The wisdom promoted in this book is not the conventional kind associated with intellectual pursuits. In this book wisdom is living in right relationship with God. In its very first line this book challenges readers to love “righteousness” and to think of the Lord.
To reinforce this theme the author (the wise King Solomon by tradition) contrasts the advantages of service (wisdom) with the disadvantages experienced by those who resist serving God (folly).
1) Life. The reading affirms God’s gift of life so forcefully: “God formed man to be imperishable.” In God’s plan people are to live forever in the divine presence. God fashioned all things to have being, but for humanity there is the special gift of everlasting life. In fact, as the author states so boldly, there is not a destructive drug among all the creatures of the world. Certainly the author knew of poisonous plants and animals. But the reference here is to things that destroy a person’s relationship with God. Life apart from God is death. Death of this kind is not part of God’s plan; it is the work of the prince of this world who seeks to steer people away from God and, therefore, away from the source of life.
2) Calling. Because they are made in God’s image and likeness people are called to be in a special relationship with God. God provides them with every advantage to sustain that bond and thereby enjoy eternal life in God’s presence. But this marvelous gift is jeopardized for those who replace God with some created thing. On the other hand, choosing to serve God places everything else in proper perspective. Created realities should be regarded as wholesome gifts from God to assist people along the journey to eternal life.