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Proverbs 9:1-18


Intro: Charlie Brown's sister, Sally, approached her brother and declared, "I think I've discovered the secret to life--you just hang around until you get used to it." A gentleman once wrote Marilyn vos Savant with a question about life. Ms. vos Savant is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records Hall of Fame for highest IQ, and has a regular column in Parade. This particular inquirer said his life was "more exhausting than he ever imagined" and wanted to know, "Is this normal?" Marilyn told him his life was indeed normal and then gave the following analogy about life. She said, "Much of the time, life is like going through the airport steering a loaded luggage cart with one bad wheel. Sometimes you just feel ridiculous, sometimes you actually look ridiculous, and sometimes all you can do is just try to push it in generally the right direction." (Parade, Oct. 12, 1997, p. 8)

While there is some truth in both of those statement, surely there has to be more to life than just hanging around trying to get used to it, or just trying to "push it" in the right direction. Thankfully, there is! Thankfully, God has something to say about life. He has given us His word, the Bible. The Bible is a book that has much to say about life and about how we should live it. While we do not have time this evening to look at every passage in the Bible about life and how it should be lived, we do have time to look into this one chapter. Proverbs 9 breaks life down to its simplest truths and gives us Life In A Nutshell. That is the thought I want to amplify this evening. Notice with me some of the facts of life as they are revealed in this chapter.


A. V. 1-4 The Call Of Wisdom - Ill. The Context. (Note: Wisdom has a fine house held up by seven pillars. This speaks of spaciousness and stability. Her house is away from the path of normal human activity, v. 3. She has to send her servants to call people to come. She seeks them where they live and invites them to come to her place for a better life.) What is "wisdom"? Wisdom is not intelligence! "Wisdom is not high IQ. It is the best use of knowledge." --Lewis Timberlake "Biblical wisdom is knowing, understanding and living out the Word of God." A life of wisdom, then, is a life that lives out the truths of the Word of God. (Ill. Job 23:12; Psa. 119:103; Jer. 15:16; 1 Pet. 2:2) (Ill. The Words Of Jesus - Matt. 4:4)

B. V. 13-16 The Call Of Wickedness - Ill. The Context. (Note: Folly also has a house. But, it is built where the fools are already living, v. 15. This makes it far more convenient. This implies that men may enter the house of folly with little or no change in their lives. To get to wisdom, they have to put forth effort, to get to folly, they can continue as they are, where they are.) (Note: Folly is presented as a prostitute. She promises the fool a good time, this is the enticement to evil, Heb. 11:25.) (Note: This is why there are more people who live lives of sin than there are who live lives of righteousness! People, like water and electricity, almost always choose the path of least resistance. They do what comes naturally and they gravitate toward evil, Psa. 58:3; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:22.)


(Ill. When the calls of life are issued, the ultimate choice lies with the individual. Even Jesus presented life as consisting of only two choices, Matt. 7:13-14.)

A. V. 16 One Grounded In Human Understanding - This is the pathway of the foolish. It is the choice that requires no choice! It is merely man doing that which he does by nature. This is man going his own way, Pro. 16:25.

B. V. 4, 10-12 One Grounded In Heavenly Understanding - By contrast, he that chooses the path of wisdom, does so because he has come to understand some important truths. He has come to an understanding of the Person, Position and Power of God, v. 10-12. The wise person has come to understand that one day, God will judge these lives we are living, Rom. 14:12; 2 Cor. 5:10. Therefore, He is to be honored and feared as we pass through this world.

(Note: In the end, your eternal destiny will rest upon the choice you make concerning Jesus Christ. Right now, the quality of your life rests upon the choices you make concerning God's Word and Will for your life, v. 12.)


A. V. 7-8 The Wicked Man - Ill. The Context. These verses tell us that the wicked man, or the fool is "unteachable". He will not listen to reason. He will not listen to the Lord. Trying to show him his waywardness only creates an enemy! (Note: "Wise men change their minds; fools never. A wise man thinks all he says; a fool says all he thinks." - Anonymous "Too often we change jobs, friends, or spouses instead of changing ourselves." --Akbarali Jetha.) The person who chooses human foolishness over divine truth is a person determined to life his life on his own terms!

B. V. 9 The Wise Man - Ill. The Context and the contrast. While the fool persists in his foolishness, the wise man will listen when he is confronted with the truth and he will adjust his life accordingly. He has a "teachable" spirit! (Ill. Proverbs 1:7-9) He realizes his own limitations and shortcoming and grasps every opportunity to develop his life into one that is more pleasing to the Lord. (Note: "Wise men learn more from fools than fools from wise men." -Cato the Elder)

(Note: These two kinds of people are all around us! There are those who are unteachable. They think they know what is best for their lives and you cannot tell them any different. They are fools! Then, there are those people who know they aren't perfect. They know they need instruction and they receive the truth of God with joy. These folks are wise! Who best describes you?)


A. V. 5-6 You Can Attend The Feast - Ill. The Context. Wisdom spreads her table for those who enter her house. She strengthens them, she satisfies them, and she sustains them. She gives them all they need for now and for the future, v. 6, 11. (Note: The same is true for the person who chooses the way of God over the way of the world. He spreads His feast for us as we pass through this life, 1 Cor. 2:9, and He promises us that we have a home with Him in His heaven forever, John 14:1-3! Choosing to live by the wisdom of God will fit you for glory!)

B. V. 17-18 You Can Attend The Funeral - Ill. The Context and the contrast. While the wise man goes off to enjoy the feast, the fool goes off the endure his funeral, v. 18. This truth is vividly illustrated in Proverbs 7:5-27. This is the lot of the fool! Living this life to the full with sinful pleasures, but with no preparation for tomorrow!

(Ill. A rich man failed in business. He gathered up the fragments of his wrecked fortune and had in all a few thousand dollars. He determined to go to the West and start anew. He took his money and purchased a motor home, furnishing it in the most luxurious style, and stocking it with provisions for his journey. In this sumptuous vehicle he traveled to his destination. At length he stepped from the door of his motor home and only then thought for the first time of his great folly. He had used all his money in getting to his new home, and now had nothing with which to begin life there. This incident illustrates the foolishness of those who think only of this life and make no provision for eternity.)

The wise man will go to Heaven, the fool will go to Hell! Which will it be for you?

Conc: James tells us that our life is nothing more than a mere vapor, James 4:14. It is here for a time and then it is gone! We only receive on life, so we need to spend it wisely, doing the will of the Lord and preparing ourselves to meet Him when this life is over. Even as you sit here tonight, the vapor of your life is dissipating into the thin air of eternity. If you were honest, would you say, "I am living a life based on the word and will of God! I walk in the fear of the Lord and I serve Him with all my heart."? Or, would you have to admit, "I go my own way, do my own thing and never think about what God wants from my life."? Those are the two extremes! I suspect that most of us are somewhere in the middle of the two. If this message is anything, it is a challenge to begin the process of moving your life closer to the way God wants you to live it.

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