Wisdom’s Appeal

Proverbs 1:20-33

Verses 8-19 – a warning against rejecting or despising “the fear of the Lord”, listening to the enticements of sin and Satan. Verses 20-33 – Wisdom takes the stage, warns of the dangers found in rejecting the call of God and his wise counsel. More extended invitation/exhortation from Wisdom in Proverbs 8-9. It is helpful to consider who embodies divine wisdom:

Isa. 11:2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

Luke 2:40Andthe Childgrew andbecamestrong in spirit,filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

Col. 2:2-3My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely,Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

1 Cor. 1:23-24but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks,Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

The full-orbed comprehensive revelation of wisdom is to be found in the Word of God – living and written. True wisdom has an innate religious character – apart from God, there is no absolute standard of right/wrong, good/evil, justice/injustice.

The words of men may be wise ; but when God speaks, Wisdom itself addresses us. —Lawson.

A. Wisdom’s action

loud public pointed repeated appeal (ongoing action)


calls aloud

raises her voice

cries out



outside (in the street)

open squares (plazas, public squares)

chief concourses (noisy streets, commotion)

city gates

But the wisdom of God is a manifold wisdom. While it centres bodily in Christ, it is reflected and re-echoed from every object and every event. …From many a ruined fortune, Wisdom cries, “Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy.” From many an outcast in his agonies, as when the eagles of the valley are picking out his eyes, Wisdom cries, ” Honour thy father and mother, that thy days may be long.” From many a gloomy scaffold Wisdom cries, ” Thou shalt not kill.” —Arnot.

B. Wisdom’s audiencev. 22


do not fear God – practical atheists

have no comprehension of the value of their souls – life stinks, then you die

resist attempts to “enlighten” them – don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up


religion is weakness – opiate of the masses (Karl Marx)

captain of my soul – Invictus, William Henley

The conscious self-sufficiency of his ungodly thoughts and deeds distinguishes him from the simple, who has been only misled, and may therefore be reclaimed (Prov. xix. 25; xxi. 11). His disowning the Holy, in opposition to a better knowledge and better opportunities, distinguishes him from the foolish.Lange


those captive to their worldly desires

desiring to avoid contact with anyone or anything godly

godly knowledge (and, by extension, wisdom) is distateful, odious, unappealing

who reject that which would heal them

All classes of mankind in his natural state covered here; all stand in need of wisdom. Wisdom’s exhortation leaves all men without excuse.

Lapsed man is not only deep in misery, but grossly ignorant, both that he is so, and how to recover himself from it: Sin hath left him at once senseless of his state, and at a perfect loss about the true remedy. John Flavel, The Method of Grace in the Gospel Redemption

C. Wisdom’s expectations

continued rejection – how long will you…. v. 22

expects to be ignored, rejected, despised, at least for a time

response can be predicted with certainty

because of the basic nature of those being addressed

by nature children of wrath –Eph. 2:1-3

unable to understand the sense found in divine wisdom –1 Cor. 2:13-14

expects some among the crowd to respond v. 22, 32

continues pleading anyway – how long, if only

“whoever listens” – followed by a promise, implies positive response

persists but only for a time v. 24, 28

only until the time of recompense – when consequences come

calamity, terror, destruction, distress, anguish

then it’s time to say “I told you so”

NOT time to devise a bailout scheme

consequences MAY be God’s means of “cornering” the individual so that repentance is the only way out

D. Wisdom’s strategy

for those who respond to Wisdom’s appeal

if you listen, then v.23, 33

Wisdom will make us wise

To cure this, Christ is made to him wisdom, not only by improvement of those treasures of wisdom that are in himself, for the benefit of such souls as are united to him, as an head, consulting the good of his own members ; but also, by imparting his wisdom to them by the Spirit of illumination, whereby they come to discern both their sin and danger; as also the true way of their recovery from both, through the application of Christ to their souls by faith. Flavel, Ibid.

repentance results in increased spiritual understanding

proximity to God brings blessing

knowledge of him, his ways

safety and security –Psalm 91:5-7

otherwise… v. 24-27, 31-32

no sympathy in the face of repeated rejection

after all possible has been done to warn of and avert disaster

don’t forget, it is justice at work

it MAY result in a change of direction

ultimately suicide for the unrepentant

their end is a fitting consequence of their choices

God is sovereign AND man is responsible

there is a point of no return v. 28

“My spirit will not contend with man forever”Gen. 6:3

“I will harden Pharaoh’s heart” “The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh” 9x in Exodus

“God gave them up to uncleanness”Rom. 1:24

E. Our duty

respond to Wisdom’s appeal

don’t behave like the simple, scoffer, fool

offer wise counsel when opportunity affords

e.g. Brandy, contra Jay Adams

refrain from interfering with rightful consequences

easy articulation, challenging implementation

there’s a time to leave the boy in jail and not bail him out!


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