Tag Archives: folly

True Value

Proverbs 3:15

“She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”

More Precious Than Rubies

On 7 November 2000 a gang of criminals used a JCB excavator to ram their way into the vault area of the Millennium Dome in London. Their target was the De Beers diamond exhibition where the Millennium Star diamond valued at more than £200 million ($320 million) was one of several precious stones on view. Unfortunately for the gang they had been under police surveillance for some considerable time. The diamonds were substituted with worthless fakes prior to the robbery. On the day that the gang struck, the Millennium Dome was awash with undercover police officers. All the gang members were arrested, including one manning a powerboat on the River Thames, which was to have been the getaway vehicle.

The Value of Wisdom

The Millennium Dome gang were distinctly lacking in wisdom. Instead, folly driven by greed led them in an attempt to steal a diamond that would have been impossible to trade for cash.

What price wisdom? Solomon knew, and attempted to portray the priceless nature of wisdom in Proverbs 3:15. All the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. The message is that wisdom is to be valued above anything and everything this world can offer. But wisdom is not found on display behind armored glass. It cannot be bought, but is a treasure that has to be sought over time.

The word used by Solomon for rubies also translates as pearls. Jesus used a priceless pearl to illustrate a parable in Matthew 13:45-46:

 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

What do you value more than anything?

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When to Answer the Fool

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. -Proverbs 26:5, KJV

This is a fairly easy verse to understand: tell someone when they are doing something wrong, otherwise they may think they have it all figured out and are doing nothing wrong.

I could stop there, but perhaps some examples could help.

Children need to be told what is right and wrong, or they grow up thinking everything they do is okay and even good, if they survive! (My parents told me not to run I to the street, for example.)

A gossip will continue spreading lies and mistruths unless they are confronted and corrected.

Most importantly, people are on their way to Hell, thinking they are okay or even right in their beliefs, unless the Gospel is shared with them.

There are times to know when to stop and “shake the dust off your feet,” as mentioned in the previous verse or by Jesus Himself (Matthew 10, Luke 9, Mark 6). That is for another post!


Apostolic vs. Appropriated

Two ladies call out to the world in Proverbs 9: Wisdom and Folly.

The difference is actually striking.

[Wisdom] has sent her young women to call from the highest places
Proverbs 9:3

Wisdom sent her followers to the high places, the important places, to call to others.

Did you know the Greek word for “sent” is apestalmena, where we get the word for apostle: one who is sent?

Now look at Folly:

[Folly] takes a seat on the highest places
Proverbs 9:14

Folly takes the highest place, the most important place.

What Is the Difference?

When done apostolically, there is humility. Wisdom does not assume superiority (even when true) over other others but serves others.

Folly assumes superiority and appropriates what is neccessary – takes the important places, often by force and/or deception. There may be a false humility that can be attractive to others, but the true motivations tend to be selfish.

“When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 14:8‭-‬11, NKJV


The Avengers ride again!

admission-2974645_1920I had a hot date last night. 

Actually, it was a little chilly in the restaurant, so Bob (gentleman that he is) had me put on his jacket.  After dinner, we went to our town’s local Century 6 for a quick game of foosball in their arcade room, then entered with several others into the Marvel Universe to watch yet the next installment of the Avengers. 

Yeah, we’re old.  No apologies.

And no spoilers here, so don’t worry if you haven’t seen it, not that I’m recommending it, (because I’m not).  I’m sure there are plenty of critiques flying around anyway so folks can do their own research if so inclined.  As with any of these flicks, there are elements both worthy and otherwise.  The take-away for me might be a little different, however—it seems like even Hollywood admits (whether or not they realize it) that when you set yourself up as God, you end up destroying life instead of giving it.

Thanos is a really bad guy, the quintessential, hyper-super-villain.  He does more than tie the damsel to the railroad tracks; he does it to the whole universe.  It’s a superb perversion of the biblical concept of life from death, since this self-proclaimed protector thinks there are too many beings for the universe to support, so his plan is to kill off about half of us, but randomly, so that it’s “fair”.  This is his divine mission, bringing more life to those who remain. (Naturally, he’s not one of the random.) 

Thankfully, if you listen closely amid all the explosions in space, there is a short conversation between this erstwhile savior and his adopted yet defected “daughter” when she says that she had been happier with her own parents, despite their poverty.  Before Thanos off’ed them along with half of her planet, that is.  His concept of life from death really just ends in death—of the soul and heart, as well as the body.

And God is about life.  Always. 

In another screenplay, the concepts of Life and Death are also superbly contrasted in chapter nine of Proverbs.  In fact, they are seen as two women, both vying for our undivided attention, both calling from their respective domiciles, both with enticing offers:

Wisdom has built her house…
She has prepared a great banquet,
    mixed the wines, and set the table…
“Come, eat my food,
    and drink the wine I have mixed.

And her counterpart, Folly, has done the same:

The woman named Folly is brash.
    She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.
She sits in her doorway
    on the heights overlooking the city…

 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple.

door-3264790_1920This is a drama being played out like no other, 24/7. There is no stopping up my ears, either; will I choose Door #1, or Door #2…??  

Thanos is waiting behind one of them, so I’d better choose wisely.

Proverbs 9:1-2,5,13-14,16 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Seeing Your Map

Proverbs 14:8

The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.”

Asking Directions

One of the most common jokes in the Western Culture (primarily North America and Europe) is that men are not good at asking directions. There is much truth in this.

Men feel sufficient in their ability to find their way around if they have a map … and many time they may even forgo the map! Sometimes, it is because of their pride that they can not admit to not understanding the map.

In other words, they often end up even more lost as they lie about what they do not actually know.

And men are not alone. I have known several women just as guilty of this as many men.

Only after properly consulting the map or asking for directions can someone who is lost find their destination.

Your map

The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way …

A wise person would heed the call of the gospel message: we are all guilty of sin; we all think we are on our way to happiness (or at least that it can not get much worse than this life), but we are on our way to eternal sorrow and destruction; and God stepped down in the Person Jesus of Nazareth to save us from our sin by dying on the cross and raising back to life three days later.

A wise person would realize he or she is lost and accept the offer of directions. The map of our lives is entirely in God’s hands, but we choose our path.

The foolish person will never admit to being lost and will settle on the lie that, if there is a map, we are in complete control of our own destiny and make our own map. This person settles on the lie that we can be our own gods, or that there is no God, or that god is whatever we make of it.

We can either understand our way or live in the lie, deceiving ourselves to our doom.

Are you wise or foolish?

Heavenly Father, break through our lies and deceit. Help us to see the truth of who You are and who we are. Help us overcome our folly and our sin and understand our need for You, that You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.


Expect Danger

 Proverbs 9:18

“But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.”

The Monsters are Out

Believe it or not, (as of this writing) October 31st is still over three months away, but Halloween merchandise is already on the shelves. Unbelievable.

Just yesterday my wife and girls and I dined at a local restaurant called Cracker Barrel. As soon as we walked in the door the first thing that caught my eye was a plate covered in eye balls. How disgusting! Now, for the next three months any time I go for breakfast, lunch, or supper, I can count on being welcomed by witches, monsters, spiders, black cats, and dismembered body parts. Well, at least I will know what to expect.

Knowing What to Expect

Speaking of knowing what to expect, have you ever watched a scary movie? Why is it that some people can go to a movie that clearly promises slimy creatures will leap off the 3-D screen into their lap, only to scream bloody murder when it happens? Didn’t they know it was going to happen?

And what about the typical victims in horror films? Have they never seen a monster movie? As movie-goers, we know what to expect, so why don’t the actors?  In every movie there is always someone who is stupid enough to ask for a cup of sugar from the shadowy neighbor in the dark, bat-infested mansion.

Here’s a suggestion: the next time you hear a strange noise in your house, don’t pick up a shoe and walk blindly into the dark saying, “Is anyone there?” Of course someone’s there! Would you expect the monster in the dark to respond by saying, “Yes, I am here…hiding in the corner on your left…waiting to attack you?”

When you hear a bump in the night, don’t assume it is Santa Claus coming early – expect danger!

Unaware of the Danger

But here’s this poor, naive traveler who, like a fool, is falling prey to temptation. What is he thinking? Doesn’t he know what lies waiting for him just inside the door? Evidently not.

Unlike a house that looks like it should be on the cover of Dracula’s Home and Mortuaries, Miss Folly’s crypt could pass for Cinderella’s castle, or at least Aunt Bea’s house on The Andy Griffith Show. In order to draw the naive traveler from the “right way,” the house of the temptress will usually appear completely innocent, much like a Venus Flytrap does to a fly.

But unaware of the danger; unaware that just inside are the remains of many men; unaware that some are languishing in torment just beneath the floor;  the traveler can think of nothing but the promise of pleasure. He doesn’t know what to expect, but he should. That’s why Solomon wrote this chapter.

A Prayer

Dear God, open our eyes to the wiles of the Devil! Help us warn the naive travelers down as they try to travel down the “right way.” Then protect us, Heavenly Spirit, from the veiled and alluring traps set before us. As we travel through the valley of the shadow of death, may your rod and staff keep us on the right path.


Simple Windbags

Proverbs 9:13-15 

“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:”

A Tale of Two Ladies

Chapter 9 of Proverbs can simply be split into two different sections with two different titles – Lady Wisdom & Lady Folly. The first twelve  verses are spent talking about Lady Wisdom, while the remain explain the ways of Lady Folly. Both of these ladies are laying out for us an invitation; either to follow the way of wisdom or to follow the way of folly.

Lady Folly

Solomon begins verse thirteen by saying that Lady Folly is “clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.” The ESV says this verse this way – “The woman folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing”. The English word fool or folly come from the Latin word follis, which means to “bellow”. Warren Weirsbe says that the word follis also indicates that a fool is a “windbag, full of air but lacking in substance”.

How many “Lady Follies” do you know? We all know these type of people and for the most part, no one want to be around them. They are loud and obnoxious. They think they know everything and have an opinion about everything, and their way – by far – is the best way and they don’t have a problem letting you know that it is the best way.

Solomon is warning us to be on the lookout for foolish people. Their way of foolishness will lead us to destruction and death.

Compare & Contrast

When we begin to compare and contrast Lady Wisdom to Lady Folly, we begin to see just how opposite they truly are. While we see in Proverbs 9:1 that Lady Wisdom has “built her house & set her table”, we see that in comparison Lady Folly is just sitting at the door of her house. She is lazy and doesn’t seem to care.

The Invitations

Chapter 9 is giving us two completely different pictures and invitations. While both women are calling out to those who are going “straight on their way”, we can clearly see by reading the remain parts of each section (Proverbs 9:1-12 / 13-18) the results that will follow.

Clearly the way of Lady Wisdom is most promising and will lead us to have our days multiplied, and years added to your life (Proverbs 9:11). Or we can follow the invitation set before us by Lady Folly, which will lead us to the “depths of Sheol”. Lady Wisdom has promised so much and she will be able to deliver on her promises, while Lady Folly has promised much but will not be able to deliver.

So the invitation is for you today! Which path are you going to follow? Are you going to follow after wisdom or folly? The choice should be obvious, even to the “simple and those lacking sense”!

The more we fear the Lord, the easier our decision becomes!

Lord, help me to fear you each and every day. The more love and admiration I have for you, the more I will want to follow the invitation of wisdom and not of folly. Lord, help me to live a life intentionally focused on You and You alone!