I don’t remember when the writings of Solomon, son of David, king of ancient Israel, began to have such a strong appeal to me, but it was at some point in my late teens. And I still probe the proverbs of Solomon to this day.
Today is the eighth of July, so today’s chapter is 8. Today Solomon personifies Wisdom and he makes it a woman! I’m gonna run the risk of being a sexist, like my mentor/sage Solomon, and start us with…a mind walk…
It was Day 6 in the creation story and nearly everything was done – Adam was done, but God said it wasn’t good that he should be alone, so he determined to create just one more being that would be a suitable counterpart to this man: God formed woman! This creation account tells us that God determined to make the man-creature in his image, both male and female – explicitly gender-reference terms – and when this piece was all done, he announced to the universe that it was very good. Not just good, but very good.
Pardon me while I suggest that woman was God’s crowning, artistically beautiful accomplishment in the creation narrative. Thank you, God, for what you done!
Now, back to Solomon, a couple thousand years post creation – so Wisdom is a woman. And, if you look ahead into Proverbs 9 – tomorrow’s reading – you’ll find another woman is introduced to the narrative, and Folly is her name – her full given name is Foolishness and she’s also known as Fool. In Chapter 8 we hear Wisdom calling out to those who pass by and in Chapter 9 we hear Folly calling out to those who pass by her…two stunningly beautiful women making promises to any who will listen to them. But, according to Solomon, the promises of Wisdom should be much more appealing to the discretionary heart.
Note: ladies, for your application, simply change the gender reference here and make Wisdom a handsome guy and Folly that hunk everyone’s talking about.
When I first started listening to Solomon, I heard him saying to me, “My son, if you’ll pay attention to what I have to say, your life will go so much better. And, if you reject what I have to say, you’ll experience some really painful consequences.” And I began to write my name above “my son” and own these writings as words of wisdom to me personally. And as my life rolled along, I began to recognize both of these beautiful women, Wisdom and Folly, and to recognize the sound of their voices as they make their arguments to me on why I should listen to each of them.
In Chapter 8, beautiful, stunning, gorgeous Wisdom tells me that she will bring fruit into my life that’s of greater value and beauty than either the finest of gold or the choicest of silver and then in Chapter 9 she invites me to a BBQ that she’s prepared and she’s serving the best wine with it.
Later in Chapter 9, this other gal named Folly starts going blah, blah, blah about stolen water and snack food – as if I’d prefer washing down some chips and pretzels and salted nuts with bottled water, over ribeye and salad and a baked potato and my choice of a bottle of Cabernet or merlot or shiraz.
Don’t get me wrong. This girl, Folly, is a doll, and she knows how to own it and flaunt it. She can definitely turn heads and get attention when she walks into a room. A bit brassy, but boy is she a looker! But this girl Wisdom, when she walks into a room…well, she just owns the room. And, when you get up close – and she is so approachable and open – you recognize she has all the knockout natural beauty and doesn’t rely on the splash and flash and flaunt to get attention.
I’ve made a few Foolish choices in my life. I’ve also watched a bunch of other folks chase Folly and the price is high when you catch that girl. I’ve concluded that listening to Wisdom may cost me more than I want to pay, but listening to Foolishness will cost me more than I can afford to pay. Foolishness will morally bankrupt me!
And I’ve lived long enough now to realize that just because I can get away with a little fling with Folly doesn’t make it right, or that it’ll play out well in my life. Folly might be flashy and popular and legal and socially acceptable, and a lot of people may be flirting with her, but this girl is dangerous, and she’ll kill me.
Welcome to my devotional world! I wouldn’t trade my girl Wisdom for all the paint and splash and flash in the universe. She means the world to me!
Dale Pratt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.