Beware the Stolen and Secret

“Wisdom has built her house;
    she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
She has sent out her young women to call
    from the highest places in the town,
‘Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!’
    To him who lacks sense she says,
‘Come, eat of my bread
    and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways, and live,
    and walk in the way of insight…’

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
For by me your days will be multiplied,
    and years will be added to your life…

The woman Folly is loud;
    she is seductive and knows nothing.
She sits at the door of her house;
    she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
calling to those who pass by,
    who are going straight on their way,
‘Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!’
    And to him who lacks sense she says,
‘Stolen water is sweet,
    and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’
But he does not know that the dead are there,
    that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” Proverbs 9:1-6,10-11,13-18

Because the devil parades as an angel of light, it takes God-given discernment to recognize his wiles and distinguish his voice. Folly mimics Wisdom in strategy and language, and each has her superficial allure to the simple and needy. Only the trained heart and careful ear hear the subtle differences in their motives and promises. (2 Corinthians 11:13-14)

It is Folly who targets the simple, preying on their vulnerability in attempt to seize on their lack of foresight. She promises a sweetness in her shade, her undercover seduction, knowing that sin tempts with its temporal pleasures, and disguises, or hides altogether, its biting consequences. Every ‘hit’ with temporary physical satisfaction awakens desire for the next, and more, so the stolen and secret become an entangling, destructive habit. Those without the Holy Spirit are easily tricked by Folly. (1 Corinthians 2:14; Hebrews 11:25)

Wisdom also recognizes those who are short-sighted and lacking sense. She, however, sets an inviting table with uprightness, order, precision, and delectability. She appeals to the simple to leave their limited vision and foolish ways behind to come to her feast. By her nature, she doesn’t settle for mediocrity and a life of simmering in the stew in sin. She elevates desire, delivers insight, calls the simple out from complacency to grow and develop as God’s children.

So what about us? Do we settle for stolen advantages and secret ways that get us nowhere good? Or do we want to think biblically, to understand God’s truth and recognize spiritual error? This presents a life-long determination as well as a daily mindset, and our will sets our direction and commitment. If we would yield to the Holy Spirit and resolve to examine God’s word, He will hone our ability to distinguish folly from wisdom as we go along our way. (Deuteronomy 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 5:13-14)

Gracious and worthy Father, spur me on to maturity in my will and thinking. Teach me to discern Your best, and grant me courage to choose it always over the foolishness of the world.

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