Wisdom vs. Folly

I. The way of Folly. A personification of stupidity, wickedness, worldliness, and un-godliness

What it offers:
a. A life of fun instead of responsibility. “Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding. ” (Proverbs 10:23, ESV)
b. A celebration of sin. “In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly. ” (Proverbs 13:16, ESV); “A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims folly. ” (Proverbs 12:23, ESV)
c. A lifestyle of apathy and freedom. “One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless. ” (Proverbs 14:16, ESV)
d. Multigenerational foolishness and ignorance towards spiritual things. ““How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? ” (Proverbs 1:22, ESV); “The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. ” (Proverbs 14:18, ESV)
e. An inheritance of disgrace. “The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.” (Proverbs 3:35, ESV);
f. A steady diet of sin and worldliness. “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. ” (Proverbs 15:14, ESV);
g. A lifestyle of deception. “The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving. ” (Proverbs 14:8, ESV)
h. A lifestyle of laziness and indebtedness. “How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. ” (Proverbs 6:9–11, ESV)
i. A lifestyle that is not easily changed. “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. ” (Proverbs 26:11, ESV; 2 Peter 2:22); “Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his folly will not depart from him. ” (Proverbs 27:22, ESV)

II. The way of Wisdom. A personification of godliness.

What it offers:
a. Understanding and knowledge from the LORD. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, ” (Proverbs 2:6–7, ESV); “for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; ” (Proverbs 2:10, ESV)
b. A strong foundation and a life of stability. “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. ” (Proverbs 9:1, ESV); “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; ” (Proverbs 24:3, ESV)
c. A godly perspective on what is valuable. “How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. ” (Proverbs 16:16, ESV); “for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. ” (Proverbs 8:11, ESV)
d. Deliverance from the way of evil. “delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, ” (Proverbs 2:12, ESV);
e. Deliverance from wickedness. “who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil, men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways. ” (Proverbs 2:13–15, ESV);
f. Deliverance from immoral women. “So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, ” (Proverbs 2:16, ESV)
g. Deliverance from laziness. “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. ” (Proverbs 6:6–8, ESV);
h. Deliverance from foolishness. “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. ” (Proverbs 28:26, ESV)
i. Favor from God. “Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. ” (Proverbs 24:14, ESV)

III. The example of Wisdom from Jesus.

1. Jesus lived wisdom. “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers… And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. ” (Luke 2:41–52, ESV)
2. Jesus is wisdom. “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, ” (1 Corinthians 1:30, ESV); “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3, ESV)
3. Jesus is the way to wisdom. “Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. ” (1 Corinthians 2:6–8, ESV)

Application: Choosing The Way of Wisdom:
1. Be Attentive. Recognize who/what your are listening to…Lady Wisdom (1:20) or Madam Folly (9:13) (Listen 8, Hear 9, Attentive 5)
2. Earnestly pursue it. “making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; ” (Proverbs 2:2, ESV); “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ” (Romans 12:2, ESV)
3. Ask for it. “yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, ” (Proverbs 2:3, ESV); “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. ” (James 1:5–6, ESV)


About George Ross

I am a pastor, church planter, husband, and father of four.
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