The book of Proverbs paints an obvious contrast between folly and wisdom. While the world's ways (folly) promote fame and fortune, God's ways (wisdom) instructs me to serve and give to the lowly people, because I'll gain a heavenly treasure that will last much longer and be much more valuable. Folly says to get back at people who've hurt me, but wisdom says to trust God to take vengeance, because He knows the situation much better and can deal with those other people much more effectively. Folly says to run toward whatever makes me happy, while wisdom says to run after God, because having wisdom means knowing that God's will is the best place to be in, that He will provide everything I need, and that He will give me a joy far deeper than any kind of happiness the world can offer. God's way—the wise way—is clearly so much better than the way of folly, yet…I find myself so quick to be foolish.
In one of my favorite chapters, Proverbs 9, Solomon personifies wisdom and folly as if they are two women, walking around a city and calling to the city dwellers. The woman who represents wisdom shouts in the middle of the city square, at the city gates, or on the tallest hill in the city, telling the people to come to God's ways. The woman who represents folly does the same thing, except she tells the people to follow the ways of the world and their selfish desires. Both are calling, so why does it seem easier for me to hear the woman named Folly than it is to hear the woman named Wisdom? Why do I look back and realize I've obeyed what felt good to the flesh in the moment, or what seemed rational from the world's-eye-view, instead of following the sagacity given by my omniscient God?
Some translations of Proverbs 9:13 say that the woman named Folly is loud and seductive. In other words, foolishness is hard to ignore. The feel-good ideas of this world are all around me. Sin is incredibly attractive; it strikes my curiosity.
God's voice, on the other hand, is described as sometimes being quiet and gentle, like a low whisper (I Kings 19:12). Even though Wisdom is calling out in the middle of the city square, it can be hard to hear her over the sound of all those people who need to hear her. The noisy intrigue of a foolish thought can drown out the still, small voice of God's good sense. The world is a noisy place, and its ideas are alluring. So are you tuning in to that tender whisper? Are you familiar with which voice is His? Remember to take time to go to a quiet place, and listen to what God is saying by opening His Word.