Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
    in the markets she raises her voice;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
    at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
    and fools hate knowledge?
23 If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused to listen,
    have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
25 because you have ignored all my counsel
    and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
    I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
    and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
    when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
    they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
    and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 would have none of my counsel
    and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
    and have their fill of their own devices.
32 For the simple are killed by their turning away,
    and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
    and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” – Proverbs 1:20-33


The wisdom spoken of in Proverbs is not for philosophers and theologians to sit about and contemplate or discuss for their pleasure. Nor is it religion that is to be locked up in a sanctuary on Sunday morning.

The wisdom of Proverbs is practical. It is intended for everyday life. Wisdom’s cry is in the marketplace and in the seat of government (v.20-21). So, Proverbs’ wisdom is for when you go to work, when you enter into a business deal, when you go to the voting booth or interact with your government officials (the elders in the gates), when you interact with your spouse or act to raise your kids. It couldn’t get more practical.

As was shown earlier (1:7) the foundation of this wisdom is the fear of the Lord. One cannot attain to Proverbs’ wisdom without a heart that fears the Lord, a heart the reveres him and knows that while he is good, he is also dangerous as CS Lewis characterized Aslan in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. True wisdom requires, then, a Biblical worldview, anything less will fail to attain true wisdom.

Wisdom cries out to three categories of people, the simple, the scoffer and the fool. In one Jewish translation of Proverbs, the simple is translated as thoughtless. This is often the youth who have not yet developed their worldview and are open to suggestion. The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps (Proverbs 14z;15). “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride (Proverbs 21:24). Fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7).

Wisdom’s Promise

If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you.

The simple need not remain simple, the scoffer need not continue in his scoffing, and the fool need not continue in his foolishness. Each can turn at the reproof of wisdom and receive the work of the Holy Spirit that will train one in wisdom. It is the promise of wisdom.

Unfortunately, many do not turn to wisdom, and they go on to their calamity, and then they decide they want to fruit of wisdom in their lives…too late! You have already sown the seeds of your life without wisdom, and now you get to reap the harvest of that life. This may sound cruel, but wisdom laughs at the thought that you could now turn to wisdom and escape your calamity. This is not a cruel laughter, but one that might fit with our colloquialism of, “You gotta be kidding me!”

This doesn’t mean that we can’t repent when we recognize our simple, scornful or foolish living and want to turn from it. This takes us back to Wisdom’s promise. If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. We can still learn wisdom and begin to sow seeds of wisdom and “dwell secure, and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

We may find ourselves having to reap the harvest of our non-wisdom living for a while before the harvest of wise living kicks in, but the only way to reap a harvest of wise living is to begin living wisely.

I need to be clear that this is not referring to forgiveness of sins and God’s grace to us as sinners. It isn’t speaking of our fellowship with God in Christ. No matter how big the ditch you have dug for yourself in your sin when you turn to Christ and trust him, your sins are forgiven, and you are brought into fellowship with him. He will not hold out on you. You may still have to dig your way out of your ditch created by your sinful living, but your fellowship with God is assured from the moment you place your trust in him. Your salvation is by grace alone and not based on your conduct.

Do you identify in yourself elements of the simple one, the scoffer or the fool? If so, rely on wisdom’s promise and turn at her reproof, she will pour out her spirit and make her words known to you.