Proverbs 1:20-22 – The difference between knowledge and wisdom

Fear of the LordWe return to the opening chapter of this great book of wisdom, Proverbs 1. Solomon states his purpose for this book of proverbs in the opening verses (Proverbs 1:1-4) and then appeals to his son to aspire to wisdom stating the qualities of a man of wisdom (Proverbs 1:5-6).  The king reminds his son that the wisdom he encourages him to pursue is not acquired in the halls of academia, but in the company and presence of the Lord.

Proverbs 1:7“The fear of the LORD [worship; reverence] is the beginning [foundation] of knowledge: but fools despise [reject] wisdom and instruction [rejecting God’s Word and godly instruction].”

Following Proverbs 1:7, Solomon illustrates the way of sinners and the folly of fools who pursue the path of sin and wickedness (Proverbs 1:8-19).  Solomon warns his son that the way of the wicked is to lure and entrap the naïve for his own gain.

Having taught his son where wisdom is found and warned him concerning the sorrow-filled path of sin and wickedness, Solomon gives voice to Wisdom’s invitation to the simple and foolish (Proverbs 1:20-33).  Our focus today will be Proverbs 1:20-22.

Step-by-StepProverbs 1:20-21 – “Wisdom crieth [shouts for joy] without [abroad; outdoors]; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 21 She [Wisdom] crieth in the chief place of concourse [marketplace; busy intersections], in the openings of the gates [where business was transacted and court was held]: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,”

We hear godly wisdom’s appeal in Proverbs 1:20-21 and her inquiry to the “simple ones” and “scorners” in verse 22.  Godly wisdom pleas to be heard in the streets, market places and “gates” [in ancient times, the elders would meet at the city gates to oversee business transactions and pass judgment].

Proverbs 1:22 – “How long, ye simple [immoral; morally stupid] ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?”

Wisdom directs her first appeal to the “simple ones”–not the intellectually challenged, but the immoral that do not fear the consequences of sin, fornication and adultery.  Her issue with the simple is not one of mental deficiency, but the bankruptcy of their moral character.  She asks, “How long are you content with being blind, silly and foolish regarding the effects of your sin?”

prisonerWisdom then turns her focus to scorners whom she says “delight in their scorning”.  They are brazen sinners who not only enjoy and pursue sin, but mock those who reason and appeal to them with spiritual truths and godly wisdom.

Wisdom’s final appeal is to a familiar subject in Proverbs—the fool who hates knowledge!  The nature of the fool is he is brash and self-confident.  He is a proud, “know-it-all” man who despises godly wisdom.

My friend, it is a good thing you have taken time to read and meditate on God’s Word today; however, the key is not only what you know, but whether or not you will employ that knowledge, turn from sin and follow the path God delights in—therein is the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

Psalm 37:23The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”

Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith