Competing Voices

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Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?” Proverbs 8:1

Two voices compete for our attention. One entices with dubious promises:

The woman Folly is loud;
she is seductive and knows nothing.

‘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.’”
Proverbs 9:13,16-17

Wisdom, on the other hand, accurately describes reality:

Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.
My mouth speaks what is true,
for my lips detest wickedness.” Proverbs 8:6-7

The two voices in Proverbs — wisdom and folly — represent two pathways in life. Over and over, Proverbs contrasts wisdom and wise people with folly and fools.

In my mind, I see neon signs flashing on the route of folly: “Free!” “It feels good!” “Satisfaction guaranteed.” Folly tells us to live for the moment, seek pleasure, and choose instant gratification.

At first glance, the narrow path of wisdom doesn’t look appealing. Wisdom demands hard work, patience, and self-denial. Yet experience teaches us that the pain of discipline is so much lighter than the pain of regret.

When we read Proverbs in light of the cross, we realize that Jesus also described these two paths.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14).

The idea of two voices calling out — wisdom and folly — and two paths to walk — righteousness or wickedness — was familiar to Jesus’ audience. But Jesus shocked His listeners when He said,

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Many voices battle for our attention, but only Jesus speaks the words of life (John 6:63,68; 1 John 1:1). Jesus is wisdom from God and our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Are you walking on the path that is Jesus?

Heavenly Father, I want to hear Your voice and walk in Your way. Thank You for Jesus. He is my righteousness and my path. Amen.

By Suzanne Benner
Used by Permission

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