Lessons from Proverbs: Who will you listen to?

Proverbs 9:1-18

A father and son are playing golf together. The
young man hits his tee shot, and it lands about 20
yards in front of a large pine tree blocking the
green. He asks for advice.

“You know, son, ”says his dad,
“when I was your age, I’d hit that ball right over that tree.”
So the young man digs in, swings as hard as he
can, and smacks the ball right into the tree. It
ricochets back and lands right in front of the two
golfers.

“Of course, when I was your age,”
says the father, “that tree was only about ten feet tall.”

Proverbs 9 is a relatively short chapter. It’s only 18
verses. But it’s construction is very interesting.
It’s broken up into three paragraphs of 6 verses each.

The first and the last paragraph parallel each other while
showing the stark contrast between wisdom and folly.

The middle section compares the scoffer to a wise
person.

Let’s begin by looking at the first 6 verses

Proverbs 9:1-6

Woman of Wisdom

I want you to picture Sunday dinner at your grandma’s
house. It’s a beautiful house, it’s clean, huge and
welcoming. You know you’re safe when you are there.

Grandma has prepared a feast, everything you love to
eat. Especially those delicious rolls you can never seem
to get enough of.

The table is set with the real silverware and it has the
finest china you can remember seeing. And the glasses
that you normally only see on Thanksgiving.

And Grandma has sent out some young ladies to invite
more people to the dinner.

This is the picture Solomon is painting with his words in
this chapter.

This woman of wisdom is seeking more people to come to
the feast with her. She is happy to share with those who
are simple and naïve. She has plenty of food and wants
as many as will come to join the dinner party.

Now, let’s think of this chapter within the context of the
whole Bible. God tells us that we are His children.
He has grafted us into His family tree and we will share in
the inheritance with His only Son, Jesus.
The Bible also describes a banquet in the last book of the
Bible, Revelation. Those who trust in Jesus as Savior will
eat at the table with God face to face!!

Also, God created everything on earth. He has
everything we need at the table. There will be nothing
missing that we could ever need at this table.

Sounds like an amazing place, so why wouldn’t everyone
heed the voice of the young maidens and come to Lady
Wisdom’s feast and eat at her table?

Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at the
second paragraph in our text today.

Proverbs 9:7-12

The Scoffer/ Wicked Man vs. the Wise Man

Here we see a contrast between a scoffer and a wise
man.
Notice the attributes of the scoffer:
● Arrogant
● Hates reproof/correction
● Gives insults

Here’s the truth from these verses.

Wisdom is more about attitude than information or
intelligence.

The scoffer refuses to learn from anyone because he
believes he knows everything already.

The wise man on the other hand understands that there
is more to learn and put into practice.
The attributes of the wise man:

● Growing wiser
● Continue learning
His attitude is open to correction and discipline. He is
willing to grow and become who God wants him to be.

Look at v.10 with me. “The fear of the Lord is the
beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One
is understanding.”

Here’s the truth in this verse. The more you know God
the better you understand him.
Don’t confuse knowing about God with knowing Him
personally. These are NOT the same things.

When you respect, revere and fear Him, you will obey
Him and follow His plan for your life and you will be
better equipped to hear from Him when He speaks.

Now, let’s look at the final six verses.

Proverbs 9:13-18

Woman of Folly

Now, I want you to picture yourself walking down the
street, it’s crowded with lots of people and noises
everywhere. Over the crowd you hear a boisterous
woman yelling loudly for you to come join her for some
bread and water.
Not just any water, water that is stolen.
She also offers bread that probably came from the same
place.
The idea is to entice you to come join her for illicit
pleasure.
This woman claims to know what you want/need, but in
reality she is naive and knows nothing.
Yet she calls out expecting you to come into her house
and eat the forbidden meal with her.

Some people enjoy the thrill of wrongdoing.
That is until they get caught or until the guilt takes over.
Solomon has warned time and time again against the
pitfalls of being with a woman of folly.

As in other places in these Proverbs the message is clear;
avoid the woman of folly because her way is the
way of death.

Now, on the surface it seems like a pretty easy decision
to make right?
Whose house are you going to choose?
The wise grandma who loves you and wants what is best
for you and for you to grow and learn and flourish or the
seductive sultress who is trying to deceive you into the
way that leads to death.

There’s really no choice. We all know what the right thing
to do is.
The problem is that we are sinful creatures.
Ever since birth we have been bent towards selfishness
because of Adam’s sin.

Because of that we make decisions based on our flesh
just like Paul wrote about in Romans 7:18-19 “For I
know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my
flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing
of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do
not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not
want.”

It’s a constant battle we face each day.
We have to make a conscious effort each day of who we
are going to serve.

APPLICATION

In banking you are taught to pick out counterfeit bills as
part of your training. The way they teach is not by
showing you all the fake bills that may be presented.
The way they train you is to help you learn every detail
about the true bills. You become an expert on the true
bills so that when a face comes it stands out like a sore
thumb. You notice any slight imperfections.

As Christians, we should become experts in God’s
character and hearing from Him.
We also should be ready to receive correction from Him
or fellow believers.

Seek God and His Wisdom
The Bible tells us if we seek God with all of our heart we
will find Him.
It also says we should fix our eyes on the author and
perfector of our faith.

God designed us for relationship. He wants us to know
Him and He wants us to recognize His voice.
In the beginning of my walk with Christ I remember
having trouble knowing for sure if I was hearing from
God or not. The more I hear from God the clearer and
clearer His voice becomes.
The sheep know the voice of the shepherd.

Accept Reproof and Correction
We learn the most when we make mistakes.
If we refuse to accept the feedback when we have fallen
short, we will never grow.
The wise person is one who is willing to learn from past
mistakes and one who can accept the reproof when we
step out of line.
The Bible tells those who are spiritual to restore a brother
who is caught in sin.
If we reject the guidance we are like the scoffers who
want nothing to do with wisdom. They think they already
know all they need to know.