Foolishness abounds beyond measure nowadays. When you look to the right and to the left it seems that people everywhere are resorting to their foolish way of thinking while leaving Wisdom checked at the door. Folly abounds, and still, Wisdom calls out. Solomon wrote of Wisdom in Proverbs. Over and over again he says to us to “get all the wisdom” that you can. He desires for his readers to gain all the more in wisdom.
A Definition of “Wisdom”
A good definition of wisdom comes from Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language:
“The right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them. This is wisdom in act, effect, or practice. If wisdom is to be considered as a faculty of the mind, it is the faculty of discerning or judging what is most just, proper and useful, and if it is to be considered an acquirement, it is the knowledge and use of what is best, most just, most proper, most conducive to prosperity or happiness. Wisdom in the first sense, or practical wisdom, is nearly synonymous with discretion. It differs somewhat from prudence, in this respect; prudence is the exercise of sound judgment in avoiding evils; wisdom is the exercise of sound judgment either in avoiding evils or attempting good. Prudence then is a species, of which wisdom is the genus. Wisdom gained by experience, is of inestimable value. It is hoped that our rulers will act with dignity and wisdom; that they will yield every thing to reason, and refuse every thing to force.”
I wish that the last sentence was true for our modern-day politicians, but again, it seems that they have checked Wisdom at the door with their overcoats! Nevertheless, Wisdom simply means the “right use or exercise of knowledge.” Knowledge does not necessarily mean that one has Wisdom or even uses it. Knowledge is information. Information is simply information for information’s sake. It does not become Wisdom until one has a “right use or exercise of knowledge.” This means that one would have to cognitively use the knowledge that he has gained in a right way. If knowledge is used for something that is not right or considered to be “a right way” then it stands to reason that it is used for evil. Nothing good can come from a wrong way of doing something. The results can be disastrous.
Two Modern-Day Cases of Foolishness
Case in point: Adolph Hitler. Hitler’s knowledge concerning warfare and his knowledge in rebuilding Germany were phenomenal. He could have rebuilt Germany into a greater world power even than what it is today had he used Wisdom rather than foolishness. His vision of a greater Germany with the rise of the Third Reich could have lasted 1,000 years as he had dreamed. Nevertheless, Hitler’s folly was that he did not use his knowledge in a right way. He chose to not only create a World War, but he failed to realize that his foolishness only brought death. His knowledge could have led to a world power through peaceful means, but he chose differently. On April 30, 1945, on the day of his wedding to Eva Braun, Hitler not only led his new bride to commit suicide in addition to shooting her, he ended his life with a cyanide capsule and gunshot to the head. Foolishness prevailed, foolishness led to death.
Another case is Osama Bin Laden. Explaining how Al Qaeda views the bombing of Afghanistan, Bin Laden said, “This place may be bombed and we will be killed. We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us.” In that one statement one can see what Bin laden thinks of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” He would rather see death than life. To him death was the only “right way” to think while we Americans are fools in his mind for loving life. Nonetheless, as I sit writing this article, Bin Laden is dead. Bin Laden suffered two direct gunshots from the United States Navy’s Seal Team 6: one bullet to the heart, one bullet to the head. In an instant, that one thing that Bin Laden said he loved he experienced. Interestingly enough, Bin Laden always praised others who went to their deaths as homicide bombers, but he himself never committed such an act. He cowardly sat in a hideout in Pakistan while his minions killed and caused mayhem around the world. They still continue his quest even after his death on May 2, 2011. Foolishness prevailed, foolishness led to death.
What Solomon Writes About Wisdom
Solomon, in all of his wisdom, wrote:
“Come, eat some of my food, and drink some of the wine I have mixed. Abandon your foolish ways so that you may live, and proceed in the way of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:5-6)
Wisdom tells us to come to her. When we arrive, she has made a gourmet meal for us. She has mixed only the finest of wine as we dine. Who has she invited? Those most needing her attention were invited to be Wisdom’s guests. These are the simple ones, the ones who lack judgment and discernment. The ones who have been invited are called to acquire as much of her as possible, for she only has all of herself to give. Those who need Wisdom most were to come. And who does not need Wisdom? Every man, woman, boy and girl may obtain all the knowledge in the world, but without Wisdom, the knowledge of the whole world is meaningless. Without “a right way” of exercising knowledge, knowledge is dead in the water. The beauty of Wisdom is that she is willing to feed all who are weak in living “a right way.” This clarion call goes to all who by nature are weak because of wrong living. In other words, all who have “fallen short of the glory of God.”
Wisdom’s encouragement to all she feeds is to “abandon” their “foolish ways.” She means for each person that she feeds, he must leave, forsake or depart from foolishness. Folly is the way of the one who does not eat of Wisdom’s meal. He is to abandon without reservation his former association with foolishness. In so doing, he is moving from death to life. For the food and drink that Wisdom has to offer leads one to “live, and proceed in the way of understanding.” Moreover, as one abandons foolishness, so he must abandon fools. He is to no longer be associated with those who reject the food of Wisdom.
In moving away from fools, one “proceeds in the way of understanding.” He responds to Wisdom’s offer to eat of her meal and drink of her drink. He goes back for seconds and even thirds. Continually he feasts and puts into practice the knowledge that he gains. Wisdom teaches him to exercise what he has learned. The one who feasts on Wisdom’s meal and drinks of her wine will increase in discernment and progresses or advances in her ways.
What Both Foolishness and Wisdom Offer
By implication, foolishness has prepared a meal. The meal of foolishness leads to death; she has no regard for life. Foolishness will serve a meal that only weakens; she serves “junk food.” There are no nutrients that Foolishness offers. Foolishness decreases energy and only brings more folly. Foolishness steals, kills and destroys.
Wisdom on the other hand, leads to life; she is concerned with life. She satisfies the hunger of those who seek her. Wisdom fells and gives the necessary nutrients for everyday living. She builds up and encourages continual feasting of what she has to offer. For in her meals are life, satisfaction and fulfillment.
James the apostle put it this way:
But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind. (James 1:5-6)
Jesus Christ put it this way:
But above all pursue His kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
 A Pakistani news editor, Hamid Mir, was said to have been taken blindfolded to a mud hut in the Afghan mountains on November 7, 2001 to interview Bin Laden, who told him this calmly. (Evan Thomas, “Gunning for Bin laden,” Newsweek, November 26, 2001.)
 Sid S. Buzzell, “Proverbs” In , in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), Pr 9:4–6.