Proverbs 9 Prayer

Heavenly Father, blessed possessor of eternal wisdom, show me how to be wise to truth. Set my feet on the path that You have chosen, and fortify me with Your discipline that I may recognize foolishness in all its guises. Fill my heart with Your love and graciousness that I may eat from your banquet table, growing more like You with each day, and dwelling in the fullness of Your rich presence. Amen.



Proverbs 9:13-18 The Great Pretender

Sometimes it’s hard to determine what is true and right, and in our search for a better life, a wise life, we must be ever vigilant, ever discriminating, because foolishness dresses up as wisdom would do. She is the great pretender. She puts on her costume, recites her lines, and invites us in with trickery and dishonesty, only to entrap us with lies and deception.  She’s that person who we’ve all trusted and shouldn’t have, the direction we’ve taken that became a dead-end, the hope of change we’ve put our faith into that appeared to be something it was not, and that’s what this section of Proverbs 9 reminds me of, misplaced trust.

But it’s more than simple misplaced trust; it’s an active pursuit to mislead. There are so many voices shouting out for our attention, urging us to follow blindly the latest fads, telling us what the “cool” kids would or would not say, and asking us to accept without question the opinions of “enlightened” thinkers who can show us the way to a better world.  “Beware of the teachers of the law.” says Luke 20:46-47, “They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers.” Folly’s whole end-game is to steel our lives and to lead us into darkness. Therefore, we must consider the spirit of things; test their metal, to see who it is we are following.

Wisdom is of God, of His spirit and of His word, and as such is reflective of His character. Folly is not of God, and while she would have us believe that she is, when we scrutinize her actions, her behavior, the advice of 1 John 4:1 rings true: Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.



Proverbs 9:7-12 Pearls Before Swine

To understand this section of Proverbs 9, we need a clear understanding of the word scoffer. So what is a scoffer?  The word means: to show contempt by derisive acts or language; to treat or address with derision. In other words, it’s about mocking, sneering, or rejecting with vigorous contempt. Scoffers feel compelled to scorn and ridicule others, especially when confronted with anything that opposes their own narrow and most times self-righteous view of things. Wisdom tells us that correcting a scoffer will only bring us dishonor, that it is vain for us to attempt chastisement in the face of contempt, and that it is best left to God.


Just the other day, I had the choice between censuring someone for their unacceptable behavior, or just leaving it to God. I choose to scold, and let me tell you, it did not turn out very well – it never does. It didn’t solve anything, and I can guarantee that NOBODY learned a flippin’ thing from it. I don’t know why it is that sometimes we feel the need to take matters into our own hands. Maybe it’s our less-than-perfect nature, or maybe it’s just that we are so busy telling God and everyone how things ought to be that we forget to stop and listen, we overlook wisdom’s warning. In Matthew 7:6, we are advised: “Do not give what is holy to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces,” yet it seems that many times, we throw wisdom to the curb and run head-long into situations that are best left to God.

Many years ago, while I was going through a particularly difficult time in my life, I read somewhere that when you find yourself to be the object of derision, where you are constantly berated and belittled, you should find a quiet place to sit and contemplate this: If I were to find myself standing in front of my maker right now, would this be what He sees in me, would what so-and-so has said or done even matter, or change my relationship to Him? The answer is NO, of course it doesn’t, and maybe our benefit from learning wisdom’s way, our promise of a long and prosperous life, doesn’t have to involve giving ourselves a heart attack over fools who, in the end, really don’t matter in our lives!

It’s a comfort, the promise that Wisdom makes us; Wisdom rewards those who are wise, and those who scoff will suffer alone. Like a bee, extracting honey from every flower, learning begets more learning, and understanding creates more understanding. Proverbs 9:7-12 assures us that the old adage is true; what goes around comes around, you reap what you sow, for every action, there’s a reaction. The common thread here is a singular train of thought: What you put out into the world, you will surely get back, and the one who seeks wisdom is rewarded with it.



Proverbs 9:1-6 Wisdom’s Feast

In Matthew 22, Christ tells the parable of the King and the wedding banquet in which the king had prepared the feast (slaughtered his oxen and fat calves and mixed the wine), but those who had been invited refused to come, so he had his servants go out and gather people from the street corners to fill the wedding hall. This parable shares many of the same aspects as does Solomon’s tale of Wisdom’s feast. Wisdom has fashioned her seven pillars (principles) and prepared a place for us, has made everything ready, and stands by the door waiting for us to arrive.  The messengers have been sent forth, and are standing in the midst of our lives, calling out to us to take part in the banquet.

The goal is not to simply get to the table, but to eat from the table; to eat the bread and drink the wine that Wisdom has prepared. Wisdom’s table is not the culmination, but the commencement of the journey. Christ said to his disciples in John 6:26, “you seek me not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” Sitting at Wisdom’s table creates a hunger in us to “eat of the loaves,” to accept the bread of life and to drink of the cup of truth. And, the more we eat, the more we wish to eat, the more we understand, the more we wish to understand.

I just kept thinking of the Eucharist, of Christ blessing the bread, saying a prayer of thanksgiving for the wine, and noting how Holy Communion is connected to these passages Proverbs 9: “Come eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake all thoughtlessness and live; and walk in the way of understanding.”