Proverbs 9:13-18

Proverbs 9:13-18 "A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing. For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, To call passengers who go right on their ways: Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.  But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell."
Christian Church Buffalo NY Proverbs 9:13-18
What a conclusion to three chapters detailing the stark contrast between Wisdom and Foolishness!  In these final verses of chapter 9, Solomon teaches us the true nature of foolishness.  Because he is primarily writing to a young man, he chooses to communicate the nature of foolishness through romance but this nature can be applied to any aspect of life.  The nature of foolishness is completely opposite to the nature of virtue.

While wisdom appeals to a man’s APPETITE FOR TRUTH, foolishness appeals to a man’s CURIOSITY of the UNKNOWN.  While wisdom appeals to the SEARCHING NATURE of mankind, foolishness appeals to the SINFUL NATURE of mankind.  In Solomon’s words, Wisdom offers men the bread that she made and the wine that she mingled whereas the foolish woman suggests eating the bread and water that she stole.  Such a suggestion immediately captures a man’s curious nature.  Who did you steal it from?  How did you steal it?  When did you steal it?  Is someone looking for it?  Is it good?  What kind of woman are you?  What else are you willing to do?  The suggestion to eat stolen bread and water in secret excites spiritual hormones and triggers dark curiosity in the human soul.  This is the nature of foolishness.

Foolishness feeds on the curious nature of man.  Curiosity in itself is not a bad thing at all.  The problem comes when we don’t bridle our curiosity regarding the forbidden fruits of life.  When there was only one command to obey, Satan excited the curious mind of Eve to ultimately seduce her into eating the forbidden fruit in secret.  He fed her mind with thoughts of what it would be like if she had the knowledge of good and evil.  Imagining what life would be like with the knowledge of good and evil, she couldn’t resist fulfilling that curiosity.  When we’re told to not eat something, our curiosity can take us to dangerous places imagining what the fruit must taste like and what it must smell like.  When we’re told to not commit fornication or adultery, our curiosity can take us to dangerous places imagining what the experience must be like.  The real problem with our curiosity exists when it is combined with our corrupt nature.
 
Sadly, there is something about the corrupt nature of man that gets a thrill out of eating the forbidden fruit.  Something dark within us gets excited when we do something we’re not supposed to.  It’s not taught nor is it learned – it’s inherited.  Teenage boys get a rush when egging a car and running into the woods simply because they know they shouldn’t do it.  Adult women get a rush when kissing a married man simply because they know they shouldn’t do it.  There are countless examples in life where our corrupt nature combined with our curious nature leads to foolishness.  Since the beginning of time, countless souls have committed some form of fornication simply because they wanted to taste a forbidden fruit they were curious about.  For thousands of years, thieves have stolen and assaulters have beaten just because they wanted to see how it felt to do something they weren’t supposed to do.

Foolishness feeds on the curious and corrupt makeup of man. Even though Wisdom offers a much better product, more people choose foolishness over her because of the curious and corrupt nature of man.  If it weren’t for the nature of mankind, foolishness would be no match for wisdom.  In the passage, Wisdom offers mingled wine while the foolish woman offers tasteless water.  Wisdom offers a fully furnished table while the foolish woman offers but bread and water.  Wisdom offers a full course meal with maidens serving it while the foolish woman offers bread and water to be consumed alone.  At Wisdom’s house, you can eat in the presence of people while at the foolish woman’s house, you must eat in secret lest anyone see you.  At Wisdom’s house, you can eat with a clear conscious while at the foolish woman’s house, you must eat quickly and quietly lest the owner of the food or the authorities find you.  Wisdom house is full of food, people and stability with its seven pillars while the foolish woman’s house is dark, quiet and empty.
 
There should be no contest as to which house one would choose but for the curious and corrupt nature of man.  The foolish woman is mysterious, attractive and seductive.  She invites men to be bad and makes it sound so appealing.  She invites men to do something they know they shouldn’t do and that excites them.  Specific to the passage, stolen waters appear to be a reference to inappropriate romance.  In chapter 5, Solomon referred to a husband’s exclusive rights to his wife in terms of waters.  Stolen waters then would be taking another man’s exclusive physical rights to his wife, which is exactly what the strange woman of chapter 7 enticed the young man to do.  Foolishness appeals to a person’s curious and corrupt nature when it comes to adultery.

When applying this chapter specifically to romance, Solomon was teaching his son that he can find romance the right way or the wrong way; the wise way or the foolish way.  Wisdom will bring you the right romance, one that can be enjoyed publicly and shamelessly.  Foolishness will bring the wrong romance, one that must be partaken privately and secretly.  Wisdom will bring a romance that is truly yours whereas foolishness will bring a romance that is someone else’s.  With wisdom, romance doesn’t come with any fear or shame.  With foolishness, it’s a romance where you’re always looking over your shoulder.  The bad boy or bad girl may be appealing because of our curious and corrupt nature but it is not a romance that you will like.  The forbidden fruit may be a thrill to taste but the aftertaste is always bitter.

Solomon paints the picture with two basic options in life: wisdom OR foolishness.  One works hard building her house, carving her pillars, killing her beasts, mingling her wine and managing her employees while the other sits in a chair outside her house waiting for someone to eat food she stole.  One is kind, generous and pleasant while the other is intriguing, naughty and appealing.  One offers life (vs. 11) while the other results in death (vs. 18).  One keeps you out of trouble while the other gets you into trouble.  One offers you a life of hard-work and shameless companionship while the other offers you a life of short-cuts and life cut short.  Wisdom offers you long-term success while Foolishness offers you short-term thrill that ends in long-term regret.  

Which one should we choose?
Which one will you choose, wisdom or foolishness? 

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