Thought for the Week

Thought for the Week – 16.07.20
Proverbs 9:1-18 – A choice to make

As we come to our study this week, remember to treat it as if you were coming to worship God in church. Find a comfortable place to sit and still yourself in God’s presence.
Living God, as I prepare to meet with you now, may your Holy Spirit fill this room and my heart. Speak Lord, for I am listening.

Introduction

Have you ever been double-booked and had to make a decision about which invitation to accept? How do you decide? Perhaps it comes down to who the invitation is from, or what the invitation is for. Maybe it’s about where the finest food will be served, or where the most interesting or influential people will be attending, or which will be the best place to be seen!
This chapter marks the conclusion of the first main section of Proverbs with two invitations – to dinners like no other, from hostesses like no other, with outcomes like no other. Which will we choose?
Read – now is a good point to read ch9.
Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly both give out their invitations to the simple (those who most need to live wisely but who are most tempted by folly), to a feast in their houses. The invitations are identical, but the consequences are completely different.

Vv1-5 – Lady Wisdom, who was instrumental in the building of creation has ‘built’ her house and it has seven pillars. This suggests that it is a very large residence and makes me think of John 14:2 where Jesus tells us that there are many rooms in his Father’s house, room for all. Also, the number seven in Scripture represents perfection. Lady Wisdom’s preparations are careful and detailed with choice food and wine. The
meat and wine represent the good teaching of wisdom that will be palatable and profitable. She sends her maids out to invite those who will listen to come in. It speaks to me of discipline and structure.
Vv7-9 – speak of the ‘mocker’, the ‘wicked’, the ‘wise’, and the ‘righteous’. They react to Lady Wisdom’s invitation in different ways: rejection and criticism versus acceptance and love. I notice here that the wise are teachable and I wonder if that’s true of me. Am I teachable and humble, still willing to learn – how about you?
Vv10-12 – The reward of commitment is eternal life (v6) and wisdom is in fact its own reward, it is sufficiently satisfying to be worth pursuing. On the other hand, if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer. Have a look at what James teaches in the NT: James 3:1- 12. The words we speak will haunt us through life.
Vv16-17 – Lady Folly’s invitation is identical to wisdom’s but she has made no preparations, no meat or wine, only stolen water. She has set no table or sent any messengers. She simply calls out to the simple because they need no discipline or careful preparation to attract them. The simple don’t set out to do wrong; they simply stray from a good path because they lack commitment to it.
V18 – The consequence for Folly’s guests is startling. They enter naively, not realizing that this is where the ‘dead’ reside. The Message puts it like this – ‘they don’t know about all the skeletons in her closet, that all her guests end up in hell.’ The point is that a lifestyle of undisciplined, immoral, riotous living runs counter to God’s plan of life and inevitably leads to death. Remember that Jesus warns people to avoid the broad way and to follow the narrow path of righteous, wise living (Matt. 7:13-14).
Something to think about
• What benefits does Lady Wisdom bring to her guests (vv7-12)?
• If you’ve got some time, read 1:20-33 or 8:1-36. How does the portrayal of Lady Wisdom in these other places reinforce the insights you’ve gained from Proverbs 9?
• Read Matt. 12:42; 1 Cor. 1:22-25, 30, and Col. 2:2-3. In what ways is it significant that Jesus is the ultimate source of wisdom for Christians?
• Every day we encounter many different voices vying for our attention, telling us how to live our lives. Proverbs 9 boils it down to two – Wisdom and Folly. Is it really that simple? Why or why not?
• Who do you know on your frontline or in you wider circle of friends who embodies the qualities of Lady Wisdom?
And in what circumstances have you encountered Lady Folly?
How might you emulate one and resist the other?
• Karen overheard some of her colleagues talking about her behind her back, calling her a snob, and accusing her of fawning over the bosses. She’s upset and angry, but is not sure whether to confront them, speak to the HR manager, or just leave it alone. Based on our reflections so far what would be the wise thing for Karen to do?

Prayer

• Confess the ways in which you are sometimes tempted to follow the way of
foolishness, and ask God to give you wisdom.

• Give thanks that God’s wisdom calls out and is available to all who choose it.

Worship

https://youtu.be/hSnzYnOe6kI
The Perfect Wisdom of Our God by Stuart Townend and Keith and Kristyn Getty
This is a song that might be new to us but it’s just lovely. I hope you enjoy it.
And if you want a bit of fun, try this! https://youtu.be/PQNczm45GyY a funky version of Be Thou my Vision by Rend Collective.
Here are the words for the first one.

The perfect wisdom of our God
Revealed in all the universe:
All things created by His hand
And held together at His command.
He knows the mysteries of the seas,
The secrets of the stars are His;
He guides the planets on their way
And turns the earth through another day.
The matchless wisdom of His ways
That mark the path of righteousness;
His word a lamp unto my feet,
His Spirit teaching and guiding me.
And O the mystery of the cross,
That God should suffer for the lost,
So that the fool might shame the wise,
And all the glory might go to Christ!
O grant me wisdom from above,
To pray for peace and cling to love,
And teach me humbly to receive
The sun and rain of Your sovereignty.
Each strand of sorrow has a place
Within this tapestry of grace;
So through the trials I choose to say:
“Your perfect will in Your perfect way.”