“Let all who are simple come in here!”
She says to those who lack judgement. Proverbs 9:4, 16
These words are the opening invitation of both Wisdom (v. 4) and Folly (v. 16.) Both call from the same location: our circumstances, our temptations, our major life decisions. Often we do not hear past this opening invitation, or we choose to ignore the rest of what they are saying.
Wisdom instructs, “Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.” With this promise, why is it so much easier to follow the path of Folly, of foolishness?
As I read this passage, God gave me the image of two roads. Each decision we make we stand at the fork in the road between two different paths. The entrance to the path to wisdom, to righteousness, is often hidden by thorns of bad decisions from our past. The ground is covered with rocks and debris from our hurts, habits and hangups. We often do not see the path to wisdom, or we decide it is too hard a path to follow.
The entrance to the path to folly is familiar. It is well lit and looks clear and smooth going. Folly invites us with the promise that “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” (v.17) We know people along this road and we think we know where it is leading. Even if we do not always like the company or the known potholes in the road, we often choose this path anyway. It is familiar and comfortable, even while making us miserable.
But as the two paths move forward, the scenery changes. The path to wisdom and righteousness gets smoother. As we journey past our hurts, habits and hangups, their power over our lives begin to loosen its grip. We begin to experience the freedom of recovery and experience the life that Wisdom promises in verse 5.
The path to folly, on the other hand, only gets more and more treacherous. With each bad decision, we go deeper and deeper into the wilderness of consequences from our bad choices. The weight of our hurts, habits and hangups, even those we thought we left along the roadside, only make us weary and the trip more difficult.
The good news is that the path to wisdom does not have an entrance that we passed somewhere long ago. While the two paths lead further and further apart, the entrance to the path of wisdom is available at every turn. It may be harder and harder to see, but it is always available. Proverbs 9:10 tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Each time we make a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God, we take one step further down the road to wisdom.
Lord Jesus, show me the path of Wisdom. Open my eyes to the areas of my life that I am following the path of Folly. Give me the courage to switch paths were I need to. Amen.