Folly Has a Strategic Plan to Get You

by Jul 11, 2024Christian living, Devotional, Proverbs, Uncategorized, Wisdom0 comments

“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.” – Proverbs 9:13-14

Junk mail has gotten savvier. There’s one method that gets me every time. It’s when I get a plain white envelope with my name and address in generic typeset, and it has perforated, tear-off edges. This could definitely be a reimbursement check—I’ve gotten them exactly like that. What choice do I have? I go through the work of tearing off three sides in order to open it and find…junk.

What’s brilliant is that it’s actually the letter’s non-flashiness and even the extra hassle of tearing it open that draws you in. The company has mastered the appearance of a letter that offers you great benefit, while in reality they’re offering a deceptive ruse to get your business. That is the picture of Lady Folly in this proverb.

We have to understand Lady Folly in the context of this chapter. Ten verses earlier we get a portrait of Lady Wisdom. She also “has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town (9:3).” Both Wisdom and Folly make their appeal to the same audience: “whoever is simple…whoever lacks sense” (9:4, 16). The point, like we see in other places (especially Revelation), is that folly and sin aren’t creative, but they do a darn good imitation.

Sin doesn’t announce itself as sin. Folly isn’t a cartoon Homer Simpson stepping on a rake and hitting himself in the face. Think about the most garbage, vapid reality show you’ve ever seen. Whatever else you think of it, you can’t accuse it of low production quality. Popular entertainment makes it primarily on the strength of two qualities: it’s loud and seductive. Does it shout at you? And does it look good while shouting?

Passion, energy, and attractiveness aren’t trademarks of the Devil; they come from God. People who want to care for others know you don’t chuck someone a thick instruction manual with no pictures and choppy English. Packaging matters.

Folly has the packaging, but its contents are meaningless at best and often deadly. You don’t have to know everything to follow wisdom and avoid folly, but you have to know where to start. If you trust and follow Jesus, he promises, in fact he delights to lead the simplest person into profound wisdom. Jesus himself, as he reveals himself in Scripture, comes with spectacular packaging. And in our world, he isn’t hard to find. He doesn’t hide or make himself scarce, and he offers the real deal in a world of counterfeits.

When it comes to wisdom, we need to question our instincts and first impressions. Jesus reshapes these over time, but we will always see the glitter of tinfoil before discovering that it’s not gold. Marketing, though a worthy skill, reveals little about the true quality of the person or product. Jesus invites us to keep walking with him so that we don’t waste our time responding to junk mail.

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