We see the advantages of wisdom again. Wisdom builds up while folly tears down. This includes all aspects of one’s life.
My bible helps is back to helping me separate verses again. They group these first three verses on the basis of the benefits of building up through sensible labor verses folly tearing down their life at their own hands. Let’s see what the Spirit wants to add to this.
The first person mentioned here is a woman. Solomon has been referring to “wisdom” and “folly” as women all along. We could keep with this understanding or speak of it as literal women. We have to look at what “builds her house” means if we are taking this verse literally. I doubt any woman physically built a house in Solomon’s days but the wife was responsible for making the dwelling a home. She ‘built’ the family in more ways than one.
The most obvious ‘building block’ is children. The wife bore and raised the children to a certain age. She was their main teacher during their early years. She helped lay the foundation of their character. They would carry her first lessons with them throughout their life.
The second building block she provided is relationship. She fostered the bond between the husband and children. She balanced the needs of both and ensured that both felt a part of the other. She probably played mediator at times. She was the ‘glue’ that held the family together.
Her third building block is what she does for her family. She sews clothes for them. She cooks and cleans. She supports her husband’s needs and dreams, building him up in both the home and community. She teaches her children in the ways of the Lord. She is industrious and hard-working, modeling this behavior for her children. Her house is strong and can weather any storm. These are the contributions of a wise woman.
The ‘contributions’ of a foolish woman result in destruction of her home. She withholds herself from her husband, denying him children. If she does bear children they are a burden to her and she takes no delight in them. She refuses them more than the barest necessities. She saves the best for herself.
She is the source of strife in the home as she competes for attention, even over her own children. She tears her husband down with her words, both in the home and in the community. She is always complaining and seeking fault. She may even go outside of the home for her ‘relationships’. She is not content with anyone in her home.
She is lazy. She would rather follow her own desires than to tend to the needs of a household. She wastes what she has and asks for more. Her children learn bitterness and strife. They learn disrespect for all authority, including the Lord. Her house is in shambles and cannot stand.
A man or woman can take on the role of wisdom or folly. It takes two working in concert to build a strong home. Both need to be seeking the wisdom of the Lord for their home to prosper. Both need to walk in the ways of the Lord and let their words reflect that relationship. Their talk must match up with their walk. This relationship with the Lord will preserve them, whatever may come.
The man or woman of folly is scheming and devious. Their own words condemn them. Their walk and talk match up under the surface, even if what they are trying to project doesn’t.
This reminds me of my first daughter-in-law’s mother. She tried to portray herself as smart and kind and loving. What she was instead was devious and spiteful. She would get an idea of how she wanted things to be and refuse to let it be any other way. Those ideas ALWAYS favored her and no one else. While battling in court with her, in the end, we let her own words convict her. They became a “rod for her back.” Her own mouth turned the verdict in our favor.
Father God, help me be a wise woman. Help me build my family with love. I know I have tried being wise and walking in Your ways all my life. But I also know if have often failed. I have torn down what I should have built up. I have put my wants first. I have been frustrated with those who didn’t conform to my wishes or standards.
I AM trying harder Lord to be gracious and loving. I am learning how to let some expectations go and to simply trust You with the process. Whatever comes Lord, let me be a reflection of Your love.