Wisdom or Folly
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Transcript of Wisdom or Folly
Wisdom or Folly
In 1881 author Carlo Collodi from Florence, Italy wrote a classic children’s story he called, “The Adventures of Pinocchio.” This was the book that inspired the 1940 Disney movie of the same name: the story of the wooden puppet who eventually becomes a real boy.
There is a major difference seen between the book and the Disney movie. In Disney’s version,Pinocchio comes to life as a likeable boy who is basically a good person but who makes some poor choices. Contrast this to the original novel where Pinocchio is an obnoxious selfish brat – who immediately after he comes to life sticks out his tongue, kicks Geppetto in the nose, runs out of the shop into the street where he gets Geppetto arrested and thrown in jail!
Then he is rebuked by a 100-year old Cricket who says: “Boys who turn against their parents and run away from home for no reason never come to any good. They will soon be sorry for their wild ways.” In response, Pinocchio throws a hammer at the cricket and kills him…
All of this was too dark for Walt Disney – so he ordered an upgrade for both the puppet’s character and the Cricket’s role.
There are similarities as well: Pinocchio continually has to choose between voices of wisdom and voices of foolishness. The voices of wisdom come from his father Geppetto, the Cricket, and a good fairy. And the voices of foolishness primarily come from a Cat and the Fox.
Let’s Watch as Pinocchio deals with the voices of wisdom and folly.
Pinocchio is on his way to school, trying to obey his father, when the cat calls out and asks, “Where are you going?”
“Why to school, of course,” answered Pinocchio.
“School!” sneered the fox. “Why waste your time going to school? A talented boy like you should be on the stage.”
“Do you mean to be an actor?” asks Pinocchio with wonder. “Yes, just think of it –bright lights, music, the roar of applause – and fame! Come with us,” said the fox slyly. “We’ll make you a star.” And so off Pinocchio goes with the Cat and the Fox where he ends up in disaster after disaster.
Carlo Collodi from Florence, Italy has given us in this story, a mirror of the human condition. A study of anthropology says we all start with two strikes against us. We are all born with the inner desire to be sinful – strike one; and we all have various voices of temptation encouraging us to do what we desire – strike two! This dilemma leads us, like the puppet, to disaster after disaster and it makes the voice of wisdom sometimes very, very hard to hear.
In Proverbs the Call of Wisdom and the competing Call of Folly represent two competing “world views.” Both ways claim to be the right way.
· One way appeals to the mind- the way of wisdom. The other way appeals to the senses – the way of folly.
· One way believes in TRUTH – God’s Truth; the other way believes that everyone should create their own truth, whatever that may be.
· One way believes that God’s laws are the path of life; the other way believes God’s laws are harsh, old-fashioned, and pointless.
Let’s look now at Lady Wisdom and Madam Folly.
Proverbs 9:1-6, 13-18
Proverbs 9:1-6 (The voice) –Lady Wisdom
9 Lady Wisdom has built her house; she has supported it with seven pillars.2 She’s prepared a feast: She’s slaughtered her animals, poured a spiced wine, and set her table.3 She has sent out her servants with the invitation to come to the party; she, too, calls out from the highest point of the city:4 Lady Wisdom: Whoever is young and gullible, turn in here. You are welcome in this place! Then, turning to those who are naive, she says:5 Lady Wisdom: Come in. Come, eat my bread, and drink my spiced wine.6 Give up your gullible ways, your naive thoughts, for true life. Set your course for understanding.
Proverbs 9:13-18 (The voice) –Madam Folly
13 Compared to Wisdom, the Lady Folly is rowdy and loud, naive and ignorant.14 She sits by the door of her house, on a bench at the highest place in the city,15 Crooning to passersby who hurry straight on to their destinations:16 Lady Folly: Whoever is young and gullible, turn in here. You are welcome in this place! Then, she turns to the naive.17 Lady Folly: Stolen water tastes so much sweeter! Bread secreted away is much more satisfying to eat!18 But those who pause to listen to Lady Folly do not know death is the next stop, that her guests are walking cadavers.
Let’s consider that both of these women are in our lives—calling out to us. So, we must ask ourselves whether we have the discernment to distinguish between the two voices?
In the movies, we can usually tell when the bad guys enter the scene—the music becomes dark and the characters wear black.
But that’s not real life…
Discerning between wisdom and folly is often anything but easy:
The woman of wisdom sends her maidens to call (v.3) “from the highest point of the city.”
And the woman of folly (v.14) “on a bench at the highest place in the city.”
he story of little Petunia who had a stomachache and was telling her mother how badly she felt. Her mother replied, “Well honey, that’s because your tummy is empty.” That evening at church the pastor remarked that he had a splitting headache. Petunia leaned over and said to her mother,“That’s because his head is empty, he’d feel better if he had something in it.”
That’s a good description of Lady Folly. Her head is empty and she’d feel better if she had something in it. Yet she’s sly. At first glance she resembles Lady Wisdom, intentionally so.
Both ladies are well dressed, they are respectable and they are seen in prominent public positions in the central business district where they both have access to the same audience – (all the people of the city); and their message is the same! “Whoever is young and gullible, turn in here. You are welcome in this place!”
Folly mimics wisdom or camouflages itself as wisdom –that we would call evil good and good evil (Isaiah). Think about it:
If evil were not made to appear good, there would be no such thing as temptation. Evil uses false advertisement as a persuasive tool.
Every day, American consumers receive offers that just sound too good to be true. These offers come through the mail, by telephone, through the TV, and on the internet. They have one objective — to separate you from your money!
An interesting point about fraud (false advertisements) is that you decide whether or not to participate. But con artists are very persuasive, using all types of excuses, explanations, and offers to lead you — and your money — away from common sense.
Burger King Whopper
Wow, look how close it is to the Capitol!
Uh oh... not really.
Gran Bahia Principe Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
How about a date?
This is the original profile picture before creative cropping.
Solomon does not want us to be fooled by Folly’s false advertising – and so he gives us distinguishing differences between wisdom and folly tohelp us choose wisely.
Lady Wisdom has built, hewn, prepared, mixed, set sent, and called. She is a busy and industrious woman teaching us that the path of wisdom requires diligence and effort.
Dame Folly (v. 13-15), what does she do? Aside from talking, (which she does well), she is boisterous and loud—full of hot air. She’s enamored with the sound of her own voice. She has a total lack of humility.
Lesson Take Away:
If you are facing a decision andtrying to discern between wisdom and foolishness—the path of wisdom will be the harder path, requiring real work, effort and diligence. Folly will yell louder, will be in your face, and will offer an ideal world-but it is a false promise. “Nothing in life worth having comes easily.”
Lady Wisdom and Madam Folly both call out “Whoever is young and gullible, turn in here. You are welcome in this place!
Lady Wisdom’s life models discipline, specifically in areas like:o Financeso Personal health and hygieneo Approach to responsibilitieso Relationships
Madam Folly is without discipline and her most common target is the Christian young person who is headed the right way but may not know enough to recognize the danger of a detour that will lead them away from the direction they want to go.
Shaunti Feldhahn, in her fascinating book For Parents Only, cites a study claiming that the frontal lobe of the human brain doesn’t fully develop until the mid-twenties. The frontal lobe is where our reasoning skills reside. This explains why adolescents often engage in high-risk activities—they don't make the connection between their choices and the potential consequences. The point is that all youths lack the judgment that can come from age and experience. So….what is our excuse?
A single woman says, "I want to meet and one day marry a great Christian guy who's really got his act together" ... but then she dates whoever asks her out, as long as he's cute.
A single guy says, "I want a great sex life once I'm married" ... but he "practices" with every girl he dates along the way.
A married woman says, "I want to have a great relationship with my husband"...but she makes the children a priority over him.
A husband says, "I want my kids to respect me as they grow up"...and then he openly flirts with other women in the neighborhood.
A young Christian says, "I want to develop a deep and lasting intimacy with God"...so he gets up every morning early and reads his newspaper.
A man says, "I want to grow old and invest the latter years of my life in my grandchildren"...but then he neglects his health.
A couple says, "We'd like our children to develop a personal relationship with God and choose friends who have done the same"...but then they skip church every weekend and head to the lake.
Newlyweds determine to be financially secure by the time they reach their parents' age...then adopt a lifestyle sustained by debt and leverage assets.
A high school freshman intends to graduate with a GPA that will afford him options as he selects a college...but neglects his studies.
A bank president, who was retiring, met his successor one day for lunch. The new guy said, “Sir, I have been watching you for years as this bank has grown. I hope to follow in your footsteps. Can you give me some advice? What are the keys to your success?
The retiring president simply said, “Make wise decisions.”His replacement replied, “How do I make wise decisions.”The president said, “In one word, ‘experience’”“And how do you get experience?”The president said, “In two words, make unwise decisions.”
And so the limitation of human wisdom: we become wise by making unwise mistakes. But God also provides wisdom and guidance through his Word, if we only seek it.
Lesson Take Away
You might try looking in the rear-view mirror and see where you have come from these past months or even years and then you will know for certain what direction you are headed.
If you’re hearing Lady Wisdom call, it will be an open and honest call, “She has sent out her servants with the invitation to come to the party.”
Madam Folly always means deceit and secrecy. According to her "Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!" Beware of anyone who wants you to keep secrets about what is really going on, whether it’s in a relationship or in an organization.
Lesson Take Away
The foolish path will always promise pleasure – but it is short-term and fleeting. Wisdom offers permanent provision to satisfy the hunger of your soul.
Lady Wisdom calls for us to “Give up your gullible ways, your naive thoughts, for true life. Set your course for understanding.”
Wisdom asks us to give-up what we want for what God wants for us. Give up your gossip, give up your anger, give up your plan for immorality, give up pride, give up greed.
But, we actually prefer Madam Folly who doesn’t ask us to give up anything, but rather encourages us to “give –in” to temptation—fleshly desires and lusts.
Romans 7:21 (VOICE)21 Here’s an important principle I’ve discovered: regardless of my desire to do the right thing, it is clear that evil is never far away.
Wisdom leads to “true life.” While those who “pause to listen to Lady Folly do not know death is the next stop, that her guests are walking cadavers.”
The Bible says “don’t get drunk with wine.” that is God’s wisdom. Folly says, “How boring. How old fashioned! Drunkenness is fun and harmless. It will help you be popular, make friends, and deal with life.”
In 2011 the United Nations’ World Health Organization published a report that said that 4% of 2.5 million deaths world-wide are cased by alcohol. Of that number 320,000 young people aged 15-29 years die annually from alcohol-related causes. Alcohol causes 60 types of diseases and injuries. Wisdom and foolishness—life and death.
The Bible says that intimacy should be restricted between a man and woman in marriage. Foolishness says, “How old-fashioned, offensive, and discriminatory.” The world calls for open relationships and indulgences of every kind.
The World Health Agency reported that at the end of 2004, the number of adults and children living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 39 million worldwide. An estimated 4.8 million people (including 600,000 children less 15 years of age) become infected each year and 2.9 million people die each year from this disease—with the overwhelming majority of HIVtransmissions coming from sexual behavior. Wisdom and foolishness—life and death.
God has not changed. His standards have not been lowered. We are the ones who have changed our moral code to fit our behavior instead of changing our behavior to harmonize with our moral code.
The Bible says through Isaiah the prophet: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil (Isaiah 5:20)
The rest of the story: It turns out that Carlo Collodi, the author of Pinocchio was a believing man. He intended to become a priest, but instead went into writing and public service. He was a man who knew that there is foolishness bound up in each of us. We are like that empty-headed puppet, always getting ourselves into trouble and falling to the voices of folly.
But Collodi also knew that through Christ we have victory! Pinocchio had his salvation experience in the belly of a whale, which was directly taken from the story of Jonah. In the belly Pinocchio cries out: “Help! Help!...Won’t someone come to save me?” And this experience is followed by a dead piece of wood being changed into a living person. He is “born again” – just as we pass from death to life in Christ.
So, there are two invitations offered to each us. Wisdom and Folly still call in the streets. One way ends in LIFE, and the other in DEATH. Every person will attend one of two banquets: If you answer the CALL of WISDOM you will enjoy an eternal Banquet with Christ. But the CALL of FOLLY will end up in the Banquet of CORPSES.
Proverbs 9:12 (VOICE)12 If you are wise, wisdom is its own reward. If you mock what you don’t understand, you alone will suffer the consequences.
This is a sobering reminder of the inescapable reality of personal responsibility. No one can force you to do right or wrong, to follow or reject Christ. Each person must choose and bear the consequences of that choice.
Wisdom and Folly—life and death.
Billy Graham--Confusing Evil with GoodAndy Stanley—The Great DisconnectK. Edward "ed" Skidmore—Competing Calls