Solomon is writing Proverbs so that his son can have wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and instruction. In Proverbs 1:7, Solomon writes, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” This is the contrast that is explored for the rest of the book – the one that fears the Lord, or the wise man, versus the one who despises wisdom, or the foolish man.
In Proverbs 1:11-19 we read the first description of those that despise wisdom, the foolish, the sinners. These men “lie in wait for blood,” “ambush the innocent without reason,” they swallow the innocent alive like Sheol, or hell, and they do it all to “find precious goods” and “fill our houses with plunder.” These men run to evil to shed blood. This is a description of all those that have rebelled against God and Jesus. They want to rid the world of God so that they can be the rulers of the earth. They are willing to kill God’s son, “the innocent,” to achieve their goal when God’s son is sent to the earth.
But, Solomon tells us of the end of these sinners, the rebellious, in verses 18-19, “But these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives. Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.” Just like is says in the Psalms and elsewhere, the wicked are caught in their own trap, their own devices, their own violence. And, it takes away their life.
But, wisdom is calling out. 1 Corinthians 1:24 says that Christ is the power and wisdom of God. Look what wisdom, Jesus, says in Proverbs 1:20-33. So, Jesus is calling out to all in the market and the noisy streets. His voice is amongst all those other voices in the world that are trying to take us from him. Jesus asks how long we “love being simple”, continue scoffing in delight at our scoffing, and hate knowledge. He bids us to turn at his reproof. That is, Jesus is calling us to repent from walking in the way of sinners mentioned above. He is calling us to turn from our rebellion, our lives of independence, to become dependent on God alone.
But, if we don’t repent, if we don’t turn to God, and if we continue to hate knowledge, despise Jesus and his wisdom, then “They shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them.” All of the wicked we have conceived and planned will overtake those of us that continue to reject Jesus.
However, those who hear wisdom’s call, the call of Jesus to repent, will dwell securely with him and have peace and rest.