Summary: Wisdom's great rival, worldly lust, is no less earnest to destroy that wisdom is to save. Each invites to partake of her feast. Every man moves between these rival invitations in every step of life, The text presents three aspects of temptation's allurem
THE INVITATION OF PLEASURE
Wisdom's free and gracious invitation already has been set before us. Her invitation invites to goodness, holiness and peace. We might ask who in his or her right mind could resist? Now we have the allurement from the opposite side. The call of sin is no less earnest to destroy than wisdom is to save.
Wisdom's great rival, worldly lust, sets up business on the same busy avenue and bids the same youths who pass by. Her barbed hook is baited with the pleasures of sin and her desire is to drag her victims down the steep slope to hell with her. Only one of the foul spirits that assail and tempt men is singled out but this one represents a legion of demonic temptations in the background.
Every man moves between these rival invitations in every step of life, The text presents three aspects of temptation's allurements.
I. TEMPTATION TANTALIZES, 13-15.
II. TEMPTATION'S PLEASURES, 16-17.
III. TEMPTATION'S END, 18.
Worldly folly's portrayal as a provocative enticing woman returns in verse 13. "The woman of folly is boisterous, She is naive and knows nothing."
"A woman of folly" is here depicted as the power of wickedness in the world carrying out the work of temptation. It's sad to see a woman as a temptress but since the fall of the world Satan has often used them as his effective agents. The temptress is first described as boisterous or full of noise or loud, overcoming resistence by her aggressiveness. She is also naive or gullible (exploitable), and "knowing nothing" or ignorant or devoid of right, not recognizing what is good. In other words she is attracting but unruly. Sensual pleasures darken the understanding so deeply that the temptress, out of a life of deceiving, becomes the victim of her own delusions (Hos. 4: 11, 2 Tim. 3: 13). Here as elsewhere, folly offers immediate gratification, where wisdom offers long-term satisfaction.
Verse 14 depicts this madam as a temptress in waiting. "She sits at the doorway of her house, on a seat by the high places of the city,"
Where wisdom stands tall and calls, folly "sits at the doorway of her house" to call. This audacious woman shamelessly sits as her own sign at the same high places of the city from where wisdom also calls (9:3). Modesty, which is the glory and mystery of her gender has left her. She is bold and brazen. Unlike Lady Wisdom who prepared for (vv. 1-2) and searched out her guests (vv. 3-6), Madam Folly merely sets our her seductive lures and waits.
Madam folly's target audiences are not those who have intentionally headed for her place but those traveling by on the way to somewhere else as we see in verse 15. "Calling to those who pass by, Who are making their paths straight:"
She calls out to those passing by but her particular interest is to those who are making their paths straight. This refers to those who might without her call pass on by but most specifically references those who are leading up-standing lives. Even the highways of God, though a path of safety (10:9) to those whose eyes and ears are attuned to Him, is beset with temptation. Satan is most angry with those who are making their paths straight.
II. TEMPTATION'S PLEASURES, 16-17.
The call of wisdom in verse 4 is echoed by madam folly in verse 16. "Whoever is naive, let him turn in here, and to him who lacks understanding [lit. heart] she says,"
Though all men are traveling, for none can stop on their journey to eternity until they reach their destination, the young are especially vulnerable. Many have been trained to go right but how many have been suddenly enticed, entangled in the net and lost! How many enticements line the path to life.
This invitation is given twice-first by wisdom (v. 4), and second by the foolish woman. To every young life, especially as it sets out, many voices and inducements speak. Wise, strong voices mingle with siren songs. The strait gate into the narrow way stands at a fork in the way along side the wide gate that leads into the broad way. The counsels of the father's lips, the tears and prayers of the mother, amid the enticements of sinners, and the persuasion of the world. Here the true Shepherd, there the hireling; here the true Bride, there the apostate Church; here that which condemns the flesh, there that which takes its side.
Life is full of choices. There is no day without them. We are perpetually being reminded of the way in which the Creator introduced lines of division into His earliest work. We hear His voice as He divides the light from the darkness, calling the one Day and the other Night. Would that we acted always as children of the Light and of the Day, choosing the one and refusing the other! Our discernment and wisdom are always being exercised, and our best life depends on the intensity and quickness with which we refuse the evil and choose the good.