Proverbs 24:13-14

My son, eat honey, for it is good,

    and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.

14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul;

    if you find it, there will be a future,

    and your hope will not be cut off.

Proverbs 24:13-14 ESV

Here, the writer invokes a word picture to entice the reader into seeking wisdom. Knowing his son’s delight in the sweetness of honey, he compares it to getting wisdom. In the way that you enjoy the sweetness of honey, so also is wisdom to your soul.

This makes me think of how parents sometimes use sweet treats to administer medication to their children. By using something the children enjoy, the parent is able to entice the child to take that which will be beneficial to him. Here, the long term goal is soul health, and the writer uses the sweet imagery of honey to get his son to get wisdom for the sake of his future: “If you find [wisdom], there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”

What would be a good enticement for you to seek wisdom?

Proverbs 23:1-5

When you sit down to eat with a ruler,

    observe carefully what is before you,

and put a knife to your throat

    if you are given to appetite.

Do not desire his delicacies,

    for they are deceptive food.

Do not toil to acquire wealth;

    be discerning enough to desist.

When your eyes light on it, it is gone,

    for suddenly it sprouts wings,

    flying like an eagle toward heaven.

Proverbs 23:1-5 ESV

This verse is a wake up call to be aware of the strong desires of our flesh.

In saying “put a knife to your throat” the writer is telling us to guard our hearts by physically resisting the amount and kinds of food we enjoy in the presence of a ruler/king. Why? Because it is easy to come to desire the “best things in life,” thus creating a sinful discontent with our “ordinary” life.

Being discontent with what God has provided for us dishonors Him.

Being discontent with what God has provided for us leads us to envy.

Being discontent with what God has provided for us leads us toward sin.

When our hearts are set on wealth, we will chase it wherever it leads. Verse 5 warns us that wealth will sprout wings and fly away, thus leading us to wherever it lands. And that journey to a land far away from God can begin by enjoying too much at the kings table.

Proverbs 5:7

And now, O sons, listen to me,

    and do not depart from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 5:7 ESV

These are the words of a parent who has traveled further down the road than his child, and thus has seen some of the twists and turns of life that are in his child’s future. Here, the writer wants to get his child’s attention because there are dangers ahead (see 8-14).

In the first clause, listen conveys the idea of “pay attention and do.” Simply hearing what I’m saying isn’t enough; you need to understand and do. I think of a coach calling his team into a huddle to explain what he wants them to do. Often the call to attention in that scenario is, “Listen up!” By that he means “pay attention, I’m about to give you instructions that you need to understand and execute.”

The second clause indicates the expectation of an ongoing commitment to what is about to be said. It isn’t enough to hear and understand; committed application is the expectation.

How often do we read the Bible with the intent to understand and apply? It’s easy to fall into the trap of reading Scripture seemingly for the sake of reading … without listening. At the end of those sessions we can say we read X number of chapters, but we can hardly explain anything that we read. Is that helpful?

Proverbs 21:3

To do righteousness and justice

    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Proverbs 21:3 ESV

This verse is an apologetic against the modern idea that “I have Jesus, so I can do whatever I want.” I have heard people say dismissively about their sin, “It’s under the blood.” While it is true that Jesus’ blood covers all of our sin, our attitude about his sacrifice is not inconsequential.

Here, the writer reminds us of the Lord’s primary desire for righteousness and justice. But, as sinners, how can we do those things sufficiently? Second Corinthians 5:21 reminds us that “For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” So, rather than have a dismissive attitude about Christ’s death on our behalf, we should rejoice that in his death, he made it possible for us to be clothed in his righteousness.

Proverbs 20:2

The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;

    whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.

Proverbs 20:2 ESV

This proverb is obviously a warning about the power of the king. Poking and provoking a king will lead to dire consequences. However, kings should take note that they have a responsibility to their people and they should not behave as animals.

%d bloggers like this: