Proverbs 14:1: Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Along with Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon, Proverbs is one of the biblical books of Hebrew poetry. It is often not recognized as such by the average reader since our western minds expect to see rhyme, rhythm and meter in poetry, as in "Roses are red, violets are blue."

The book of Proverbs in particular uses a device known as parallelism to teach the truths God intends it to convey. One thing will be compared or contrasted to another, allowing us to make the evaluation we need to make and come to the proper conclusion on the subject. And that is the case with Proverbs 14:1 and the two very different types of women we see in the same short verse.

Mind you, the truth conveyed applies equally well to men.

The subject matter on Solomon's mind was that of builders and destroyers of a house. And the house itself was not solely the small dwelling place of a family. It certainly included that, but that very same word was also used repeatedly to describe the house of God and entire nations.

The picture Solomon gave was particularly striking. On one side of the poetical street, we see a woman diligently building her house; she is making it better day by day, expanding it, beautifying it, loving it, being grateful for it. Her husband and children have a place to live that is constantly getting bigger and better and stronger and more pleasant because of her efforts. But across the street, the second woman is taking a sledgehammer to her own home. She is busting out the windows and pulverizing the bricks. She is poking holes in the roof so rain can get in. She is ripping up the driveway and leaving the debris lying in place. She is taking a chainsaw to the floor joists and roof trusses. She has been given a home to live in but is determined to ruin it for herself and everyone else.

Solomon called that destroyer a foolish woman. And his description is perfect. It takes wisdom to build a house; one needs to know how to measure and cut and frame and brace and a thousand other skills that take time and effort and patience.

But all it takes to tear a house down is an attitude and something heavy to swing. A person with an IQ number so low that it would not make a decent earthquake can tear a house down. And, sadly, these days many are busily doing so.

I am not impressed, nor should anyone else be, by people who destroy their own homes, be they ungrateful children or ungrateful spouses. Many are the young people especially who are raised to adulthood by the sacrifices and labor of hard-working, honest parents, who then "get more educated" than mom and dad and turn and mock and malign both their raising and their raisers. They know well how to take a sledgehammer to the home they should be grateful for, but have never built anything of their own and, in fact, have no clue how to do so.

I am not impressed, nor should anyone else be, by people who destroy their own churches. Generations of others who came before them have prayed, given sacrificially, labored with their own hands, fasted, knocked on doors and been used of God to build something where there was nothing. Yet, oblivious to their own foolishness, they expend every ounce of effort to ruin what it took generations to build. They know well how to take a sledgehammer to the church they should be grateful for, but have never built anything of their own and, in fact, have no clue how to do so.

I am not impressed, nor should anyone else be, by people who are intent on destroying America. People of every race worked through every difficulty, disagreement and disaster to produce a nation so great that people all around the world want to come live here, and yet Solomon would shake his head in bewilderment at the cacophonous cadre of cackling crackpots who are plucking it down brick by brick. They believe it is too flawed to be allowed to stand. But based on the wisdom of Proverbs 14:1, a fair question for us to ask the would-be destroyers is "What have you built?"

Think about it. We can look around and see what wise ones before us have built. But the destroyers are offering no resumé, no accomplishment list, no reason to trust them, just piles of rubble in their wake.

Show me what you have built. Show me your gleaming cities on a hill. Show me the smiling faces of those you have liberated from oppression. Show me the economic opportunities you have provided to others. Show me your great political documents. Show me your graveyards filled with bodies of warriors who went halfway across the globe to keep the entire world from falling into a thousand years of darkness. Show me what flag you have produced that oppressed people in every corner of the globe rally around as a symbol of freedom.

No one should ever be allowed access to a sledgehammer until they can prove their work with a framing hammer first.

Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at Email him at

Answers to last week’s Bible quiz

Here are the answers to the questions I posed in last week’s column:

1. Sherah, 1 Chronicles 7

2. Proverbs 31

3. Balaam, Numbers 24:17

4. The stoning of Stephen, Acts 7

5. The middle wall of partition, Ephesians 2:14

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Pastor Bo Wagner