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Devoting Ourselves to the Pursuit of Wisdom
Proverbs 1:32-33 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
32 For the waywardness of the simple ones will kill them,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 “But he who listens to me shall dwell securely
and he will live, without the dread of disaster.”
Solomon concludes this chapter, the final passage, where we see the end result of rejecting wisdom or heeding her correction. The simple ones are wayward in the doing of their own will. They are headstrong, stubborn, obstinate, turning away from the advice that would save them from destruction. Waywardness (מְשׁוּבָה meshubah) has the sense of apostasy, backsliding, faithlessness, that is, turning away from or rejecting the sovereignty of God. They are willfully and purposely breaking off their relationship with Jehovah.
And the fools are complacent, walking down the path to death, ignorant of their danger. The complacency (שַׁלְוָה shalvah) of these fools is that they are overly satisfied with their circumstances in life, even to the point where they have become idle and lazy. These foolish ones have become smug and satisfied with their achievements in life. They feel entirely secure and have no concern for danger or peril.
However, the wise man who listens to wisdom will dwell in real security, having no fear, dreading nothing. He will lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. The foolish are at ease out of a false sense of security based on their limited human achievements, while the wise are at ease because they have genuine security. Solomon intends that all of us devote ourselves to the pursuit of wisdom, heeding the advice and correction of our mothers and fathers, as well as our wise teachers.
Certainly, one day, those who have rejected Jehovah God will look to fall back on the “I did not know.” However, this will not be acceptable because here you have wisdom roaming the streets, from house to house, calling out in a loud voice, looking to dispense the very knowledge of God. The earth will have been saturated with these truths from God’s Word. Therefore, those who chose to follow their fleshly desires, ignoring the voice of wisdom, will be held accountable. If only they had listened to the voice of God, life could have been much more satisfying.
Metaphorically speaking, wisdom personified will get the last laugh at those that have rejected Jehovah; she will mock their sad life choices. These fools will call out in calamity, but it will be too late. Just imagine the panic in the fool’s voice as the calamity overtakes him; he will be distressed and anxiety-ridden to no end.
Hundreds of millions are walking the streets today, believing that the servant of God is the fool, utterly indifferent to their message, just as the Israelites were to the prophets of old. Nevertheless, just as destruction befell God’s chosen people and Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon, and then Rome, the wicked of this world is heading down the very same street, ignoring wisdom as they head toward destruction.
Even so, there are hundreds of millions of others walking the same streets, who will listen to wisdom, having a receptive heart. They will listen and dwell in security, not needing to dread the coming day of Jehovah. (Joel 2:30-32) Will the reader be one of those who listens to wisdom and receives discipline with a subtle heart, to be molded by paying attention to the Book of Proverbs?