wisdom invited us into her home. Solomon made it clear that accepting her invitation would lead to a rewarding, fulfilling and enjoyable life. God does not want us to squander our life away on things that are insignificant. If we are not careful we can allow months to go by – for some even years – without accomplishing anything of eternal significance. Our years on the earth are too few and our destiny too important to wander aimlessly through life. Our heavenly Father wants us to live purpose-driven, vision focused, disciplined lives.
I hear the sense of urgency in our text. Lady Wisdom invites the ignorant and the foolish to come in to her home and to stay a while. Often, before I preach or teach a Bible study, I pray something like this: “Father, I submit myself – Spirit, soul, and body – to by used by You to teach on tonight. Holy Spirit, You are teacher and I release myself as a tool in Your hands. Interrupt our ignorance, show us where we are going wrong.” I can’t begin to tell you how clueless I was about life before I came to God when I was 23. I thought I knew what I was doing, but the more I spent time with God (with Lady Wisdom) the more I realized how ignorant I was. I talk to people all the time that think life is about making money, or buying houses and cars. When I ask them questions with eternal significance they often look bothered, almost irritated, that I would bring that up. They would rather just live for the moment and let moments turn into days, days into months, months into years, and years into their lifetime.
Lady wisdom invites two categories of people into her home in this text: the ignorant and the foolish. Some people are truly ignorant and when they learn about God, the truth about Jesus, and the eternal consequences of their decisions they turn to God, accept His Son, and begin their true life’s journey. But then others know better, they just fail to do better; these are not ignorant, they are foolish. They know what they should be doing, they know the eternal consequences of their decisions, they often even know what God wants them to do, but the cares and desires of this world keep them confined within the halls of childish bliss.
Lady Wisdom wants to spend time with both: the ignorant and the foolish. Why? Because God knows that if He spends enough time with anyone, no matter their previous condition, He can get them on the right path and lead them down the right road.
So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants you to spend time with Lady Wisdom; He wants to spend time with You so that He can provide you the insight, revelation, and wisdom you need to maximize your purpose and potential in life. I can tell you from personal experience that the education you receive from spending time with God is invaluable. Godly wisdom will prepare you for success in life, no matter what road your life’s journey takes you down. Whether it is in business, as a parent, in your marriage, in maintaining your health, or etc., spending quality time with God in prayer and in His Word in study will prepare you for it.
Confession for Today: Father, I declare, by faith, that the wisdom I receive from spending quality time with You and in Your Word prepares me for life. Your wisdom interrupts and eliminates my ignorance. You teach me what I do not know and correct me in the areas in my life where I am being foolish. I welcome Your correction as my heavenly Father and I declare, in advance, that I will change my foolish ways. I apply Your truth to my life and it changes everything! I get on the right road and I stay on it. I become the man/woman You desire for me to be and I maximize my purpose and potential in life! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper!
(9:7-9) Being a FAT Christian
(Prov 9:7-9 GNB) If you correct conceited people, you will only be insulted. If you reprimand evil people, you will only get hurt. Never correct conceited people; they will hate you for it. But if you correct the wise, they will respect you. Anything you say to the wise will make them wiser. Whatever you tell the righteous will add to their knowledge.
This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.” In our last message Lady Wisdom gave an open invitation to the ignorant and the foolish. No matter how ignorant and no matter how foolish a person is Lady Wisdom is convinced that if she spends enough time with them, she can get them on the right path and lead them down the right road. I was both ignorant and foolish before I came to God and I am eternally thankful that Lady Wisdom was patient with me. I came to God with a pretty rough background and I thought I knew what life was about, but in retrospect, I didn’t have a clue. The United States has a great education system, but no school that I know teaches a class on life. However, churches all over the US and the world are teaching people daily how to live the lives that God intends for them to live. The first thing Lady Wisdom is looking to do is to teach you Life 101. After she gets the basics out of the way, she can share life-lessons with you that will keep you on course for the long haul. That’s what she does in this passage.
When I read this passage I thought of a book I read some time ago entitled, “On Being a Servant of God,” by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe. Dr. Wiersbe has been a Pastor/Teacher for over 50 years and has written over 100 books. In the aforementioned book he took the time to share conversations that he would like to have with young preachers. It’s like he thought, “Well, what advice could I give to a young preacher today? What would I tell a young man if he came and sat in my office?” And that is what he put in the book. I can tell you that the book is awesome. Although I could not gain access to Dr. Wiersbe and his experience for one-on-one counseling sessions, the book provided me lessons and insight that I still apply today. That’s what this passage is like. You and I can’t (physically) sit down with Lady Wisdom, but here she takes the time to tell us what she would tell us if we could. These are life-lessons and if applied, they will help us to not only maximize our potential, but also to enjoy life as we live out our purpose.
So what does this mean to you today? Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:
1. Reserve correction for those that can take it: If you attempt to correct someone who thinks they know it all, they will not only reject the correction, but they will hate you for attempting to correct them.
2. Correcting the right people helps all parties involved: If you correct the wise, not only will they get wiser, but they will respect you for caring enough about them to correct them. Your correction of them will help them to make the course corrections they need to make, to stay on the path God wants them to take. Additionally, they will have an elevated opinion of you, because you were the tool God used to provide the correction they needed.
3. Be a F.A.T. Christian: When I became a Christian my Pastor taught me that I needed to be F.A.T.; which stands for: Faithful, Available, and Teachable. The arrogant person in our text is not teachable. Be wary of the person that will not receive instruction or correction from anyone. That person has become the god of their own lives and they will soon find themselves spiraling out of control. If there are two things I have learned over my 13(+) years of Christian life, they are: 1) there is a God and 2) I am not Him!
Confession for Today: Father, I thank You for taking the time to document Your wisdom in a book that is made available to me. When I read the Bible I get to sit down, one-on-one, with Lady Wisdom and I am thankful for it. She teaches me and I listen. I am faithful, available, and teachable. She is the sage and I am the apprentice. She leads and I follow. She gives me pearls of wisdom to share with others and she leads me concerning whom to share them with. She uses me as the conduit through which God provides correction and instruction to others and we all benefit from it. Use me Father, today, for Your glory! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(9:10) Gain Understanding
(Prov 9:10 NIV) If you really want to become wise, you must begin by having respect for the LORD. To know the Holy One is to gain understanding.
This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by continuing our counseling/mentoring session with Lady Wisdom. She shares two golden nuggets in this text that are worthy of further examination:
1. If you really want to become wise, you must begin by having respect for the LORD: Solomon’s point here is that true wisdom is birthed in the heart, not the head. Head knowledge alone is limited, but when head knowledge is fed from heart knowledge, it becomes supernatural. Reverencing the Lord, spending time with Him, and acknowledging His omniscience opens you up to His infinite insight. If you really want wisdom, you must pursue it from Jehovah.
2. To know the Holy One is to gain understanding: The word “know” here connotes intimacy. This is not cursory knowledge, but rather a covenant relationship with God that is both personal and powerful. Lady Wisdom tells us that this personal relationship with the Father will enable us to gain understanding. Gaining understanding is absolutely paramount in life. I am a communications officer in the US Army and part of my job is to provide a network over which our commanders can receive the information they need to command and control their units. When the information is reliable and available it provides them what is referred to as “Situational Awareness.” Troop locations, strengths, readiness, equipment availability, and etc. are all presented to the commander and it enables him to be aware of the current condition of the operational environment. However, situational awareness is not the end-state. Successful commanders are able to process/digest the information in their own minds and formulate an internal “Situational Understanding;” with which they are able to make informed decisions and prosecute the fight. The point being that all we can do, as communicators, is assure they have the information, but they must have the training and experience necessary to formulate their own understanding. Without understanding, failure is inevitable. Lady Wisdom tells us that knowing God – having a true and intimate relationship with Him – gives birth to understanding for life and living. Being aware of God’s purpose for your life does not mean that you automatically have the understanding of how to fulfill it. Awareness is good, but understanding it better.
Solomon’s father (David) told us that God had understanding when He made the heavens (Psalm 136:5). He was not haphazard in creation. There was a purpose behind everything He did. David also asked God to give him understanding, so that he could live (Psalm 119:144). David knew that if he had Godly understanding he could live the life God intended for him to live. Earlier in Proverbs Solomon said, “Understanding will guard you” (2:11), and “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom and the one who gets understanding” (3:13).
So what does this mean to you today? It means that you need understanding for life. You don’t want to just be aware of God, of His Word and of His Spirit. No, you want to understand Him, His heart, His nature, His character and His desire for your life. You want to understand His purpose and how to fulfill it before you die. You want to understand where you are, where you need to go, and how you need to get there. Understanding takes you from information to practical application – from head knowledge to heart knowledge!
Confession for Today: Father, I thank You for understanding. I acknowledge and respect You as the author and finisher of my faith; the creator and sustainer of my life. It is in You that I live, move, and have my being. Without You I am nothing. I have a personal and powerful relationship with You and this relationship enables me to gain understanding. Not only do You reveal to me my purpose in life, but You also give me the insight to fulfill it before I die. I have the information and the application. I have working knowledge of what You want to do in me, with me, and through me. Understanding makes all the difference in my life! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper!
(9:11,12) The Choice is Yours
(Prov 9:11,12 NLT) Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.
This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by continuing our counseling/mentoring session with Lady Wisdom. In this passage Lady Wisdom tells us that receiving, believing and applying her counsel can actually add years to our lives. There have been many who have cut their lives short by ignoring the counsel of God. Just like succumbing to vices can shorten your days on the earth, an adherence to righteous living can lengthen them. I encounter believers all the time that request prayer for their health, but then fail to exercise, eat a healthy diet, or obey doctor’s orders. I am convinced that some people believe that being a Christian is like having access to magic. They think that they can eat the wrong things, partake of damaging substances and live a sedimentary lifestyle, only to come to church and Sundays and have a minister pray for them, thinking that the prayer will wipe out all they have done. No, this is not magic. There is no Abbra Cadabbra coming from God. Now, can God heal the sick? Absolutely! But my point is that we must take accountability for our own actions. Lady Wisdom tells us here that if we receive her counsel, we will be the ones who benefit. But likewise, if we ignore her, we will suffer and we will have no one to blame for it.
This reminds me of a quote from Theodore White where he said, “For those men who, sooner or later, are lucky enough to break away from the pack, the most intoxicating moment comes when they cease being bodies in other men’s command and find that they control their own time, when they learn their own voice and authority.” It is both liberating and sobering to realize that God has blessed you to govern your own life. It is liberating because it is then that you recognize that the only person that can truly dictate what happens to you is YOU! God has set it up so that no one else has the authority over your own life that you do. It is then incumbent upon you to do something with that authority. That is why God’s wisdom is so important. This is where the sobering part comes in. There is a sobering reality in knowing that you don’t have anyone else to blame. Where you are right now is a result of the decisions you have made and where you will be tomorrow will be a result of the decisions you make today. No finger pointing, no blaming others, no way around it – God will one day hold you (and you alone) responsible for the decisions you have made and the actions you have taken (or failed to take).
So what does this mean to you today? It means that you can benefit by listening to Lady Wisdom or you can suffer by ignoring her. You can add days to your life by living upright before God or you can cut your life short by disregarding His counsel. You can choose life “A,” or you can choose life “B,” but make no mistake, the choice is yours. If you choose to accept Lady Wisdom’s advice, obey her call, enter her home, become her guest and learn from her ways, you will become wise and it will be for your own good. Your soul (mind, emotions and will) will be trained to think, feel and choose in accordance with God’s Word; once you do, you will never be the same! You will experience God’s best and live the life He desires for you to live.
Confession for Today: Father, I thank You for setting it up so that no one else can rule over my life but me. No one’s words carry more weight in my life than my own. No one’s actions are more important than mine. You have blessed me to be able to make decisions that directly impact the quality and length of my life. I declare, by faith, that I do my part. I eat right, exercise and abstain from vices that could cut my life short. I live long and I live strong! And while I am living, I maximize the purpose and potential You have placed down inside of me. I do not neglect Lady Wisdom. I apply Your Word and I transform my mind (my thinker), my emotions (my feeler), and my will (my chooser), to think, feel, and choose the way You want me to! I enter this day with fearless confidence and I will never be the same! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(9:13-16) Lady Wisdom vs. Ms. Foolishness
(Prov 9:13-16 NIrV) The woman called Foolishness is loud. She doesn’t control herself. She doesn’t know anything. She sits at the door of her house. She sits at the highest point of the city. She calls out to those who pass by. She calls out to those who go straight on their way. She says, “Let all who are childish come in here!” She speaks to those who have no sense.
This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.” In our last message Solomon told us that our decisions do matter. He made it clear that we can benefit from listening to Lady Wisdom or suffer by ignoring her. We can add days to our lives by living upright before God or we can cut your lives short by disregarding His counsel. In this passage, after teaching us so much about Lady Wisdom, Solomon names the other choice. He calls her Ms. Foolishness and she is a polar opposite to Lady Wisdom. While Lady Wisdom is poised, controlled, and a woman of few – but powerful – words, Ms. Foolishness is loud, unruly and clueless. She is on the road to nowhere and she attempts to take as many people with her as possible.
While Lady Wisdom waits for true seekers to find her, in order that they might tap into her endless insight, Ms. Foolishness has loose lips. She sits at the highest point of the city and calls out to all those that pass by. Her counsel – although it’s not worth much – is readily available and freely given; oftentimes without solicitation. She says, “Let all who are childish come in here,” and the amazing part is that they do. Our text says that she speaks to those who have no sense and she has no shortage of followers. While Lady Wisdom rarely encounters someone who is dedicated to spending time at her feet, hanging on to every word that flows from her mouth, Ms. Foolishness leads a full flock. Her house is filled with people that either 1) don’t know any better or 2) know better, but just don’t want to do better. Please don’t be one of them. Make the right choice. Follow Lady Wisdom. While it takes more effort to find Lady Wisdom and to get her to speak, when she does her words are power-packed and life changing. Anyone can find Ms. Foolishness and she will speak, even if not spoken to, but her words will not lead you anywhere and will leave you dazed and confused.
So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must make a decision on which one you will spend time with. Ms. Foolishness is easy to find. She shows up everywhere and she speaks about any and everything. Her words are scattered, silly and sloppy. She might keep you entertained, but while you are lulled in her entertainment you are not making any progress in life. Days turn into months and months into years and before you know it, you are squandering your life away. Now, Lady Wisdom on the other hand, she can make a difference in your life. She is harder to find. It will require effort on your part and she will not speak freely. You will have to spend time with her to get her to speak, but once she does, her words can change your life forever. Her words are purposeful, positive and powerful. She chooses her words wisely and she gives you the insight you need to WIN in life. The time you spend with her is precious and it should be cherished. She is willing to share her counsel with all those that are ready to change their lives for the better. Are you one of them? Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to start to live the rest of your life passion? If you are ready to do your part, then Lady Wisdom is ready to do hers. She will lead you in the way that you should go.
Confession for Today: Father, I thank You for giving me the right and responsibly to make my own decisions. I know that I have a choice between Lady Wisdom and Ms. Foolishness and I declare, by faith, that I choose Lady Wisdom today. I know she is not easy to find, but I will pursue her with my whole heart. I will find her wherever she is and I will spend the time with her that I need to, to make a difference in my life. She speaks and I listen. I receive, believe and apply her counsel. I make the course corrections she leads me to make to stay on the path You want me to be on. I am on the road to fulfilled purpose and Lady Wisdom is my guide! It all starts today! It all starts right NOW! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(9:17,18) Drink from Your Own Well
(Prov 9:17,18 CEV) “Stolen water tastes best, and the food you eat in secret tastes best of all.” None who listen to Stupidity understand that her guests are as good as dead.
This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.” In our last message Solomon introduced us to Ms. Foolishness – the polar opposite of Lady Wisdom. Ms. Foolishness’ words are as damaging and destructive as Lady Wisdom’s words are edifying and uplifting. Here she says, “Stolen water tastes best, and the food you eat in secret tastes best of all.” To understand what she means by stolen water we must understand the setting. Solomon wrote this at a time where water was a precious commodity. If you had your own well, then you had a valuable resource. What Ms. Foolishness is saying is that the water from someone else’s well always tastes better. Other translations say that it is “sweet.” Her underlying message is that all prohibited/unlawful lusts and pleasures are desirable to men; at least the men she associates with. She paints a picture of a sweet enjoyment in doing wrong, in delving into evil, in partaking of the forbidden, in drinking from another man’s well (or sleeping with another man’s wife). If Lady Wisdom had her turn to speak she would tell us to enjoy the water we have legal access to, to enjoy the company and companionship of our own spouse, and to be content with all that God has blessed us with. Earlier in Proverbs Solomon plainly stated: “Drink water from your own well” (5:15).
Ms. Foolishness goes on to say, “The food you eat in secret tastes best of all.” This is a reference to partaking in secret sin; in thinking that you are getting away with something just because no one else knows about it. These private lusts are as destructive as public ones, or even more so, because the person partaking of them thinks he/she is getting away with it. Make no mistake, you might fool people, but you will never fool God. God sees it all and we will all have to give account for everything (private and public) we have done.
Solomon stops speaking under the role of Ms. Foolishness long enough to say, “None who listen to Stupidity understand that her guests are as good as dead.” Those who were foolish enough to enter her home, listen to her words, and apply her twisted logic are as good as dead-men-walking. They may think they are enjoying life while they are living for the moment, but they are deceived. True life and pleasure is found in Christ; and His pleasure comes without side affects. There are no hangovers in God. You can enjoy yourself every day without any after affects.
So what does this mean to you today? It means you need to be careful. Ever since Adam indulged himself with the forbidden fruit men have been born with a fallen nature. I call this the Adamic nature. Whenever you tell someone that they CAN’T have something, the Adamic nature feeds a hunger and desire for the forbidden. That’s why you must understand what happened when you gave your life to Christ. When you were Born-Again you received a new nature, spiritually speaking, but you did not receive a new mind. Your Spirit was renewed instantly, but your mind must be renewed progressively. I like to say, “The new man, in an old body, needs a new mind.” That’s why reading messages like this, regularly attending church services and Bible studies, and reading the Word for yourself are so vitally important. These all help you to renew your mind (Rom 12:1,2) and your mind must be renewed if you are going to ignore the counsel of Ms. Foolishness and apply the counsel of Lady Wisdom.
Confession for Today: Father, I thank You for giving me the ability to discern between right and wrong, between righteous and unrighteous, between Ms. Foolishness and Lady Wisdom. I declare, by faith, that I develop a hunger and thirst for the things that are pleasing to You. I drink from my own well. I enjoy my own spouse. I am content with all that You have blessed me with and I will not covet that which belongs to another. I renew my mind, by reading, receiving, believing, and applying Your Word. My renewed mind enables me to ignore my old nature and to walk in the newness of the life You have provided for me in Christ! In Jesus’ name. Amen.