“The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. 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, ‘Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!’ And to him who lacks sense, she says, ‘Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” (Proverbs 9:13-18)
I was traveling recently, waiting in the airport for my first evening flight at the gate. Another flight assistant, a petite woman joined the first one at the desk. She had a thunderous voice. I was able to hear everything from my seat in the waiting room. The two agents were disagreeing about something, the small woman who seemed to be shouting at the tall, young man about something insignificant. An older passenger, sitting near me gently said, “Now children calm down.” Her comment reminded me of this passage. Lady Wisdom offers commentary on Lady Folly, who, in spite of knowing nothing, finds a high perch and calls out for the simple to enjoy her delicacies. Wisdom quietly comments that something is not right here, so pay attention.
Using another analogy, a person who has suffered traumatic brain injury might end up in a coma, due to the severity of the damage. In some cases, the doctor might induce a coma to give the brain time to heal with decreased demands for pumping blood to other body parts. In either case, no one wants their loved one to remain in a coma indefinitely. It is the same with spiritual traumas when we fall into a sin like drinking “stolen water” (as in adultery or other sexual sins). The brain’s functions take a nosedive, leaving the person separated from God, in the place where the spiritually dead are living. Most medical professionals believe that a comatose person can hear others but obviously cannot respond.
Such is the case with those who delight in being folly’s guests-they can hear and see what the wise are saying. And this is good news! Proverbs’ warnings about the consequences of folly are excellent teaching tools. If we would use proverbs more often to instruct our children, perhaps they would be wiser and less foolish. The Law and Old Testament wisdom function as our tutors until we are redeemed as new creations in Christ (Galatians 4:1-2). God is gracious to warn those who mistake folly for something good.
Our Father loves us and wants to keep us from harming ourselves, by heeding these warnings. Are you in a spiritual coma, hearing but not acting on God’s warnings? Will you awake, appreciate them, and apply them to be wiser? “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them.” (Proverbs 1:32)