Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns. She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table. She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city. “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says, “Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.”
Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.
Wisdom and Folly (foolishness) are portrayed in Proverbs 9 as rival young women, each preparing a feast and inviting people to it. But Wisdom is a responsible woman of character—hardworking—whereas Folly is “brash” and “ignorant” (Proverbs 9:13) and serves stolen food. Wisdom appeals first to the mind, folly to the senses. It is easier to excite the senses, but the pleasures of Folly are temporary. Consider 1 John 2:16: “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” By contrast, the satisfaction that wisdom brings lasts forever.
Wisdom begins with knowing God. He gives insight into living because he created life. To know God is not just to know the facts about him, but to stand in awe of him and have a relationship with him.
You can tell whether a person follows the way of wisdom or folly by the way he or she responds to criticism. What does your response to criticism tell others? If you want to be wise, instead of tossing back a quick put-down or clever retort when rebuked, listen to what is being said. Learn from your critics; this is the path to wisdom.