Proverbs 1:20-23

Wisdom Calls!

20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,

1. In this section, Solomon personifies Wisdom.

a. Webster’s: A figure of speech in which a thing, quality, or idea is represented as a person.

b. Solomon uses this figure of speech here and in 8:1 and 9:3.

c. This is not the wisdom of man, but Divine wisdom.

2. Wisdom is pictured here as IF she were a person:

a. Crying out… uttering her voice in the street… crying out in the chief place of concourse… in the gates of the city…

b. In other words, wherever people gather—there is wisdom crying out to them…

c. Wisdom has a message she wants to communicate with all people!

d. Solomon speaks of Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly in this book. Each one is calling out to men to follow…

3. There is a difference between the way Wisdom calls and the way Folly calls.

a. Wisdom calls out in the open—in the streets—in the open gates and concourse.

b. When the fools call out to the youth in 1:10-11Iit is a secret, sly, covert kind of calling… done in the dark.

c. Lady Wisdom CALLS out loud… she cries out for all to her. Fools whisper… like the hissing of a serpent.

d. Wisdom has nothing to hide. Folly and evil attempt to hide their real intentions.

4. Wisdom is calling here—but evidently, few are listening! (vs.24)

a. The end of the chapter outlines the disastrous results of NOT taking heed to the call of wisdom. (vs.31)

b. There are GOOD consequences of taking heed. (vs.33)


How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity?

1. First, the foolish ones are addressed as “simple.”

a. Simple: naïve; inexperienced; babes in wisdom; ignorant ones; spiritual immaturity;

b. The simple are unstable—easily influenced for good or bad—but are naturally bent toward the evil.

c. This is not a sort of innocent kind of naïveté, but in this context, it has an evil connotation.

d. It is a kind of inexperience that rejects counsel… a willful ignorance…

2. Wisdom cries out, “How long will ye love simplicity?”

a. It is a rhetorical question. (He is not expecting an answer!)

b. The point of the question is really to highlight THINKING of the simple ones: they LOVE their simplicity!

c. Foolish people love their folly. Many ignorant people LOVE their ignorance! Many spiritually immature people LOVE their immaturity.

d. This, sadly, is human nature. That is the main point Solomon makes here. It is human nature for fools to love folly.

e. They do not WANT to be corrected! They don’t want to have light shine on their darkness. Darkness hates the light and will not come to the light lest its evil deeds be exposed!

3. This question is intended to be a call to repentance!

a. Wisdom is calling ignorant people to repent of their ignorance… calling upon inexperienced people to repent of their inexperience…

b. To ask, “How long” = “Stop! Repent!”

c. It is one thing to be ignorant because you have no access to information. It is quite another thing to HEAR wisdom calling… and to ignore her… and to go on in one’s ignorance!

d. Ignorance then becomes willful ignorance. It is no longer innocent but evil!

e. Wisdom is calling on the ignorant and the inexperienced here to STOP being ignorant and inexperienced!

4. The love of ignorance.

a. They say ignorance is bliss. This kind of thinking is exactly what Solomon is rebuking!

b. There is a childlike bliss to the ignorance of children.
• They don’t have to worry about atomic war…
• Or the economy… or whether the factory will close down and lose their job. They have no concern about their retirement package.
• They don’t think about cancer and other diseases.
• They get in a car and don’t think about the horrors of an accident.
• In the spiritual realm, I doubt if any of the kids here ever worry about Salem Bible Church being taken over by charismatics, New Evangelicals, Reformed theology, contemporary Christian music, Amillennialism; etc.
• Most young children are unaware that a spiritual battle is being waged in the heavens—to lure them away from Christ.
• Children are blissfully ignorant of all of the above! And rightly so! Enjoy your childhood, kids!

c. One would expect a child to love his cookies and toys. A child should love his years of inexperience ignorance of the adult world.

d. But there comes a time when a child SHOULD be concerned about things other than the sand in the sandbox or whether we have any cookies and lemonade!
• There comes a point when it is quite foolish for a grown man not to be concerned about cholesterol level… or his job security… or retirement…
• There comes a point when it is quite foolish spiritually for a believer NOT to be concerned about the spiritual battle being waged about him… he should be concerned about whether Salem Bible Church is overtaken by contemporary Christian music and the charismatics, etc.
• Grown men should not want to remain ignorant or inexperienced… especially in the spiritual realm—but also in the natural realm!

e. It is also clear that there are many grown men and women who seem to LOVE their simplicity… ignorance… they wallow in it!
• Many adults refuse to grow up!
• You’ve seen the 65 year olds dressing up and behaving as if they were 16!
• I have met many Christians that fall into this category—they refuse to grow up!
• Any attempt to enlighten them… teach them… admonish them is rejected — and the one attempting to help is considered to be promoting groundless alarm—
• They would reply, “Lighten up!” “Don’t worry, be happy!” “You’re just a Killjoy!”
• They love their simplicity!



1. Here, a second kind of fool is mentioned—a scorner.

a. Scorner: to be inflated, scoff, act as a scorner, show oneself a mocker; one who is arrogant;

b. This fool is more advanced in his folly than the “simple” one.

c. This fool not only ignores wisdom calling, but MOCKS her! He speaks arrogantly against her! He scoffs at her wisdom… inflating himself ABOVE any need for her!

2. Here wisdom is frustrated even more—because these fools DELIGHT in their scoffing!

a. They get great pleasure at mocking wisdom.

b. You’ve met these people! They are everywhere!

c. The scorner mocks purity… holiness.. truth… the Bible…

d. Any attempt to set him on the straight and narrow will not only be ignored, it will be actively rejected… opposed… ridiculed!

e. Anyone who attempts to share God’s wisdom with this crowd will be mocked as a “goody two shoes!” or a “holier than thou”!

3. Have you ever shared the gospel with someone—and become frustrated because they seem to love their sin… or they love their ignorance… they don’t really WANT to know what the Bible says—for fear that it might make them more accountable?

a. That is the same kind of frustration that God must feel even towards His own people—when He calls us with His wisdom—and we seem to love our simplicity!



1. The third term for fool is translated “fool” in English.

a. Fool = fool, stupid fellow, dullard, arrogant fellow;

b. If the three terms depict a “progression” in folly, this is the worst yet!

c. This is a person who is a settled fool… a determined fool… a career fool!

2. This kind of fool is characterized by hating knowledge.

a. Solomon speaks of this often in Proverbs.

b. vs.29 – they hated the knowledge that comes from God.

c. Sometimes, this kind of fool laments his case—when it is too late! (Prov.5:7-13) vs.12- How have I hated instruction!

d. Prov.12:1 – the one who hates instruction is brutish—stupid!

e. Prov.13:18 – Poverty and shame shall be to that man!

f. Prov. 15:
• vs. 5- a fool despises his father’s instruction—or any one else’s!
• vs. 10 – Correction is grievous! He shall die!
• vs. 12 – He does not appreciate the one who reproves!
• vs. 31-32 – He despises his own soul! His folly results in personal damage—catastrophe!

g. Eccl. 7:5 – The fool does not want to hear reproof. He just wants to hear happy sounds… upbeat… positive… eat, drink, and be merry! I don’t need to be corrected!

3. God’s Wisdom (personified) is pictured as being extremely frustrated with the attitude of these foolish people!

a. Wisdom is crying out—but no one is listening!

b. Wisdom is trying to reprove and rebuke so as to HELP—but instead of being appreciated, she is scorned… rejected… mocked… ridiculed!

c. Again, the point of the question is to highlight an aspect of human nature—people do NOT like to be corrected… reproved… admonished

d. It is because of arrogance and pride—a sign of great folly!

e. Remember how the book began—“a wise man will hear and increase in learning…” (vs.5)

4. II Tim. 4:2-4 – It is frustrating as a pastor sometimes too!

a. The pastor’s job is to reprove and rebuke when needed.

b. However, men do not WANT to be corrected or reproved! Yet God says, “Do it any way!”

c. Men behave much like a cornered cat!

d. Yet, I must at times, open God’s word and point out God’s wisdom on a particular issue—as a means of reproof—knowing that many men and women will behave like fools—
• I may have to point out a sin… or an attitude that is contrary to the Scriptures!
• I may have to point out an area where an individual has not been faithful…to their ministry… or in attendance…
• I may have to point out an offense…
• I may have to warn about backsliding or slipping away…
• A wise man will hear God’s Wisdom. A fool loves their ignorance… a scorner might even actively oppose the wisdom presented… and a hard hearted, full scale fool will even HATE it!

5. And, this wisdom cries out to us in many ways.

a. It may be the pastor…

b. It most likely will be in our devotion time—although many foolish people don’t have their personal devotions…

c. So it may have to come from another believer… (Rom. 15:14 – we should be able to admonish one another —- with God’s wisdom!)

23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

1. Turn = repent, turn back; return;

2. Reproof = rebuke, correction, reproof, punishment, chastisement

3. Wisdom is calling for repentance—for the simple, the scorners, and the fools to repent… to acknowledge God’s wisdom and to OBEY!

4. I will pour out my spirit unto you and make known my words unto you!

a. This is an awesome promise!

b. IF we are WILLING to OBEY Gods’ wisdom—God will give us all we need for life and godliness!

c. God isn’t trying to withhold wisdom from anybody! In fact, wisdom is calling out in the open spaces for all to come to her!

d. The promise is, “If you will respond to my call… come to me… seeking wisdom… in sincerity… willing to repent… willing to change… willing to DO what is right—I will not just trickle down—but POUR out my wisdom upon your life!

5. Thus, wisdom in the Bible is not a matter of intelligence… brain power… or academics. It is a MORAL issue.

a. The man who is WILLING to receive God’s wisdom will have it showered upon them.

b. The man who is UNWILLING to receive God’s wisdom does so because he LOVES his folly… he loves his simplicity… he loves his ignorance and sin. He will remain in his ignorance and darkness and folly.

c. When it comes to understanding God’s wisdom and truth—the words of Jesus are applicable :
• Matthew 13:12 – For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
• To the reader of Proverbs: “Should I put this book down because it points out my ignorance and folly, (and thus continue in my folly) or should I continue reading, respond to God’s wisdom, and gain wisdom from it… increase in learning?”