Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Lady Wisdom's Invitation

Leslie Basham: After a long study of Proverbs, Nancy Leigh DeMoss comes to this conclusion:

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Wisdom can be easily seen and heard by all. If you don’t have wisdom, it’s not because it’s not available; it’s because you haven’t been looking for it, or you’ve seen it, and you haven’t responded to it. You’ve rejected it.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, August 25.

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks in an important series that affects all areas of life. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrapping up that series, The Way of Wisdom.

Nancy: As we come to the end of this series on wisdom, we’re looking at Proverbs chapter 9. Two women in Proverbs chapter 9 kind of summarize the first eight chapters of the book of Proverbs. I’m going to call them Lady Wisdom and Madam Folly. Lady Wisdom and Madam Folly each issue an invitation. Each of these women invites the young men, the simple, gullible, naïve men who are listening to a feast at her house, but the outcome of their invitation is very different.

Proverbs 9, verse 1: “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.” Now here, Lady Wisdom is portrayed as, of all things, a homemaker, and we’re going to see that this woman is responsible. She’s industrious both in the big picture, verse 1, we see her building a house, down to the littlest detail, in the next verse, of setting the table. So in the big picture and the little details of life, she is creating an atmosphere in her home conducive to helping people who come into her home learn wisdom.

Now, I don’t want to stretch this text beyond its intended application, but I think it would not be a poor application to say that God uses women in the context of their homes to be teachers of wisdom. There’s something very powerful about the model of a woman as a homemaker. That doesn’t mean that women don’t function in other spheres as well; it doesn’t mean women don’t have other roles. But both married and single women can have a huge ministry of helping others learn wisdom as we minister and serve through our homes.

When you’re building your home, when you’re decorating your home, when you’re preparing a meal, when you’re doing laundry, when you’re setting the table, when you’re maintaining and caring for and managing your home, don’t underestimate the value that may have, those little things that they may have in helping you to train others in the way of wisdom.

Listen, your kids or your guests or your husband or friends coming into your house, if your house is a disaster perpetually, if you don’t learn basics of cleanliness, and basics of meal preparation . . . You don’t have to be a gourmet cook; you don’t have to have everything looking like this picture-perfect house by any means. You want your house to look lived in; you want people to be comfortable in it. But if it’s always a disaster, do you think your children and friends are really going to be eager to be there? Do you think your children are going to learn well principles of orderliness and discipline?

God is a God who brings order out of chaos. He did it back in Genesis chapter 1. He brought order out of chaos, and that’s one thing that homemaking can do. It can bring order to surroundings.

Now, again, I don’t want to put anybody on a guilt trip because I don’t want to go on a guilt trip. If you could see my study at the moment right now, it’s more chaos than order. But I think there’s something very powerful about the influence and the example of a woman making a home that is a place where people can be encouraged and refreshed and instructed in the ways of God.

“Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.” Seven pillars, that’s a large house. I think in the context of the book of Proverbs, that’s a picture of the wonderful, magnificent, huge blessings that accompany wisdom—not necessarily material blessings, though that may be, but spiritual blessings, relational blessings, emotional blessings, wholeness of life, blessings that come from building a wise life and home.

“Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.” Now, let me say I applied this verse a moment ago to women as homemakers, but I want to say I think the bigger application here is that this is an invitation that we’re going to see from Christ Himself. Christ is the ultimate home maker. Christ is the true wisdom of God. That’s what we read about in the New Testament. Everything we’ve been reading about in Proverbs and in the Old Testament about wisdom is fulfilled in Christ.

So as you seek to get wisdom, get to Christ. Christ has built a home. He has built this spacious place for us. He says, “In My Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2, NKJV). He’s issuing a call. He is wisdom, and He is issuing a call to those of us who are foolish and simple and needy to come to His home, to come to his wisdom. We’ll see that call in just a moment.

Verse 2: Lady Wisdom "has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.”

She’s preparing things at home before she tries to influence others to choose the pathway of wisdom. Don’t try to teach your children to love Christ or think they will respond to your teaching if your house is a disaster, if your surroundings are always a disaster.

Now, I know there are moments, and there may be seasons, and you may be in a season of life where keeping your house orderly isn’t the number one priority. It isn’t the number one priority, but it is a priority—preparing meals and preparing a home, a context in which you can influence others to want to follow the pathway of wisdom.

Verse 3: Lady Wisdom “has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town.”

And what are these servants saying? Elsewhere, wisdom herself issues this call. Verse 4: “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here.”

Now, you’ll notice in verse 4 and then in verse 16 that both Lady Wisdom and Madam Folly say the same thing, initially. “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here.”

Wisdom says, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here.”

Folly says, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here.”

Wisdom and folly are both issuing an invitation to those who are simple, naïve, gullible, those who lack judgment.

Wisdom calls out in this paragraph. She broadcasts her message.

I was thinking as I was studying this passage about how Christian broadcasting is a means in our country by which Lady Wisdom calls out. Some of you here, you’re teaching in your church, you've Christian radio, you’re wisdom calling out, but you don’t do anything about it. You continue going your own way.

So, to the one who lacks sense, wisdom calls out. She’s intentional. She’s earnest in calling out. She calls out from the highest places in the town. Wisdom can be easily seen and heard by all. If you don’t have wisdom, it’s not because it’s not available; it’s because you haven’t been looking for it, or you’ve seen it, and you haven’t responded to it. You’ve rejected it. Wisdom is available. She calls out from the highest places in the town.

And what does she say? Verse 5: “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.”

As I meditated on this passage numbers of times in recent weeks, I realized this is an Old Testament gospel invitation. It’s the gospel invitation that you see throughout the Scripture, Christ saying, “Come to Me.”

You read it in Isaiah 55: “Ho, everyone who is thirsty, come to Me and drink” (verse 1, paraphrased).

You read it in John chapter 7, where Jesus stands up at the last day, that last day, that great day of the feast, and He says, “Everyone who is thirsty, let him come to Me” (verse 37, paraphrased).

You read it in the last chapter of Revelations chapter 22: “Whoever is thirsty, let him come” (verse 17, NIV).

If you’re thirsty, you’re hungry, you’re needy, Christ calls, and He says, “Come to Me.” Christ, the wisdom of God, He says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.”

What does that make you think of? The Lord’s Supper; the Lord’s Table. Christ invites us to come, to partake of Himself, to take Him as our wisdom. When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we partake of His body and His blood, represented by the bread and the wine, and He says, “Come, eat of Me. Come, drink of Me. Come, partake of Me. Come, take Me into you. Come, let Me be a part of you. Take My wisdom.”

Colossians 2 tells us that in Christ "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (verse 3).  Everything you will ever know about wisdom and knowledge is found ultimately in Christ.

So, wisdom says, “Leave your simple ways,” verse 6, “and live, and walk in the way of insight.” And that’s the gospel invitation. “Come, eat of My bread; come, drink of the wine I’ve mixed. Come to Me.” Come to Christ. Leave your simple ways and live.

What is leaving mean? It’s repenting. You’ve been going your own way. You’ve been going a foolish way, and wisdom, through Lady Wisdom, is personified here as wisdom, but through Christ, calls out to us and says, “Repent from going your own way. Leave your simple ways. Leave your foolish ways, and instead walk in the way of insight. Walk in the way of wisdom.”

Listen, in order to come, you have to be willing to leave your foolish ways. That’s why Paul said to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians chapter 1, “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (verse 9).

You want wisdom? It means you’ve got to come to Christ for that wisdom, and in order to come to Him, you have to leave your foolish and simple ways, and you will live.

Many people today—dare I say most—do not accept this invitation.

I want us to go back, just for a moment, to Proverbs chapter 1 and listen to what happens when people refuse to accept the gospel invitation.

Wisdom says in Proverbs 1, verse 24:

Because I have called and you refused to listen, I have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me” (verses 24-28

Ladies, there’s a time to come to Christ. There’s a time to say “Yes” to Christ. There’s a time to respond to His invitation. There’s a time to seek Him with all your heart, but if you don’t seek Him while it is yet day, the night of God’s judgment will come—you do not know when.

I was listening to a story just this week of a 33-year-old woman who was killed in a tragic automobile accident. Thankfully, she knew Christ. Three years ago she responded to God’s gospel invitation and came to Christ. You don’t know when your life will be snuffed out, and you will face the judgment of God if you have not said “Yes” to Christ.

Then they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all of my reproof, therefore they shall eat of the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devises. For the simple are killed by their turning away from wisdom, and the complacency of fools destroys them [thinking, “I can turn tomorrow. I can do it next week. I can do it when I’m older.] but whoever listens to me [whoever listens to wisdom; whoever listens to Christ] will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster” (Proverbs 9:28-33).

As we come to the last paragraph of Proverbs chapter 9, verses 13 to 18, we see a whole different kind of woman and a whole different way of living.

Now, the verses in between, the middle of the chapter here, are really the consequences of accepting one or the other of these two invitations. So, the beginning of the chapter, you have Lady Wisdom’s invitation. At the end of the chapter, you have Madam Folly’s invitation, and sandwiched in between, you have the consequences—what will happen if you heed wisdom, and what will happen if you heed folly.

Beginning in verse 13, we read about Madam Folly: “The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive—or full of simpleness—and she knows nothing.”

We’re going to see that this woman is a wayward woman. It’s interesting that she’s calling out to a young man to become sexually immoral. As you read through these first several chapters of the book of Proverbs, I think you come to the inescapable conclusion that sexual immorality is not the only kind of folly, but is the height of folly.

If you don’t turn to wisdom, if you persist in your foolishness, ultimately you may find yourself engaged in sexual immorality. Sexual immorality rarely starts out as the first kind of folly that someone falls into. Chances are they left the pathway of wisdom long before. They made other kinds of compromises and ended up in sexual immorality, which is the height of foolishness.

So this woman Folly, this Madam Folly is loud. She’s seductive and knows nothing. I think the NIV says there, “she is undisciplined and without knowledge.”

Madam Folly is just like the people she’s appealing to. She’s simple. She’s naïve. She’s gullible. She’s ignorant, just like the guests she’s trying to lure into her trap

Verse 14: “She sits at the door of her house.” She, too, has a house, but she’s using her house for very different purposes than Lady Wisdom. Notice that lady Wisdom, in earlier parts of Proverbs, stands. She goes out into the places of the city to call out to foolish people. Madam Folly sits.

Now, again, there’s nothing wrong with sitting at times, but it’s just interesting that she’s portrayed here as being kind of lazy. She just sits around. “She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way.” She calls out to people who are going one direction, and she’s trying to lure them into coming off that main road into her house. Like Lady Wisdom, Madam Folly is intentional about trying to draw in those who are simple.

Let me just say again: Those of you who are moms, you’ve got to be intentional in calling your children to wisdom because if you aren’t, I can guarantee you that the world will be intentional about calling them to folly. They can’t go anywhere in the world today, including around some of their Christian friends, without having folly call out to them, “Do this. Do this. Do this.” If you’re not intentional about calling them to wisdom, the world will be intentional about calling them to folly.

Verse 16, what does Madam Folly say? The same thing that Lady Wisdom said, initially: “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here! And to him who lacks sense"—now we come to verse 17. Her message is very different than Lady Wisdom’s. Remember what was Lady Wisdom’s message? “Leave your foolish ways and live and walk in the way of wisdom—repent, turn from going your foolish way” (see verse 6). That was what wisdom said.

What does Madam Folly say in verse 17? “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” “I have something good for you.” She tempts these ignorant, gullible, naïve, foolish passersby, calls out to them to commit sin, to indulge their flesh, but she offers this temporary thrill, this delight. “Stolen water is sweet; bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

Does that make you think of another tempter? Genesis chapter 3, the serpent said to the woman: “See that fruit? That tree? It’s appealing to the eyes. It’s desirable to make one wise. If you taste that . . . yes, I know God said, ‘Don’t,’ but if you do, you’ll become like God. You’ll be able to discern for yourself good from evil. You’ll be able to decide for yourself what’s right and wrong.”

He held this out, and when the woman saw that it was appealing, it was attractive, it was a tree to be desired to make one wise—it didn’t look like it was crawling with worms. Madam Folly makes foolishness look very attractive.

Stolen water is a picture here of sexual intimacy. In Proverbs 5, we read about sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife, appropriate, godly, holy sexual intimacy. In Proverbs 5, that kind of intimacy in marriage is likened to drinking pure water from a flowing fountain. But here, Madam Folly entices the simple to drink water from someone else’s fountain, water that doesn’t belong to you, to taste of something that’s stolen. It’s not yours to have.

So Madam Folly cries out to young people, men, women, and older people as well today. I’m hearing about illicit, horrible immorality going on in retirement centers in the state of Florida. It almost doesn’t matter what age you are. Madam Folly cries out and says, “You can have what doesn’t belong to you, and it will be sweet.” So people by the millions and millions are listening to Madam Folly and are partaking.

It’s the lure of the forbidden, the clandestine, the secretive. “Bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” Most people aren’t willing to commit adultery in public. Now people are getting more and more brazen and brash about it all, but usually where there’s immorality, there’s also deception.

People who are immoral are liars. You can count on it. If they’re being immoral, they are deceiving. If your young people are involved in fornication, they are not telling you the truth, most likely. If your mate is involved in an affair, if you’re involved in an affair (and I don’t know why they call it an affair, because that makes it sound like a really nice thing), if you’re involved in a sexually immoral relationship, if you’re committing adultery, chances are you’re deceiving, you’re lying—“Bread eaten in secret.”

But Madam Folly doesn’t focus on the clandestine aspect or the sinful aspect. She focuses on the delight, the pleasant aspect of it, the sweetness of it.

“But,” verse 18, this young man who listens to her, “does not know that the dead are there.” Where? In her house, where she’s inviting him to come. “The dead are there; her guests are in the depths of Sheol”—that’s the place of the departed dead.

These people think they’re coming to a feast, but they end up at a funeral, and that’s what sexual sin does. That’s what foolishness does. Madam Folly offers immediate gratification, but he doesn’t know that he’s going to a funeral.

Lady Wisdom, by contrast, calls people to a way that is hard: “Leave your foolish ways,” but it’s a way that offers long-term blessing.

You want your fun now, or do you want long-term blessing? You can have your fun now and have death later, or you can pay the price of turning from your foolishness now and end up with long-term eternal blessing.

The end of Lady Wisdom’s invitation is life—“turn from your foolish ways and live.” The result of Madam Folly is death. Take your pick.

As we close this series, I just want to point out something that struck me from the book of Proverbs over these last weeks, and that is that wisdom is literally a matter of life and death.

Listen to some of these verses:

  • Proverbs 3, verse 18: “Wisdom is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her.”
  • But Proverbs 1, verse 32: “The simple are killed by their turning away and the complacency of fools destroys them.”
  • Proverbs 13, verse 14: “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life that one may turn away from the snares of death.”
  • Proverbs 21:16: “One who wanders from the way of good sense will rest in the assembly of the dead.”
  • Proverbs 13:13: “Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.”

I hope that you’ve seen during this series that the way of folly, the way of wickedness results in various ways in disaster, in destruction, and ultimately, if you never choose the pathway of wisdom, folly will take you to death, eternal death, if you don’t choose Christ who is God’s wisdom.

Conversely, the way of wisdom, the way of righteousness will lead you to life, to peace, to reward, and to blessing.

So, which will you have? Are you going to keep walking in the way of folly? You may end up at your own funeral. Or are you going to walk in the way of wisdom? Come to the feast and live.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been passing on an incredible invitation. Wisdom invites you to come, learn, and experience true life.

During this series, The Way of Wisdom, you’ve had a chance to take us up on a special offer. When you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts, you’ll get a copy of the workbook Nancy co-authored with Tim Grissom and the staff of Life Action Ministries. It’s called Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.”

When you spend time in the study each day, you’ll gain godly wisdom. Searching the Bible on practical topics, you’ll find yourself making wise choices and truly living life the way God intended.

Today’s the final day we’re making this offer. Donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts, and we’ll send Seeking Him to you. Call us at 1-800-569-5959, or donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Mary Kassian picks up on the book of Proverbs tomorrow to talk about wisdom, foolishness, and girls gone wild. Please join us tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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