"The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol."
– Proverbs 9:13-18
Loud - but knowing nothing. Constantly talking - with nothing to say. Seducing you towards her - but with nothing to give. Simply wanting those who are walking straight to turn. Hers is the way of the simple - of the easy. Hers is the lazy, relaxing, desirable, thoughtless, loud, fast and easy solution.
Foolishness is pictured here as a seductive and “easy” woman - tempting weary travelers with her secret and stolen “water and bread”. She wants us to focus on our feelings - on this moment. You're tired - focus on how sweet the water is - don't think about how it doesn't really belong to you, and that you will soon be caught as a thief. Focus on the temporary satisfaction you find from eating this bread - don't focus in the fact that you have to always do it in hiding because you didn't really earn it. This nourishment does not belong to you. This nourishment was never stewarded to you. This satisfaction is so much lamer then food that was rightfully earned. The pleasures that God actually entrusts us with are devoid of guilt, shame, hiding, secrecy, lies, stealing, depression, and death.
Although this is an allegory - so often folly truly is a woman. Perhaps an image of a beautiful temptress that is not your wife. Perhaps a promiscuous stranger that arouses attention and desire. In these moments consequences fade and immediate feelings reign supreme. In your mind you don't compare these women to your wife - because in these moments you operate as a single man. I'm these moments it's just you, her and your own personal satisfaction: just like it is in this proverb.
Lord - I need your strength now. Strength to analyze folly before it takes hold of me. Strength to cling to you in moments if temptation. To reach out to those around me for help. Lord, I praise you for the joy in purity that I have been experiencing lately. Truly the satisfaction I am enjoying far surpasses the guilt and shame of lady folly. And yet she calls. She is still often the loudest voice. She is still often the easiest choice. She still offers the most immediate satisfaction for my weary mind. And yet you are a big picture God. You are outside of time and space - you are not distracted or shaped by fleeting impressions and momentary thrills - you see a fuller perspective. You see the destructive paths and endless cycles that folly is a part of. And you share this insight with your children to help us:
“But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.”
These fleeting pleasures are stepping stones to all enslaving cycles that pull us into the worship, control and servitude to sin and satan, and ultimately ends in eternal damnation. The tempter knows his time is limited and he wants to take us with him.
Lord, unite and guard our hearts.