The wisdom of God is personified as a woman in Proverbs 1:20-33.
20 “Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:”
These verses paint a picture of Lady Wisdom loudly crying out in the middle of the city for people to listen. She is desperately trying to get everyone’s attention. The suggestion here is that God wants everyone to hear and respond to his wisdom. Furthermore, everyone is eventually going to hear the loud calls, and will have to make the decision to either accept or ignore the offer.
Although wisdom is loudly calling out, few are listening to her. The simple, the mockers and the fools are all ignoring her pleas.
22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?”
Many will ignore the calls for wisdom, but the wisdom of God is available to those who do listen and turn from their sinful ways.
23 “Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.”
Nobody likes to be rebuked, to be strongly reprimanded, or have their actions criticized. However, God will give understanding and wisdom to those that do repent when they have been rebuked.
Next the attention switches back to all those that continually fail to listen to God’s wisdom and are instead pursuing their own desires.
24 “But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.”
These verses reiterate that this group of people had the opportunity to listen to wisdom and obey God’s truths, but they instead willingly choose to ignore God. There are consequences for their choices. Notice that these verses state when disaster strikes and when calamity overtakes, not if disaster strikes or if calamity overtakes.
The next passage illustrates the need to seek wisdom before we act. Once we have acted foolishly or sinned, we must face the consequences. Even if we ask for forgiveness and repent, there are often still consequences that we have to face.
28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30 Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.”
We must wisely choose the correct path so that we can avoid disaster or calamity. Too often we spend so much energy and time trying to get out of tough spots and wiggle our way out of bad situations that were brought on by our own poor choices. We would be far better off to listen to wisdom and avoid these bad situations and tough spots altogether.
The last two verses in the chapter contrast the foolish and the wise man.
32 “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
Failing to follow God’s wisdom has consequences. Consequences now, but ultimately the greatest consequence will be on the final day of judgement. Similarly, wisely following God’s plan does not guarantee a problem free life, but it will give you peace and joy in this life, and most importantly it will ensure a perfect and eternal life in the kingdom.