Wisdom is personified in Proverbs in some areas. She shouts in the street and at the gate of the city. Wisdom is not hiding. She is in the midst of people. Society has a collective conscience and they know between right and wrong by God’s design. Just like individuals, society can become seared also. In fact, America is searing her conscience at an alarming rate today.
The gate of the city is similar to our court system. It’s also like city hall. City business is conducted at the gate. Wisdom is with the authorities of government. Do the wrong thing and you will pay to the last cent. If you stand before the judge, he will scrutinize your actions and get to the bottom of them. When caught by the system the less desirable side of Wisdom is activated.
“Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: ‘How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge?’” Proverbs 1:20-22
Verses 8 through 19 give a clue to the context. Being simple minded means being an open book in the bad sense. You act any way you please, for your own ends. You are open to anything. In the context it suggests that you run with violent men. You have no trouble pushing Wisdom aside and acquiring your lusts through force and deception. You do not love your neighbor as yourself. You mock Wisdom. This type of person is worldly. It doesn’t mean they are simple, as in harmless or dumb. They are open to any crime as long as they get what they want.
“’Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; and you neglected all my counsel and did not want my reproof; I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes.’” Proverbs 1:23-26
Turning to the reproof of Wisdom is repentance. God is calling violent men to repentance through the collective conscience of society.
Remember that this is Wisdom speaking. The Lord won’t laugh at the demise of violent men. He has no pleasure in their death either. The Lord is not like this, nor does He want us to act like this as we see in Proverbs later. This is Wisdom speaking. They will pay to the uttermost because Wisdom has no mercy on her bad side. It’s not a person. It’s more like a machine.
If you are brought to court the machine is turned on; it will finish its job without mercy. Wisdom cannot help you at this point and it will seem to mock you. You’ll, all of a sudden, grow a conscience, but Wisdom cannot help you at this point. It’s too late.
I teach the Bible in prison. When criminals are caught, some act repentant or feel remorse, but it’s too late. They did the deed, and they come to see Wisdom on her bad side. It seems as if the system is laughing at them while she makes them pay the price too. The judge is harsh, the victims are angry, and on top of all that the guards give you no respect during your stay.
I meet with the men in a room in the main building, and the guards are slow to open the doors for me. We stand in the halls the whole time some days. They have no respect or care for these criminals. I hear the guys complain sometimes at how disrespectful the guards are and I get it, but what are you gonna do. They are in prison. They didn’t heed Wisdom and her ministers have no sympathy.
“’When your dread comes like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but they will not find me, because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord.’” Proverbs 1:27-29
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. The respect of His governmental ministers is the fear of Him who ordained them. When you pay your taxes and keep the law you are wise and actually fear the Lord. People who don’t necessarily believe in Jesus are sadly better than this as I am. That’s probably why the Lord has me teaching in prison! Wisdom and her ministers do not have sympathy, but I sure do. I know I should be in the same position if it weren’t for the grace of Jesus Christ!