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The Feast of Folly

Wisdom in fleeing the "femme fatale" of foolishness

Proverbs 9:13-18

13 A foolish woman is clamorous;
She is simple, and knows nothing.

14 For she sits at the door of her house,
On a seat by the highest places of the city,

15 To call to those who pass by,
Who go straight on their way:

16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”;
And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,

17 “Stolen water is sweet,
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

18 But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of hell.


It was advertised as “an immersive music festival” on a “remote and private island in the Bahamas.” It promised glitz and glamor, where guests would party for two weeks with A-list celebrities and the top names in music and entertainment and all would enjoy, “the best in food, art, music, and adventure.”

The promoters called it “a quest to push beyond the boundaries…” and all of this would only cost you $12,000 to attend.  

None of what was advertised ever came to pass. The event was called “Fyre Festival” and the luxury music event that was supposed to host 40,000 people became a nightmare of fraud, failure, and millions of painful insect bites. 

The event was dreamed up by a Billy McFarland, a college-dropout entrepreneur who had come up with the idea during a 2016 trip to the Bahamas with rapper and celebrity Ja Rule. McFarland, a 25-year-old founder of an internet company and social media “influencer,” envisioned the wild week of partying and music and immediately began to recruit other “influencers” to promote his event. 

Within a month, celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Ashanti, and Hailey Baldwin were promoting it on social media. 

A month later, McFarland’s glossy marketing campaign released a “luxe” video, featuring yachts, with supermodels snorkeling in blue water and glamorous parties on Bahama beaches. Ticket sales skyrocketed as young people, longing for significance and their own internet “influence,” saw an opportunity to have all of this for themselves. 

But when the day of the festival arrived, none of what was advertised had taken place. The “remote and private island in the Bahamas” was simply a gravel parking area on the island of Exhuma. The “best in food, art, music, and adventure” turned out to be unfurnished FEMA tents and ham and cheese sandwiches. Finally “an immersive music festival” featured has-been bands like “Blink-182,” a group which promptly canceled once word began to spread of the disastrous event.

Planeloads of party-goers suddenly found themselves stranded with no escape and no flights out. Angry venders packed up in disgust, and as darkness fell, chaos erupted leading some to compare the scene to the dystopian novel, “Lord of the Flies.” Speaking of flies, to make things worse, biting gnats and insects feasted on the angry crowd.

Today, the Fyre Festival has become synonymous with other large-scale frauds and pyramid schemes. The festival founders pocketed millions, blamed others, and fended off lawsuits. Hulu and Netflix released tell-all documentaries. The media and the outside world took no pity on the starry-eyed young people who had paid tens- or hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend. One comedian summed up this attitude on a late night show:

If you had thousands of dollars to go on a trip to see Blink-182, then that is on you. That is Darwinism at its finest.–Ron Funches

It is easy to sit back and smirk at “fools and their money, easily squandered” (Proverbs 21:20), but we are reminded in Proverbs that there is someone waiting to take you and me “to the cleaners,” and she brings far more trouble than simply financial loss. Her way is the way of death.

Solomon has introduced Lady Wisdom, and reminds you once again of Dame Folly’s seductive call. You have read of her previously HERE, but as Solomon closes out his Prologue, he presses once again his warning of her ways:

13 A foolish woman is clamorous;
She is simple, and knows nothing.

14 For she sits at the door of her house,
On a seat by the highest places of the city,

15 To call to those who pass by,
Who go straight on their way:–Proverbs 9:13-15

Lady Wisdom, comes from God, from His very nature as the living Word (I Corinthians 1:18), but Dame Folly is a stranger to Creation and the product of sin’s intrusion. Dr. Bruce Waltke identifies her with the “adulterous woman” and the “wayward wife” previously described:

She is a femme fatale who will bring disaster on the son if he becomes involved with her–namely ruin from the community, insatiable vengeance from her current husband, and ultimately death from God.–Bruce Waltke, “Proverbs”

She is “clamorous,” in her deadly call, Waltke says, left to her own lust, and “willfully blind to lust’s deadly end.” Dame Folly offers a titillating, morally undemanding and easy message. She seeks to divert the attention of anyone who will listen–but particularly the “uncommitted.” She is insistent–a ruby-lipped bully–and, like Matthew Henry says:

The less she has to offer that is rational, the more violent and pressing she is, and carries the day often by dint of impudence.–Matthew Henry

But Dame Folly’s words have no power, until someone listens to her–as the serpent had no power in the Garden, until he diverted Eve’s attention to the forbidden fruit. Fruit, she and Adam then desired. Puritan Thomas Brooks writes of this strategy of the devil: 

Satan loves to sail with the wind, and to suit men’s temptations to their conditions and inclinations.–Thomas Brooks, “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” 

Have you ever wondered why some sins can have such power over you? It is easy feel a “victim,” or that you have been taken advantage of. The truth is, sin’s call and the appeal of Dame Folly is part of your very nature as a fallen person. She simply knows the tune you want to hear–and sings the songs for which your sinful heart longs. Like the old song by The Foundations, “Build me up, Buttercup:”

I need you (I need you) more than anyone, darlin'
You know that I have from the start
So build me up (build me up) buttercup, don't break my heart…

Dame Folly will build you up, but only break your heart. 

Solomon continues his warning:

16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”;
And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,

17 “Stolen water is sweet,
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

18 But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of hell–Proverbs 9:16-18

Dame Folly has laid out her meal in contrast to Lady Wisdom’s table. Instead of fine wine, Folly offers water. In place of the sumptuous feast of righteousness, Folly’s pantry is filled with stolen goods–appealing but laced with deadly poison. Like the advertising bait-and-switch of the foolish festival-goers, the devil likes to: 

…present the bait–and hide the hook; 
to present the golden cup–and hide the poison–Thomas Brooks

Are you beginning to see how easy it is to fall for Dame Folly’s trap? Even the strongest believer must do more than simply try to ignore sin and Folly’s call. You must attend to righteousness in Christ daily, seeking Wisdom’s path–for the alternative is spiritual, even physical death.

It is easy to see the wicked living with earthly blessings, and some seem to never suffer for their foolishness. But their end is final, and, as Tim Keller warns, death begins before their physical life ends: 

To miss out on true life is to enter the realm of death before your physical life has ended. To live a life cut off from God, with ever-increasing spiritual blindness, brittleness, and hardness is to become a spiritual corpse.–Tim Keller, “God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life”

What can you do? How can you resist Dame Folly’s deadly call, if she knows your sins and what leads you astray? 

The first step is to be aware of your sin and inclination toward it.

Jesus calls you in the Beatitudes to mourn your sin (Matt 5:4), for He is calling for you to grieve for your sinful nature. You long for righteousness, to be like Christ, but sometimes the struggle is so hard. But there is blessing in overcoming! As St. Jerome said: 

Let a man grieve for his sin and then joy for his grief.–St. Jerome

You are by nature a “child of wrath,” but “made alive in trespasses and sins” by Jesus’s completed work on the cross (Ephesians 2:1-3). When you realize that you, too, are capable of any sin, you find strength in turning to Him and His sustaining grace to keep you free from it–or to pick you up when you stumble.

The second thing you can do is to confess your sins to God, and to one another. 

When you, as a believer, do not regularly confess your sins to God, or hesitate to confess to a fellow believer, you are attempting to battle sin and satan alone. You are called in scripture to confess regularly:

16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.–James 5:16

If you shrink from confessing to others so that they do not think poorly of you–or do not confess when you have knowingly wronged them–you are living a false, hypocritical life. The Gospel provides you with freedom from sin’s grip, and healing between believers, for He is faithful and just to forgive (I John 1:9).

The third thing is to seek safety in numbers. 

Find fellowship within the body of believers. Seek out fellow pilgrims in this life and share your struggles wit them–and share their sinful burdens. Deitrich Bonhoeffer warned of the danger of “going solo” as a believer:

Sin demands a person to be by themselves. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive the sin will be over the person.–Bonhoeffer 

Like Dame Folly’s call for the fool to “turn aside,” the devil loves to isolate you in your sin and work his lies. When alone, he tells you that you are wicked, that you will never be clean, and that you may as well indulge. This is one more reason why you are called to seek the company of fellow believers, as Hebrews says:  

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.–Hebrews 10:24-25 

Which leads you finally to desire GOOD things. 

The last thing Dame Folly wants is for you to long for something besides her barren bed and poisoned table. But in tuning your desires daily by seeking God in prayer and searching His Word, you will know and long for Wisdom’s delicious feast. Like counting the days until Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, it can be a simple as thinking on it: 

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.–Philippians 4:8

Can you think on these things? You may be tempted to deny your desires, but God is calling you to make your desires His desires. C.S. Lewis was fond of this:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”–C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory

Do not be “too easily pleased” by Folly’s table, by seeking earthly “influence,” or the easy, glamorous life. Instead, desire the things above, and in His presence you will enjoy heavenly blessings today.


The Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay and this Saturday Deep is written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

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