This is the sermon for Wednesday night, March 4th, 2009.
Everyday Wisdom part 23
My Dad was one who believed in giving Fatherly advice. Perhaps that is because he wasn’t really close to his father. His father wasn’t a believer until God mercifully saved him on his death-bed. But God was also gracious to Dad. He avoided many pitfalls that teenagers his age and in his condition often took. He was saved in his teenage years. So I believe Dad through Christ made up for the fact that he didn’t really receive any fatherly advice from his father. He constantly gave me fatherly advice, even when I became an adult. And it wasn’t until the time that I became an adult that I started to appreciate the advice he gave me. And now that he is in heaven, I miss those times that he would give advice without me asking of him.
Well, this is what the book of Proverbs is. It is mainly written as a parent to his sons. And in this chapter, Solomon lays out some warnings to his children. These warning mainly involve things they should watch out for and avoid.
Tonight, let’s read these fatherly warnings as concern and wise counsel coming from our Heavenly Father, to us His children. Let’s read these warnings and look at them tonight.
Be careful when dining with someone who is in authority over you.
Proverbs 23:1-3 NLT (se) – 1 While dining with a ruler, pay attention to what is put before you. 2 If you are a big eater, put a knife to your throat; 3 don’t desire all the delicacies, for he might be trying to trick you.
This one in authority over you may be someone who is a leader in government, maybe an employer, or some other type of person. While eating with them, pay careful attention to what you are eating. Don’t get the most expensive food at the restaurant, even if the other person is paying.
The literal translation of the phrase, “pay attention to what is put before you,” is, “Do not allow the feast to excite you with greed.”
Also don’t be a glutton. You notice the phrase in v. 2, “Put a knife to your throat.” This looks rather harsh. It is not saying to kill yourself. This is a metaphoric Middle Eastern phrase that means, “To control your appetite, or to show restraint in how much you eat.”
Your focus should not be in filling your stomach, and eating the finest of food, but your focus should be on the authority figure you are eating with and what he is saying. He might have brought you there to manipulate and trick you into something you should not do. In our culture we have the term, “Wining and dining.” This is essentially what might be happening.
So focus on what he is saying and be sober and alert, it might be something that the enemy is trying to use to ultimately devour you.
1 Peter 5:8 ISV – Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
Don’t be a workaholic.
Proverbs 23:4-5 NLT (se) – 4 Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. 5 In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.
This one really can apply to us men. We find a lot of satisfaction in our jobs. We can find personal fulfillment in those things. We also like that fact that we can be financially independent. So many times men will work overtime, and long hours to obtain wealth, either for a nest-egg, or something else.
Wealth will fade away, it will disappear. There is a lot of wisdom written within these two verses. Don’t wear yourself out trying to get wealthy. Don’t ruin your health in the process of obtaining wealth. Know when to stop, know when to rest, and don’t allow the pursuit of the American Dream become a nightmare to your family.
Don’t fellowship with stingy people.
Proverbs 23:6-8 NLT (se) – 6 Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies. 7 They are always thinking about how much it costs. “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it. 8 You will throw up what little you’ve eaten, and your compliments will be wasted.
In Hebrew people who are stingy here are “evil-eyed people.” This is what the word, “stingy,” literally means. In the Hebrew culture if you were described as a person with a good eye that meant that you were a generous person, who gave to those with needs, without expecting anything in return. On the other hand, a person with an evil eye was a person that hoarded their money and refused to help their fellow man, and if they did, they expected payback with interest.
So don’t eat or even fellowship with a stingy person. They are more concerned about what it costs them to provide for you and others than really getting to know you and care for you.
Any of your pleasant words of conversation will be wasted, and in the end, your stomach will turn over the fact that you spent time with a person like this.
Interestingly enough Jesus tells a parable that speaks of the evil – eye, stinginess taking place in the Kingdom. It is the parable of the workers in the vineyard. People started working early in the morning, then hired more at 9 in the morning, noon, and at 3 pm, and finally, at 5 pm. At the close of the day, he calls them together and pays them all the same wage. The workers who worked earlier, were upset and didn’t think it was fair. In other words, they had an evil eye; they were jealous over the other workers getting the same wage. Notice how Jesus ends this. I will read this out of two translations.
Matthew 20:15 ISV – I am allowed to do what I want with my own money, am I not? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’
Matthew 20:15 NASB – ‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’
To offer advice to a foolish person will be a complete waste of your time.
Proverbs 23:9 NLT (se) – Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice.
“Fool”, in Hebrew means, “Someone whose heart is filled with foolishness and folly; someone who doesn’t listen to wise counsel.” A fool is similar to a scorner, the difference being the scorner will lash out and speak against the truth and advice offered, the fool just refuses to listen, and even will despise the advice and the truth offered.
It is a complete waste of your time, energy, words, and the very breath you breathe to try to give wise advice to a fool. Just leave them alone in their foolishness. Only God can change their hearts.
Don’t cheat your neighbors of their property, for God will judge in their favor if you do.
Proverbs 23:10-11 NLT (se) – 10 Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers; don’t take the land of defenseless orphans. 11 For their Redeemer is strong; he himself will bring their charges against you.
This might be a literal neighbor, or it might be some person or organization that is helping those with needs.
To take what is rightfully theirs, is stealing in God’s eyes. Notice Redeemer is capitalized. This is the old Hebrew Expression, “Kinsman Redeemer.” These were those who were relatives who would redeem people’s lands, slaves, and wives if other relatives couldn’t. If there were no relative who could be this Kinsman Redeemer, then God would become the Kinsman Redeemer for them. And that is what Christ has done through the cross, he became our Kinsman Redeemer. He fights for the rights of the oppressed and those who have been stolen from.
Look at Jesus declaration at the beginning of His ministry, it is a quote from Isaiah, and He is basically declaring Himself to be the Kinsman Redeemer of the lost.
Luke 4:18-19 ISV – 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to tell
the good news to the poor. He has sent me to announce release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set oppressed people free, 19 and to announce the year of the Lord’s favor.”
While we are alive on this earth, we should continue to learn and be instructed.
Proverbs 23:12 NLT (se) – Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge.
Wisdom cannot be acquired without determination. We should ever continue to learn new things, and learn especially from wise counsel.
It is vitally important that you discipline your children in order to correct their ways.
Proverbs 23:13-14 NLT (se) – 13 Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them. 14 Physical discipline may well save them from death.
The Bible is not against spanking as a form of discipline. In fact, it promotes it. But spanking is not in order that the parent my vent their anger. It is for corrective purposes.
Physical discipline, whether it is primarily spanking or some other type of physical, non-abusive activity, will save their child from destruction. How is this done? Well, they get punished enough times, they will eventually change their behavior.
If you refuse to discipline your child, you show that you don’t truly love them enough to work at correcting their behavior. Notice what this passage says in closing.
Proverbs 13:24 NLT (se) – Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
These were Fatherly warnings from our Heavenly Father to us His children. Let’s heed them.