Choosing Sides

“Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice…’How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge’” (Proverbs 1:20,22).

Fools revel in making idiotic choices. One of their distinguishing traits is a propensity for listening to the noisy clamor of other fools, even as close-­at-­hand wisdom struggles to make her voice heard. With lopsided dunce caps pulled down over their foolish ears, the note of reason becomes a distant mumble.

The book of Proverbs specializes in nonsense awareness and eradication.

From its opening verses, King Solomon illustrates the main difference between one with wisdom and a foolish counterpart: “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance… but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:5,7). By their choice, fools mock at the precipice of their treacherous downfall.

Elijah was surrounded by such a pack of fools in I Kings 18. Faced with 450 prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel and wanting the Israelites to recognize the disastrous consequences of bowing before false gods, he challenged the prophets to a competition of sorts. Two altars and two bulls, with their diametrically opposed objects of worship, would collide in a showdown to determine whether Baal or Jehovah reigned supreme.

From early morning till high noon, the prophets begged Baal to answer their pleas. “But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar they had made.” Then they cried loudly, sliced themselves with weapons of war, and raved repeatedly for some response. Again, “There was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.”

Elijah drenched the altar to Almighty God with twelve jars of water and pleaded, “Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God.” Only one offering was consumed with fire; only the God whose voice had spoken the universe into existence responded to prove himself before his people. The bull, the wood, the stones, the dust, and every drop of water disappeared when Jehovah showed up to defend his name.

Fools still create clamor and confusion to squelch wisdom’s speech. They still limp around self-­made altars while the gods of their own invention give silent testimony to their worthless state.

In dramatic contrast, in Jesus Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). Solomon, Elijah, and Paul point to this grand truth: “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God , righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (I Corinthians 1:30).

Hide us within the treasures of your wisdom, dearest Jesus. Drench us with the outpouring of yourself just like Elijah asked so the people in our life may also realize that “You, O LORD, are God.”

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