Proverbs 29:3

Loving Wisdom vs. Loving Harlots


1. This proverb contrasts two different sons.

2. It is a contrast between a wise son who follows the counsel of wisdom and a foolish son who follows a sinful lifestyle.

3. It is also a contrast between loving wisdom and loving harlots.

3a Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father:

1. “Whoso loveth wisdom.”

a. This refers to a wise son. (“His father…”)

b. We know that this son is wise because he loves wisdom.

2. Love in the Bible is not just an emotion, but speaks of action.

a. If there is genuine love, then there will be the fruit of that love. It will be manifested in outward actions, not just inward feelings.

b. Loving wisdom involves OBEYING the voice of wisdom.

c. John 14:15 – “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

d. Love for God is expressed in obedience—to the Word of God.

e. Love for wisdom is also expressed in obedience—to words of wisdom.

f. The book of Proverbs is a FULL of words of wisdom. It is full of words of warnings from Lady Wisdom in the early chapters.

g. It is full of words of wisdom from the father to his sons.

h. It is full of words of wisdom from Solomon and other kings to their subjects.

3. Some sons did not love the counsel of Lady Wisdom.

a. Prov. 1:20-25 – Lady Wisdom called to the youth to hear, but they laughed her to scorn. She stretched out her arm to them, but no one regarded.

b. Vs. 22 – The reason they disregarded her words of wisdom was because they HATED wisdom and knowledge.

c. Vs. 22 – Instead of loving wisdom, they loved simplicity (inexperience and a lack of wisdom).

d. Vs. 29-30 – They did not love wisdom and knowledge and counsel. They HATED it. They rejected her counsel.

e. They expressed their lack of love for wisdom by choosing folly and rejecting wisdom’s calls.

4. But some sons do love wisdom and counsel.

a. Proverbs 8:12 – Wisdom is speaking.
• Wisdom has counsel and understanding—and that results in strength. (vs.14)
• Wisdom explains that it is because of wisdom that kings reign and princes decree justice. (vs.15-16)
• And wisdom loves those that love wisdom! (vs.17)
• There are those who do love wisdom and who SEEK it early. They seek it early in life. They seek it early in situations that arise, instead of as a last resort, after our own understanding fails us.
• This term for “early” also implies with diligence.
• The ones who love wisdom seek her early… right away… and with diligence… as if they were seeking for valuable treasure.
• Vs. 18-19 – In fact, those who seek wisdom ARE seeking for a valuable treasure!
• Vs. 21 – Those who love wisdom will inherit substance and will fill their treasures.

b. This is the kind of son that Solomon is describing in the first part of Proverbs 29:3 – a son who loves wisdom. He has good reason to love wisdom!

c. Prov. 4:7 – “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”

d. If you really love wisdom, you will be diligent, you will sacrifice, you will cross mountains to obtain it—like seeking for gold!

5. This is the kind of son that rejoices his father.

a. This has been a theme in Proverbs:
• Prov.10:1 – “A wise son maketh a glad father.”
• Prov.23:15 – “My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.”
• Prov.23:24 – “The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.”
• Prov.27:11 – “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad.”

b. Note that the father rejoices not that his son has achieved wisdom and maturity, but that he LOVES wisdom.
• Even if the son is not quite there yet, the father rejoices because he knows that his son WILL be there one day. That is guaranteed.
• Prov. 8:17 – “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”
• The wise father gives his son time to find wisdom. He knows that his son is seeking it—and in good time WILL find it.
• It is all a matter of the heart’s desire.

3b But he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.

1. In contrast to a son who is seeking after wisdom, Solomon describes another son who is seeking pleasure and self-indulgence.

a. This son is seeking and keeping company with harlots.

b. This son is seeking a lifestyle of loose living and immorality.

c. I Cor. 6:18-20 – “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

2. The sad part is that wisdom would have preserved him from seeking harlots and loose living… and dealing with the aftermath and consequences of such a lifestyle.

a. Prov. 2:11-12a – “Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: 12To deliver thee from the way of the evil man.” Wisdom would keep a young girl from an evil man.

b. Prov.2:16-17 – “To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; 17Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.” Wisdom would have kept this young man from the strange woman (harlot).

c. Prov. 5:1-5, 7-11 – Wisdom gives warning for a good reason… to prevent the youth from following evil ways and paying the consequences for the rest of their lives!

3. The good news is that, like the prodigal son, the foolish son can learn his lesson the hard way, repent and begin to love wisdom and seek it with all of his heart.

a. Unfortunately, you have to live with the consequences of sin.

b. There may be some scars from that lifestyle. There may be some children from that lifestyle. There may be a whole host of issues that he could have avoided had he listened to wisdom earlier in life.

c. But even so, he can get his life back on track and be restored spiritually and made whole again.

4. The foolish son who keeps company with harlots “spendeth his substance.”

a. One of the consequences of rejecting the way of wisdom and choosing the way of harlots and loose living is that it is expensive. You can burn through money pretty quickly living that kind of a lifestyle.

b. The prodigal son did. He spent his father’s substance.

c. Consider the words of Luke 15:13-16: “And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.”

d. Immorality is very expensive—in many ways… the drugs, the booze, the hotels, the prostitutes, the gambling, potential blackmail, divorce, etc.

e. There’s a hefty price to pay for loose living; it’s not cheap.

f. Solomon says that the foolish son “spendeth his substance.” Loose living left him broke.

g. Prov. 6:26 – “For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread.”