Category Archives: Wisdom and Folly

Neither Be Nor Pursue the Harlot

Proverbs 7

The Wiles of the Harlot

1My son, keep my words
And treasure my commandments within you.

      2Keep my commandments and live,
And my teaching as the apple of your eye.

      3Bind them on your fingers;
Write them on the tablet of your heart.

      4Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
And call understanding your intimate friend;

      5That they may keep you from an adulteress,
From the foreigner who flatters with her words.

      6For at the window of my house
I looked out through my lattice,

      7And I saw among the naive,
And discerned among the youths
A young man lacking sense,

      8Passing through the street near her corner;
And he takes the way to her house,

      9In the twilight, in the evening,
In the middle of the night and in the darkness.

      10And behold, a woman comes to meet him,
Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.

      11She is boisterous and rebellious,
Her feet do not remain at home;

      12She is now in the streets, now in the squares,
And lurks by every corner.

      13So she seizes him and kisses him
And with a brazen face she says to him:

      14“I was due to offer peace offerings;
Today I have paid my vows.

      15“Therefore I have come out to meet you,
To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.

      16“I have spread my couch with coverings,
With colored linens of Egypt.

      17“I have sprinkled my bed
With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.

      18“Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning;
Let us delight ourselves with caresses.

      19“For my husband is not at home,
He has gone on a long journey;

      20He has taken a bag of money with him,
At the full moon he will come home.”

      21With her many persuasions she entices him;
With her flattering lips she seduces him.

      22Suddenly he follows her
As an ox goes to the slaughter,
Or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool,

      23Until an arrow pierces through his liver;
As a bird hastens to the snare,
So he does not know that it will cost him his life.

      24Now therefore, my sons, listen to me,
And pay attention to the words of my mouth.

      25Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways,
Do not stray into her paths.

      26For many are the victims she has cast down,
And numerous are all her slain.

      27Her house is the way to Sheol,
Descending to the chambers of death.

Do Not Abandon My Instruction; Keep My Commandments and Live

YHWH is a loving Father. Through Solomon, He urges us to pursue wisdom… His wisdom and not the “wisdom” of men. He spends several chapters in Proverbs focused on seeking and valuing wisdom. He also provides specific examples. Rather than me try to summarize or pick out a few key verses, I encourage each of us to read through it and reflect on it prayerfully. Pause and consider each line for a few moments. Don’t simply read through it quickly and move on. Seek wisdom. Start by seeking it in Proverbs today.

Proverbs 4

A Father’s Instruction

     1Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father,
And give attention that you may gain understanding,

      2For I give you sound teaching;
Do not abandon my instruction.

      3When I was a son to my father,
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,

      4Then he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live;

      5Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.

      6“Do not forsake her, and she will guard you;
Love her, and she will watch over you.

      7“The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;
And with all your acquiring, get understanding.

      8“Prize her, and she will exalt you;
She will honor you if you embrace her.

      9“She will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty.”

      10Hear, my son, and accept my sayings
And the years of your life will be many.

      11I have directed you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in upright paths.

      12When you walk, your steps will not be impeded;
And if you run, you will not stumble.

      13Take hold of instruction; do not let go.
Guard her, for she is your life.

      14Do not enter the path of the wicked
And do not proceed in the way of evil men.

      15Avoid it, do not pass by it;
Turn away from it and pass on.

      16For they cannot sleep unless they do evil;
And they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble.

      17For they eat the bread of wickedness
And drink the wine of violence.

      18But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.

      19The way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know over what they stumble.

      20My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.

      21Do not let them depart from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.

      22For they are life to those who find them
And health to all their body.

      23Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.

      24Put away from you a deceitful mouth
And put devious speech far from you.

      25Let your eyes look directly ahead
And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.

      26Watch the path of your feet
And all your ways will be established.

      27Do not turn to the right nor to the left;
Turn your foot from evil.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Rewards of Wisdom

The rewards of wisdom are to be esteemed and sought after, but let us clearly keep in mind that it is YHWH who defines godly wisdom which we seek. It is not worldly wisdom or the wisdom of men that we seek, for this is often corrupted and leads us away from YHWH.

Proverbs 3

The Rewards of Wisdom

1My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;

      2For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.

      3Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.

      4So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.

      5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

      6In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

      7Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

      8It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.

      9Honor the LORD from your wealth
And from the first of all your produce;

      10So your barns will be filled with plenty
And your vats will overflow with new wine.

      11My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD
Or loathe His reproof,

      12For whom the LORD loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

      13How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.

      14For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.

      15She is more precious than jewels;
And nothing you desire compares with her.

      16Long life is in her right hand;
In her left hand are riches and honor.

      17Her ways are pleasant ways
And all her paths are peace.

      18She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who hold her fast.

      19The LORD by wisdom founded the earth,
By understanding He established the heavens.

      20By His knowledge the deeps were broken up
And the skies drip with dew.

      21My son, let them not vanish from your sight;
Keep sound wisdom and discretion,

      22So they will be life to your soul
And adornment to your neck.

      23Then you will walk in your way securely
And your foot will not stumble.

      24When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

      25Do not be afraid of sudden fear
Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes;

      26For the LORD will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught.

      27Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
When it is in your power to do it.

      28Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,
When you have it with you.

      29Do not devise harm against your neighbor,
While he lives securely beside you.

      30Do not contend with a man without cause,
If he has done you no harm.

      31Do not envy a man of violence
And do not choose any of his ways.

      32For the devious are an abomination to the LORD;
But He is intimate with the upright.

      33The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.

      34Though He scoffs at the scoffers,
Yet He gives grace to the afflicted.

      35The wise will inherit honor,
But fools display dishonor.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Those Who Reject YHWH’s Wisdom Will “Eat the Fruit of Their Own Way”

YHWH offers us wisdom, if we seek it and accept it. Those who reject it in favor of going their own way will “eat the fruit of their own way”, they will suffer the consequences of rejecting His wisdom in favor of their own “wisdom”.

Keep in mind, the Bible is written to those who are called by His name, not to the pagans who have rejected Him. He is speaking to us, His people. It is us who He warns to choose His wisdom rather than following the world’s way of thinking or our own.

There is much hurt and damage done in the lives of people around us that we can see and much more most of us never see or fully understand. We do well to seek our Father’s wisdom and do things His way, even when it is different than what we think is best. This will make us peculiar and different from others who blend with the world even while they claim the name of YHWH and Yeshua.

Proverbs 1:20-33

Wisdom Warns

     20Wisdom shouts in the street,
She lifts her voice in the square;

      21At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:

      22“How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge?

      23“Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.

      24“Because I called and you refused,
I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;

      25And you neglected all my counsel
And did not want my reproof;

      26I will also laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes,

      27When your dread comes like a storm
And your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.

      28“Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,

      29Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the LORD.

      30“They would not accept my counsel,
They spurned all my reproof.

      31“So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way
And be satiated with their own devices.

      32“For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them.

      33“But he who listens to me shall live securely
And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Avoid the Enticement of Sinners

For some this message may seem obvious, but for others, you need to hear the message and take it to heart. There will always be people who try to draw you into their own sinful lifestyle and choices. Sometimes it may be obvious in terms of things we call illegal in today’s society like what is laid out in Proverbs 1, but other times it may be subtle, even within a church or people who claim to or actually want to follow Yeshua. We must carefully study the word and test everything not against “what everyone else is doing”, and not against “what the preacher in a church teaches”, but against YHWH’s written word in the Bible. We do well to also seek the insight of the Holy Spirit to guide us through prayer and supplication.

In the end, whenever we make choices to follow those who entice us to sin or follow a path that is not the LORD’s, it is our own life we ambush and our relationship with the Father. Do not remain around those who entice you to sin. Separate from them.

Proverbs 1:8-19

The Enticement of Sinners

     8Hear, my son, your father’s instruction
And do not forsake your mother’s teaching;

      9Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head
And ornaments about your neck.

      10My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent.

      11If they say, “Come with us,
Let us lie in wait for blood,
Let us ambush the innocent without cause;

      12Let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
Even whole, as those who go down to the pit;

      13We will find all kinds of precious wealth,
We will fill our houses with spoil;

      14Throw in your lot with us,
We shall all have one purse,”

      15My son, do not walk in the way with them.
Keep your feet from their path,

      16For their feet run to evil
And they hasten to shed blood.

      17Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net
In the sight of any bird;

      18But they lie in wait for their own blood;
They ambush their own lives.

      19So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence;
It takes away the life of its possessors.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Proverbs Contains Much Timeless Wisdom we should Study

Wisdom is valuable beyond measure. We should seek our Creator’s wisdom rather than the “wisdom” of man. The book of Proverbs is a great place to read through repeatedly to reflect on YHWH’s timeless wisdom.

Proverbs 1:1-6

The Usefulness of Proverbs

     1The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:

      2To know wisdom and instruction,
To discern the sayings of understanding,

      3To receive instruction in wise behavior,
Righteousness, justice and equity;

      4To give prudence to the naive,
To the youth knowledge and discretion,

      5A wise man will hear and increase in learning,
And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

      6To understand a proverb and a figure,
The words of the wise and their riddles.

      7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Seeking Wisdom From The One Who Is Truly Wise

Truly if you want wisdom, do not look to universities and degrees in higher learning, though those may have some value, but instead look to the Lord and ask Him humbly for the wisdom you seek. Pursue it in study of the scriptures and prayer and God will give it to you in the measure and time He deems appropriate.

Do not seek it though to accomplish your own plans and desires for you own glory, but the Lord’s plans for His glory through you. Do not ask for it expecting Him not to give it either, but rather expect and trust that He will grant what you ask.

2 Chronicles 1

Solomon’s Prayer for Wisdom

     8Solomon said to God, “You have dealt with my father David with great lovingkindness, and have made me king in his place. 9“Now, O LORD God, Your promise to my father David is fulfilled, for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10“Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?” 11God said to Solomon, “Because you had this in mind, and did not ask for riches, wealth or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor have you even asked for long life, but you have asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may rule My people over whom I have made you king, 12wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you. And I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed nor those who will come after you.” 13So Solomon went from the high place which was at Gibeon, from the tent of meeting, to Jerusalem, and he reigned over Israel.

James 1:5-8

    5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Remove Grief and Anger From Your Heart

Ecclesiastes 11 is an interesting chapter. He seems to suddenly give financial advice. I would need to reflect or study longer on verse 1, but in verse 2 he is clearly talking about diversifying assets / investments. He then seems to lay out some principles about rain and trees which seem to indicate that there are simply some things we cannot predict perfectly or control. It builds upon the end of verse 2.I find it particularly on point when he points out that those of us who are looking for a perfect time to do something, he refers to sowing seed, may never have a harvest. If we always wait for the perfect time, it never comes.

He then ties it back in towards YHWH by reminding us that just as in these events (e.g. rain, wind, trees falling, etc.), we will not always understand the will of YHWH, our Father.

He finishes the financial advice by encouraging us to diversify again. Do not sow all your seed in the morning or evening, but do both.

He then pivots in verse 7 and highlights that we should enjoy the good times in life because there will certainly be hard times. I think he gives forth bad advice in verse 9, encouraging us to follow the impulses of our heart and then promptly warns us that we will be judged by YHWH for these actions. Following impulses by our hearts is plain bad advice. Perhaps he did not mean it the way it sounds. After all, he clearly warns that we will be judged for it.

Jeremiah 17:9

   9“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?

Clearly we should not “follow our hearts, but rather YHWH himself”.

He closes with some very good advice to not let grief and anger in our heart pull down our joy in life. Life is fleeting and we must not waste it on our own impulses or on grief and anger in our heart.

Ecclesiastes 11

Cast Your Bread on the Waters

      1Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days. 2Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. 3If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies. 4He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. 5Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.

      6Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.

      7The light is pleasant, and it is good for the eyes to see the sun. 8Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything that is to come will be futility.

      9Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things. 10So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Reflections on Wisdom and Folly

Reading and fully digesting Ecclesiastes can be challenging for sure. It appears on the surface a very cynical look back by a wise king on a long life in which he has pursued purpose and meaning. In the end of the whole matter he concludes in Ecclesiastes 12 that the only thing which has real purpose is to fear YHWH and obey his commandments.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

      13The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

I have found it important to keep this conclusion in mind when I am sifting through the book of Ecclesiastes. I encourage you to read it searching for valuable treasure in bits of wisdom that can help you still in your life  today. Some of it seems counter to what we would expect… dwell on it. Ask the Lord to open your eyes and grant you understanding. Do not just breeze through it and expect to harvest the full value.

Ecclesiastes 7

Wisdom and Folly Contrasted

      1A good name is better than a good ointment,
And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.

      2It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.

      3Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.

      4The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.

      5It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man
Than for one to listen to the song of fools.

      6For as the crackling of thorn bushes under a pot,
So is the laughter of the fool;
And this too is futility.

      7For oppression makes a wise man mad,
And a bribe corrupts the heart.

      8The end of a matter is better than its beginning;
Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.

      9Do not be eager in your heart to be angry,
For anger resides in the bosom of fools.

      10Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.

      11Wisdom along with an inheritance is good
And an advantage to those who see the sun.

      12For wisdom is protection just as money is protection,
But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.

      13Consider the work of God,
For who is able to straighten what He has bent?

      14In the day of prosperity be happy,
But in the day of adversity consider—
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.

      15I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness. 16Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? 17Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 18It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.

      19Wisdom strengthens a wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city. 20Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. 21Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you. 22For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.

      23I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it? 25I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. 26And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.

      27“Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to another to find an explanation, 28which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these. 29“Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.”

I find much wisdom to think on in this chapter. I find also some hard verses that require more consideration.

16Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? 17Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time?

How can one be excessively righteous or wise? and why would this be a bad thing? Righteousness and wisdom are good things to pursue. I can imagine that pursuit of righteousness through our own deeds can lead to legalism, but he does not specifically say that is what he means. We are left to speculate and reflect and ask the LORD to show us.

Why say do not be excessively wicked? Why not simply say do not be wicked?  I think for this one perhaps he is referring to a lifestyle that will result in your premature death as a possible result of your wickedness, but it is an interesting statement.

He is genuinely reflecting on life more than simply identifying a moral path for us to follow in life. We do well to both reflect on life and put our faith and trust in the LORD and his written word in the Bible to guide us in how we should live.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.