Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: https://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Proverbs 9 (NIV)
Invitations of Wisdom and Folly
9 Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars. 2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table.
3 She has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city, 4 “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, 5 “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. 6 Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.” 7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. 8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. 9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. 12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer. 13 Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing. 14 She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, 15 calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way, 16 “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says,17 “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” 18 But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.
In practical terms, what is the difference between the wise man and the mocker?
Lord, becoming wise is a continual process of learning and gaining wisdom. That is not true for the foolish mocker. Foolish people are not tolerant of any criticism or suggestions and they react to criticism with insults, abuse, and hate. Mockers challenge you to answer, not because they want to know the truth but because they have already pronounced you guilty. If I try to help a fool, it will only lead to anger and hatred of me. If I correct a wise man, he will respect that and learn from it, eventually thanking me for the help. The wise are genuinely looking for answers and are willing to put in the work to learn and grow. Help me, Lord to discern those people who will receive correction and those who will not. I don’t want to be like the fool. I know that sometimes, my natural reaction to criticism is that I get hurt and want to justify myself. Forgive me. Increase my wisdom and enable me to hear constructive criticism and grow through it by having a right relationship with You. Help me to be open and hungry to keep learning and to listen to all sides of situations. Lord, give me the wisdom to be constructive when I give criticism and gracious when I receive it. Amen.