Cain and Abel demonstrate two ways of walking-the way of folly and the way of wisdom. Abel fears the Lord; Cain does not. Abel understands that God may only be approached through the substitutionary death of another, while Cain chooses his own way. The contrast continues in Abel's replacement, Seth, and his descendants, who begin to call upon the Lord. Cain's descendants, however, continue in the way of their forefather. Later, Cain and Seth's descendants intermarry, and the world becomes filled with violence and corruption. God, however, rescues the righteous (Noah and his family) when He destroys every air-breathing creature during the flood.
The contrast between the wise and the foolish continues beyond the flood. Ham uncovers his father's nakedness. Lot plants his life in Sodom. Esau sells his birthright. The children of Israel worship an idol, rebel against authority, and spend needless years in the wilderness. Achan buries the forbidden things under his tent. Israel intermarries with the Canaanites and worships their idols. Saul disregards Samuel's instructions. On and on throughout the Bible's story men and women take either the path of wisdom or the path of foolishness. There is no middle ground.
After years of studying human behavior, Solomon records his findings in the Book of Proverbs. He contrasts at least 30 characteristics of the wise and the foolish. The chart below highlights a portion of those contrasts:
Every person either possesses one or the other of these pairs of characteristics. None come in various shades; they describe a person as either wise or foolish-not partially wise or partially foolish.
The book of Proverbs is therefore like a mirror-what you see is who you are.
Questions from today's chronological Bible reading (Proverbs 8:1-10:32):
What do the proverbs in today's reading reveal about the lazy person and laziness? About the person of integrity? About wisdom and restraint in communication?
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