Wisdom & Folly – The Need for Discernment

Wisdom & Folly – The Need for Discernment


“‘Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!’
To him who lacks sense, she says,”
– Proverbs 9:4 [ESV]

In this chapter of Proverbs, the wise man provides us believers with a beautiful contrast to aid us in our life’s journey. Here he depicts Wisdom at the city’s highest point, beckoning to the passersby, mainly the simple saying, “Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!” To the one who lacks sense, she invites into her chambers to receive knowledge and instruction. At this point in this poetic book, it isn’t strange to see Wisdom incarnate as a woman solemnly entreating those who could benefit from Wisdom to enter and partake. The writer personifies Wisdom into a nurturing voice of reason that, if heeded, provides nourishment. What’s interesting in this chapter is that the wise man also portrays Folly as a woman seated in a high place hoping to entice the gullible to her house, that is, unbeknownst to the simpleton, the path to death. Herein is the contrast: both Wisdom and Folly are vying for the attention of the inexperienced, and the results depend upon the hearer’s response, whether it be life or death.

One thing to keep in mind, child of God, is that none of us know everything. We are all seeing through a glass darkly, trying to apprehend the things of the Spirit. In this regard, we have to be discerning because life will present us with options that, if chosen haphazardly, could render devastating results. You have to understand that it isn’t a crime to be inexperienced or to lack some sense, but it makes you vulnerable and exposed to possibly being led astray. Therefore, in the Scriptures, discernment is a praiseworthy skill for kings and the commoner. The wise man would go on to advise in Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Oh, there’s a difference between what’s right and what seems right, and not knowing the difference could cost you your life.

Therefore, Wisdom and Folly have something to offer, and nothing has changed but the times. As a child of God living within a world of sin, we feel the tug-o-war, this competition between two desires in our hearts. This war and contest will continue until eternity, so the sooner we recognize and identify the ways of Wisdom and Folly, the better. Esau would’ve been better off had he seen the Folly in selling his birthright and how the story of Samson would’ve been different if he had noticed the pangs of death surrounding Delilah. However, Wisdom restored the prodigal to his proper place and led Noah to build a boat for a phenomenon he had never seen. These and others’ discernment or lack thereof either saved their lives or damned them.

Our takeaway, child of God, is that we use the resources the Lord has given us to become trained in our senses. We benefit from the Word of God and the privilege of the testimony of history to guide our understanding and way of life. We need not redo the same mistakes of our forefathers, though God is gracious. How often do we prime the pump of the endless well of Wisdom in the Scriptures? Do we readily consult its counsel or intreat its instruction? Therefore let us never be guilty of neglecting this inspired word of truth or not partaking of its worth. Only after identifying Wisdom from Folly can we act appropriately and follow the path of righteousness. By this, we prove our maturity, who before being inexperienced and be people “whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.”


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