Proverbs 9

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As we begin a new year, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the first 31 days of the year. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023. If you missed the first day’s reading or are looking for an overview of the book, click here to catch up!

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Read Proverbs 9

Invitations of Wisdom and Folly

Wisdom has built her house;
    she has set up its seven pillars.
She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
She has sent out her servants, and she calls
    from the highest point of the city,
    “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
    “Come, eat my food
    and drink the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways and you will live;
    walk in the way of insight.”

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
    whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
    rebuke the wise and they will love you.
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.

Go Deeper

Proverbs is well-known as a book of short verses of practical advice, which we will dive into starting tomorrow, but Proverbs 1-9 introduce us to the characteristics of the wise and foolish through the story of two women. We have met the characters of Wisdom and Folly (aka “the adulterous woman”) already in Proverbs 1-8, and Proverbs 9 brings them together in one chapter to give us a concise summary so we may recognize their call in our lives. We’ll take a look at the differences in these characters, and then dive into how that applies to our lives.

First, we see that wisdom values preparation; folly finds convenience. Wisdom prepares a place for those who are inexperienced, providing shelter and nourishment, investing in others. Folly, on the other hand, invests no effort, choosing to sit on her front porch and speak to those who happen by her way.

Next, we see that wisdom instructs; folly distracts. Wisdom broadcasts the call to come so that everyone can hear the invitation. She recognizes the cacophony of messages in this world and clearly tells all to come to her for help. Folly, meanwhile, distracts passers-by from their efforts, keeping them from their purpose.

Finally, wisdom offers meaning, but folly offers emptiness. Wisdom invites everyone to a safe place to learn truth and to live a meaningful life. Folly has nothing to offer but empty words and bad ideas that lead to death.

So we come to the end of this chapter with a good overview of the two paths we can choose. We can choose the path of Wisdom–an open invitation to come to a place intentionally prepared to meet all our needs and offering an abundant life. Or we can choose the path of Folly–a convenient option to the path of least resistance offering lies and emptiness. 

In our daily lives, this choice shows up in how we choose to spend our time, talents, and treasures. It may look like: the choice between doing what is right ethically or doing what is easy economically. It could be the difference between diving into God’s Word each morning or going back to sleep. Maybe it’s investing in a community need or buying something we don’t need. Or perhaps for you it’s arguing over worldly things instead of learning about Godly things. 

The choice between wisdom and folly started in the Garden of Eden and continues today. Jesus summarizes this situation in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Wisdom through God offers clarity to the confusion in this crazy broken world. We are called to refuse and avoid the convenience, distraction, and emptiness of folly that leads to confusion and emptiness. Instead, God calls us to wisdom–to value preparation, instruction, and truth guiding us to the meaningful life He designed for us. 


  1. Folly calls each of us at different times in different ways. Which tactic of Folly listed above tempts you the most?
  2. Which aspect of Wisdom can help you overcome Folly’s temptation?
  3. What is one choice you have to make between wisdom and folly this week?

By the Way

Check out what James (the half brother of Jesus) has to say about the topic of wisdom in James 3:13-18:

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

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4 thoughts on “Proverbs 9”

  1. [Nate shared an amazing message yesterday (1-8-23) at HC out of Proverbs that is well worth noting.]
    Looking at the opening verse of chapter 9, I was curious what the 7 pillars of wisdom in v1 referred to. explains it may refer to a home that is put in proper order complete & efficient. Therefore, wisdom brings us to a place of understanding and satisfaction, while folly provides temporary pleasure that later turns into pain and regret. What I must know is that my sinful nature will always be drawn to folly, but turning to Jesus and inviting his presence into my life brings power to resist temptation. James 1:5 says “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously without finding fault, and it will be given unto you.” I must humble myself before God and ASK. He enables me to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances, turning away from my self-centered nature to walk in his glorious light.

  2. Pride seems to be the reoccurring theme. When pride is showing up then all these other things seem to show up, lying, manipulating, gossiping, anger, ect, all of which cause folly BUT GOD brings wisdom from above through peace James 3:13-18 see the above “by the way”. What I am understanding better than ever is that when there is a problem, situation or thing happening going to the Word of God is how to figure out the solution with WISDOM. I know, duh, well it only takes me a few years ,LOL. That’s ok better late than never. Nate’s sermon was very good yesterday, great job sir!!! Humility was the word I got from today’s reading and yesterdays sermon. We must humbly come before God and ask for forgiveness first because most likely we tried to do it our way, then ask for that wisdom. We have to have the ears to hear and the eyes to be seeing from God’s word when He does show us.

    God I come before You asking for forgiveness. Thank You for taking out the log in my eye. Thank You for me being able to see the people around me with Your love goggles. God give me humility to be a fruity tree (Gal 5:22-23) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Thank You for Holy Spirit guidance for this day in Jesus name amen.

  3. Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars.
    I believe this statement further proves that wisdom is the representation of Christ because of the seven pillars of the New Testament; one Body, one Spirit, one Baptism, one Hope, one Lord, one God, one Faith. These are the foundation of the Gospel of Christ.
    I do not believe the mention of the seven pillars in Proverbs is happenstance.
    It is beautiful to see how Jesus Christ is introduced to us, long before His birth.

    Thank you God for giving us your word. I pray we would grow in the wisdom of Christ and that folly would be avoided.

  4. v. 8 convicted me in my reading: “rebuke the wise and they will love you.” Have I ever had that reaction to rebuke or correction? May I heed Wisdom’s calling and gratefully embrace rebuke, answering the call to “walk in the way of insight.”

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