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Folly and Her House of Fools

Proverbs  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Wisdom leads to life, Folly leads to death.

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Decision Time

Chapter 9 is the last chapter of the introduction of Proverbs
Broken up into three 6 verse sections
Prov 9:1-6 - Lady Wisdom and Her House
Prov 9:7-12 - The Scoffer
Prov 9:13-18 - Lady Folly and Her House
Contrasting Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly
Before embarking on the rest of proverbs which is poetical and filled with seemingly random sayings, often without too much in common, Solomon leaves the reader with a picture of two paths - the reader must decide which path they will follow
Read Proverbs 9:1-6 and Prov 9:13-18

Two Banquets

Both banquets are open to the simple
Compare
Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly both have a house
Both are calling out to the simple, the simple is not too far gone
Contrast
W built her house, hewn her pillars (a sign of great wealth), F is sitting at the door of her house
W is working hard to prepare the feast, is not sitting idly, F is just sitting and calling out
Lady Wisdom’s house leads to life and walking in the way of insight (and wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord)
Lady Folly’s house leads to death
Mutually Exclusive Banquets
Concert / YA Retreat - Next week, my favorite band has a concert in Royal Oak. I have been trying to see them in concert for three years but every time they have a concert in the area I’m unable to make it. First it was Covid, then it was on a Sunday night when I had student growth community, and the most recent time was our student Christmas party which I wanted to be at.
This time I wasn’t going to miss the concert! I was invited to it, it wasn’t sold out, I was able to go, or so I thought.
YA Retreat got scheduled that same weekend.
2 mutually exclusive invites, not like a grad party where you can hit one at the beginning and the other at the end.
1 invite that’s in Royal Oak and the other in Rose City, MI- hours apart
In the same way, the invitations of Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly are mutually exclusive- everyone must choose one or the other.
The question that Solomon proposed to his son, and to us today, the reader, is which invitation we will chose to accept?
One pastor called this chapter “The Battle of the Banquets.”
Transition: Last week we saw the feast that Lady Wisdom invites us to so today let’s get into the banquet that Lady Folly invites us to.

Verse 13

Loud
Seductive
Knows Nothing

And knoweth nothing which she ought to know. Ignorance is the natural accompaniment of Folly; in this case it is wilful and persistent; she goes on her way reckless of consequences. Septuagint, “A woman foolish and bold, who knows not shame, comes to want a morsel.”

Prov 5:6 “she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.”
We aren’t taught to think about how we’re living. We say “just live!” “Live it up!” “Follow Your Dreams”
Go with the flow, go wherever life takes you. - That’s Lady Folly speaking
Lady Folly knows nothing of the consequences that her path leads to, or she chooses to ignore.

Verse 14

Sits at the door of her house
Wisdom- We see in Prov 9:1 “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.”
Wisdom is working hard preparing the feast (slaughtered her beasts, mixed her wine (with spices to flavor it), set her table
Folly is sitting idly, sitting at the door of her house
Idle Hands are more apt to fall into sin
Late Nights- For me, I am much more inclined to listen to the devil’s lies and temptations the later in the night it gets. When I’m not keeping busy but just passing time, too much time.
We need rest, but we need healthy ways to rest. Just sitting in front of the tv with your phone in hand night after night, for hours and hours, is folly and leads to more folly.
Takes a seat on the highest places of the town
She is looking for attention, you don’t have to look hard to find folly. Folly is out for all to see.
It is attention-seeking, wants you to you look at it and be drawn in
Folly catches your eye- it is appealing to the senses.

Verse 15

Calling to those who pass by
To those who are going straight on their way
1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
Even those who are walking in wisdom much watch out for the temptation of Folly, ultimately the attacks of the evil one.
Put on the full armor of God
Transition: So what is folly calling out to those who pass by that’s so attractive?

Verses 16-17

Whoever is simple let him turn in here
Wisdom- A perfect repetition of Prov 9:4-6 ““Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.””
Folly mimics wisdom- like all false teachers, there is just enough truth to draw people in
We will see the pattern over and over that Folly mimics Lady Wisdom. She only knows enough to get by
People are attracted to her because of her looks and loud voice
Like the preacher that has enough truth to make you listen in, and looks good, is broadcast everywhere. It can be the Gospel + something
Stolen water is sweet
Bread eaten in secret is pleasant
Tempting with the stolen water and bread eaten in secret

Wisdom offered flesh and wine to her guests; Folly offers bread and water. Wisdom invites openly to a well-furnished table; Folly calls to a secret meal of barest victuals. What the former offers is rich and satisfying and comforting; what Vice gives is poor and mean and insipid. Yet this latter has the charm of being forbidden; it is attractive because it is unlawful.

Folly’s reward is a cheap substitute for what wisdom offers. It mimics enough to make it enticing, but it lacks the true long-term pleasure that wisdom offers.
Prov 20:17 “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.”
Illustration- “Stealing” the garbage bags of Doritos out of the dumpster. I ate a bag and they tasted great. I didn’t want all them to eat them, but just wanted to acquire as many as we could- garbage bags full.
No Trespassing sign- we didn’t want to go in there previously but now because it is off limit we get a twinge of interest in trespassing. Why do they want to keep people out? What are they hiding?

Here, as elsewhere, Folly offers immediate gratification whereas Wisdom offers long-term satisfaction.

Wrigley Licking the Plates - tastes good in the moment but doesn’t fill him. His food is right next to him, but he wants the quick fill.
So often we do the same when wisdom is right there for the taking...
We want the choice that appeals to our senses, looks good, feels good,
Living above our means, spending more than we make, eating more than we need, over-working at the neglect of our family
Sin feels good in the moment but always has a cost
“The greater the man (or woman) the dearer price he pays for a short season of sinful pleasure.” -F.B. Meyer
The spring and summer of sin are fun but then comes the fall and winter of sin where the cost is revealed
Transition: The pattern that we see here in Proverbs 9 and that I see in my own life is that...
Folly Often Follows Feelings
The quick fix is usually the way of folly
When you’re behind on a project at work or school, Folly says take the easy way out- blame someone else, instead of putting in the extra hours, working harder to get caught up
When you’re running late to a meeting, Folly says go faster, well over the speed limit, instead of taking responsibility for being late
When you’re feeling alone, folly says the internet will make you feel better, for an instant that is
Transition: And why is folly so dangerous? What’s the problem with indulging even just a little bit?

Verse 18

The dead are there
Her guests are in the depths of sheol
Sometimes folly leads to literal, physical death.
A life of folly is proof that someone isn’t a follower of Christ and surely leads to eternal death
But someone taking a detour into the House of Folly begins a slow death.
The college student that just wants to experience all life has to offer for four years, the young professional just getting into the working world, that parent that is feeling a mid-life crisis coming on
That person’s senses, giftings, and passions- the things that God created beautifully, begin to lose sensitivity. A long, slow death.
Emerald Ash Borer, Camping - I remember growing up, signs everywhere that you weren’t allowed to bring firewood into the campground because of the emerald ash bore. An invasive species that is transported via wood. It feeds on the leaves but its larvae tunnel in and feed on the underside of bark, cutting off the transportation of nutrients and water to the tree.
I remember seeing the paths in the wood that the ash bore would bore into the wood.
In the same way, sin begins on the inside. Rotting the person’s passions, gifts, abilities, and joy. Leading to a slow death.

Decision demonstrates character, so that one becomes either a mocker or a wise one.

Wisdom offers a future, a call to maturity, and in a word, life. Folly only offers the immediate pleasure of good things enjoyed outside their intended boundaries, hiding the fact that such pleasure brings death.

Transition: So how do we know which is the path of wisdom? A good indicator...

As Folly Often times Follows Feelings, Wisdom is Often the Opposite of Feelings

Following wisdom often requires doing the opposite of what we feel in the moment
Taking the path that pays off in the long term. In this life but also in the life to come
Jesus as the fulfillment of Lady Wisdom
Her feast is abundant, over-flowing, has everything that you need and more - PTW
Wisdom’s feast offers long term satisfaction- A life that is full and long.
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
To follow Christ is to follow the way of Wisdom.
Josh Combs- “It is a life of confidence in the eternal promises of the Lord.”
Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Romans 10:9 “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The person who habitually follows the way of folly is not a follower of Christ.
They are the person that dwells, hangs out, and lives in the house of fools.
They have rejected the authority and wisdom of God’s Word.
Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.”
Why follow Wisdom?
Because we’ve seen that Folly...
Is a mimic that knows nothing
Doesn’t satisfy in the long run
Leads to death
Transition: As Folly leads to death, wisdom, that comes from following Christ, leads to true, full life. In this life and the next.
The food of wisdom’s feast is the fruit of the Spirit, the Lord’s supper, where Jesus’ teachings are our daily bread- the food that sustains us day after day- that leads to true life.

Decision Time

Which banquet’s invitation will you accept? You can only accept one.
Folly’s food tastes great in the moment but ultimately leaves you hungry, empty, and leads to death.
Wisdom’s food is true sustenance that leads to life.
Which will you choose today?
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