Which Dog Will You Feed?

  1. Message: Proverbs 9 is a metaphorical story about wisdom personified. She is setting a banquet table and calling to everyone to join her and eat from her banquet table. Then there is another story of folly or foolishness depicted as an ignorant woman who calls out to men. I don’t believe the point of the story is intended to label wisdom or foolishness by gender. Wisdom is personified as “she” throughout the bible but the story of the foolish woman calling out to the men depicts foolishness like a prostitute. In the story the men are walking by minding their own business. In other words, they aren’t looking for trouble. Trouble is literally calling them. This story represents the way we all are walking through life minding our own business and foolishness is calling our name and luring us in like a prostitute.
  2. Command: Listen to wisdom and become familiar with her voice.
  3. Promise: Wisdom will multiply your days, add years to your life and benefit you. (verse 12)
  4. Warning: If you scorn wisdom you will be the one to suffer. (also verse 12)
  5. Application: This proverb shows that both wisdom and foolishness are both calling to us all but we have to decide which voice we are going to listen to. While writing this it occurred to me that we are most familiar with the voices of the people in our lives that we know and love the most. No matter where we are, we hear and recognize those familiar voices the loudest. They catch our attention because we have become so familiar with them. I could pick out my husband’s voice, his laugh or even the sound of his cough in a crowded room because after 25 years of marriage I have become very tuned in to the sound of his voice. In the same way, the voices of wisdom and foolishness work that way also. If we have spent more time listening to wisdom, we will hear her over the noise of foolishness. But unfortunately, if we have entertained the voice of foolishness, we will turn and listen to that seductive voice that we have become familiar with. We may even find comfort in her seduction despite the sound of wisdom calling us. While reading this proverb I saw the image of an old cartoon character standing with good and an evil images of themselves appearing in their thought bubble. Both influencing the person to make a decision. You may have heard this story before, but it’s an Indian proverb that reminded me of this one: Based on a Native American Indian Proverb…

A tribal elder is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he says to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two dogs. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continues, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asks his grandfather, “Which dog will win?”

The chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”

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