“Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares. She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city she speaks her words: “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge. Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.” (Proverbs 1:20-23)
King Solomon has shown us in the preceding context of this chapter how dangerous it is to listen to and obey the temptations of Satan. Here, he teaches us how dangerous it is to not listen to and obey God’s wisdom. There is great danger in neglecting His wisdom and not seeking to have our daily lives be steered by it.
In Solomon’s personification of wisdom in this passage, we find wisdom referred to as “she.” Therefore, this personified wisdom is often referred to as “Lady Wisdom.” In much of Proverbs, Lady Wisdom battles against what some refer to as “Madam Folly.” We can observe that in this personification of wisdom, she is far from silent, especially in the midst of foolishness and the seductive siren calls of violence that Solomon pointed out to his son earlier in this chapter, as well as other forms of evil, sexual sin and adultery that he draws attention to later in chapters 3, 8, and 9.
Notice that wisdom, here in chapter 1, has a similar cry in the beginning verses of Proverbs 8. In chapter 1, Lady Wisdom is the stark contrast to Madam Folly (the blood thirsty and violent). In chapter 8, Lady Wisdom is the contrast to Madam Folly (the harlot) of chapter 7. This is her cry in chapter 8: “Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice? She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, beside the way, where the paths meet. She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, at the entrance of the doors: “To you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men. O you simple ones, understand prudence, and you fools, be of an understanding heart. Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, and from the opening of my lips will come right things; For my mouth will speak truth; Wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them. They are all plain to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge.” (v. 1-9) Whereas Madam Folly speaks in secret and darkness, notice how wisdom cries out boldly and publicly. She calls aloud outside (1:20), raises her voice in the square (v. 21), cries out in the streets and speaks in the gates (v. 21). Remember that the gate of the city was the place people gathered to conduct business and commerce, where courts were kept. Therefore, we can conclude that what wisdom had to say would have broad impact for individuals, as well as the community. Wisdom’s message was proclaimed everywhere.
What is wisdom’s message? She calls sinners to stop and turn at her rebuke. They must repent of folly and seek wisdom before it’s too late. What is promised for those who turn? “Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.” It’s important and wonderful to note that Lady Wisdom points us to our Lord Jesus Christ, as a type of Christ. This is evident here, as well as in Solomon’s words and descriptions in chapter 8. This being said, there are some limitations in that comparison as Chapter 8 teaches us Lady Wisdom had a beginning and that is not true of Jesus, for example. Yet, she points us to Him as we compare her limitations to Christ’s sufficiency. Further, what is Christ’s call? Repent and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15). He pours His Spirit out on those who turn to Him in true faith and makes His words known to them.
Beloved, the cry of wisdom continues to go out boldly for all to hear. By His grace, God’s people truly hear, turn, listen, and obey. Madam Folly may utter her most enticing calls to try to get us to lurk and abide in sin and darkness, but praise God that He has freed us such bondage. Because Christ has brought us out of darkness into His marvelous light, we can and must refuse those siren calls! Our ears must be open to Lady Wisdom and the call for us to turn to and walk in His light. Therefore, let us heed the call today and walk in ways that show we are following hard after Christ and in wisdom’s guidance and instruction.