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Proverbs 23

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 18, 2018


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

Financial Report – Steve Silagi (x6)

Announce:  Giving for the Beller’s return – 3 months away.

Video: The Bible Project – Proverbs Introduction

Video: Proverbs Introduction

The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom.

Wisdom is not about knowing facts.

Wisdom is about knowing what to do with what you know.
Wisdom is knowing when to do it.
Wisdom is knowing how to do it.

We are now in a new section of the book of Proverbs.

We’ve finished the “mini-lectures” that Solomon gave to his son in the first nine chapters.

The rest of the book are what we typically call the “proverbs”.

Proverbs are sayings, typically short, that give wisdom and insight into everyday things.

They are intended to help you lead a better life.

They are not absolute promises, as in “if you do x,y, then z will always happen and your life will be perfect”.

They are general principles – that if you do them your life will be generally better than if you didn’t do them.

I want to encourage you to have a pencil or pen ready as we work through each chapter.

Though we will read the entire chapter, I won’t be taking time to unpack every single proverb.

God may want to use one of the proverbs that we simply pass over to speak to you, so be ready to mark up your Bible or write down a verse.

It’s going to be a little like drinking from a fire hydrant.

The Proverbs are Hebrew poetry…

Hebrew poetry is about ideas, not sounds.

Most of these proverbs are in two lines.

Sometimes the second line is a parallel of the first. It expresses the same idea with different words.
Sometimes the second line is an opposite idea, still clarifying the first, but by way of contrast.
Be careful that you don’t look at one phrase without looking at the other.

Last week we entered a new section that covers Prov. 22:17 – 24:34.

These are most likely not sayings written by Solomon, but they are sayings collected by Solomon.

They tend to be a bit longer than Solomon’s short two-line sayings.

There will be thirty of these sayings through this section.

Proverbs 23

:1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you;

:2 And put a knife to your throat If you are a man given to appetite.

:3 Do not desire his delicacies, For they are deceptive food.

rulermashal – to rule, have dominion, reign

(Proverbs 23:1–3 NLT) —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.

:2 a man given to appetite



appetitenephesh – soul; appetite; desire, emotion, passion
Our “appetites” can get us into trouble.
People can take advantage of our appetites.
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It doesn’t have to be a “king” that you’re eating with, but somebody of influence.
Not everybody has pure motives in how they deal with you.
Some people want to take advantage of you.
The “#MeToo” movement has made us aware of how people with influence can take advantage of others.
There are monsters out there who will take advantage of the “appetite” or “passion” that you might have.
The proverb warns you to “put a knife to your throat”, or reign in those passions, to help you avoid becoming another victim.

:4 Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease!

:5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.

:4 Do not overwork to be rich

(Proverbs 23:4–5 NLT) —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.


The Master Passion

If your whole life’s goal is to become wealthy, you may find yourself disappointed.
We all have something in our life that is our “master passion”.  It’s what motivates us.
Your life will be shaped by what your “master passion” is.
Jesus said,

(Matthew 6:24 NLT) “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

If your master passion is money, you may find one day that it’s all gone – left like an eagle flying away.
And even if you were to acquire much wealth, and stay wealthy until the day you die, you will still lose it because you won’t be able to take it to heaven. (Luke 12:16-21)
(Luke 12:16–21 NLT) —16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” ’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ 21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
Instead of money being your master passion, let God be your master passion.  Make it your goal to please Him.
(Matthew 25:14–30 NKJV) —14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Our goal in life should be to make it to the finish line and hear His voice, “Well done good and faithful servant”.

:6 Do not eat the bread of a miser, Nor desire his delicacies;

:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you.

:8 The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, And waste your pleasant words.

:7 as he thinks in his heart, so is he

There have been quite a few things written and spoken about this phrase, and they usually ignore the verses that surround it.

The idea generally goes like this:  You become what you think.
If you skate like this…
But keep telling yourself “I’m a great skater”,
then you’ll become like this…
I think there is some value to these ideas.
Your thought life does affect how you live and act.
We should be learning to take control over our thoughts.

(2 Corinthians 10:5 NLT) We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

But that’s not really the point of the verse.
The verse has to do with your relationship with a stingy miser.

A person who is stingy and greedy inside their heart may indeed tell you to take another piece of his birthday cake, but don’t take it.

They’re still a miser and will resent the fact you’ve taken their cake.

As they are thinking in their heart … that’s what they’re really like … not what they say.

In the end, you’ll regret that you did what they said because they didn’t really mean it.

(Proverbs 23:6–8 NLT) —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.

:9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words.

There are some people who just don’t want to hear the truth.  As you’re talking to them you will realize that they don’t want to talk and reason, they want to push their agenda. Know when to walk away … or hang up.

:10 Do not remove the ancient landmark, Nor enter the fields of the fatherless;

:11 For their Redeemer is mighty; He will plead their cause against you.

:11 For their Redeemer is mighty

Don’t swindle the poor and defenseless out of their property by cheating because God will come after you.

There are some televangelists who tend to prey upon older widows on a fixed income.  I’d worry if I were them.

:12 Apply your heart to instruction, And your ears to words of knowledge.

instructionmuwcar – discipline, chastening, correction

(Proverbs 23:12 HCSB) Apply yourself to discipline and listen to words of knowledge.

Don’t run from opportunities to be corrected or disciplined.  Instead, learn to put your heart into it.

:13 Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.

:14 You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell.

:13 Do not withhold correction from a child

(Proverbs 23:13–14 The Message) —13 Don’t be afraid to correct your young ones; a spanking won’t kill them. 14 A good spanking, in fact, might save them from something worse than death.



There was a video that was shot at the end of last August of a child screaming on a plane flight from Germany to Jersey.  How would you like to be on this plane for eight hours?
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I don’t mean to oversimplify things as if to say that a good spanking will solve every problem.
Far from it.  That screaming child may have been autistic and that brings a whole new set of complications that are way beyond me.
Yet some parents are a bit too reluctant to discipline their children when it clearly the right thing to do.
Don’t be afraid of discipline.

Work hard to find out what your child will respond to, so they can learn the important lessons of self-discipline and fitting into society.

If you missed Proverbs 13 where we talked about discipline, look it up on the church website here.

:15 My son, if your heart is wise, My heart will rejoice—indeed, I myself;

:16 Yes, my inmost being will rejoice When your lips speak right things.

(Proverbs 23:15–16 The Message) Dear child, if you become wise, I’ll be one happy parent. 16 My heart will dance and sing to the tuneful truth you’ll speak.

:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;

:18 For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.

:18 For surely there is a hereafter

hereafterachariyth – after part, end; latter time (prophetic for future time); posterity

(Proverbs 23:18 ESV) Surely there is a future…

The footnote in the NAS reads…

(Proverbs 23:18 NASB95) Surely there is a latter end…


Living for tomorrow

It’s hard to live for tomorrow when all we see around us is today.
We like to “envy sinners”, it seems they are having so much fun.
The problem is that we are envying behaviors that will lead to hell in the “hereafter”.
John describes heaven as living in a city called “New Jerusalem”.  Not everyone will live there.

(Revelation 22:15 NLT) Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.

If we want to live forever in heaven, we are going to need to do something about our sin.
We all have sin.  We are all sinners.
God sent His Son Jesus to die for our sin, so we could be forgiven.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT) For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
God wants you to think about tomorrow.
The right tomorrow starts with opening your heart to Jesus today.
(John 1:12 NLT) But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
Will you turn your life around today and open your heart to Jesus?

:19 Hear, my son, and be wise; And guide your heart in the way.

:20 Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;

:21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

winebibbers – literally, “drink heavily” + “wine”

gluttonous eaterszalal – to be worthless, be vile, be insignificant, be light; to make light of, squander, be lavish with

meatbasar – flesh

drunkardcaba– to drink heavily or largely, imbibe

gluttonzalal – to be worthless, be vile, be insignificant, be light; to make light of, squander, be lavish with

drowsinessnuwmah – drowsiness, somnolence, indolence (fig.)

(Proverbs 23:20–21 NLT) —20 Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons, 21 for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags.

:22 Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old.

(Proverbs 23:22 NLT) Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.

:23 Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom and instruction and understanding.

truthemeth – firmness, faithfulness, truth

:24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who begets a wise child will delight in him.

:25 Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her who bore you rejoice.

:25 Let your father and your mother be glad

It’s the responsibility of parents to teach wisdom.

It’s a joy when your kids learn wisdom.

:26 My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways.

:27 For a harlot is a deep pit, And a seductress is a narrow well.

:28 She also lies in wait as for a victim, And increases the unfaithful among men.

harlotzanah – to commit fornication, be a harlot, play the harlot; to commit adultery

seductressnokriy – foreign, alien; foreign woman, harlot

:27 For a harlot is a deep pit


The sex trap

God created sex.
God designed sex to be within marriage.
When the act of sex is done the way that God designed it, it’s good.

(Hebrews 13:4 NKJV) Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

It’s when we take sex outside of the boundaries of marriage that it becomes a trap.
It might be an actual person in your life that tempts you to disobey God. 
It may be a virtual person – as in pornography.
Fornication has a goal for you:
(Proverbs 23:28 NLT) She hides and waits like a robber, eager to make more men unfaithful.

It wants to lead you away from God.


With this next verse, let’s play a game.  Let’s play “What’s my line?”

There was an old game show back in the fifties and sixties where they would bring in mystery contestants, and the celebrity panel would ask simple questions in order to guess what the person did.

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On our panel today we have King Solomon, and he will be asking the questions…

:29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?

How about we rephrase that?

contentionsmidyan – strife, contention

complaintssiyach – meditation, complaint, musing

(Proverbs 23:29 The Message) Who are the people who are always crying the blues? Who do you know who reeks of self-pity? Who keeps getting beat up for no reason at all? Whose eyes are bleary and bloodshot?

(Proverbs 23:29 NLT) Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?

So, do you know who this is yet?  How obvious is it?  Solomon will answer for us.

:30 Those who linger long at the wine, Those who go in search of mixed wine.

(Proverbs 23:30 NLT) It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks.

:31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly;

:32 At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper.

:33 Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things.

(Proverbs 23:33 NLT) You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things.

:34 Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:

(Proverbs 23:34 NLT) You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast.

:35 “They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?

Who is this?  What’s their “line”?

:30 Those who linger long at the wine

We might identify this person as the “drunk”.  Others might identify this person as the “alcoholic” or the “addict”.

All it takes is a look at the wine, and they are drinking.
Sometimes the alcoholic will have hallucinations.
The alcoholic might have people who have caused them hurt, they might have pain in their life, but when they drink they don’t feel the pain so much.


What “helps” you?

My friends who are working hard at their sobriety will use the phrase “drug of choice”.
They will talk about “self-medicating”.

The idea is that when life gets hard, when there is pain in their life, when resentment builds up, the addict will “self-medicate” with their “drug of choice”.

For some people it’s alcohol.
For others it is some sort of pharmaceutical – whether it’s legal or illegal.

Even legally prescribed drugs can become your “drug of choice” when it keeps you from dealing with the real issues in your life.

For others, there can be all sorts of other addictive behaviors that become the “go-to” to numb them from their pain.

It might be sexual behavior, overeating, gambling, or shopping.

What do you do when life gets hard?  Does your “drug of choice” actually help you solve your pain, or does it just kick the can down the road?
Twelve Steps
Let me say that I’ve become a big believer in the value of twelve step programs.

I’ve become quite close to several people who have achieved “sobriety” for dozens of years because they have carefully worked their steps, and continue to do so.

Some of you are struggling with addictions, and you’ve been reluctant for various reasons from getting into a program, maybe because you just don’t want to admit that you have a problem and you need help.

There is no shame in admitting you need help.  In fact that’s when help really starts – when you start admitting you need it.

Though I’ve learned (and continue to learn) a lot about the Twelve Steps over the years, I am not the expert on these things in our church.

I don’t have the same training and experience that an addict who has worked the steps has.

I tend to get fooled by addicts who come to me for help.  Rather than recognizing the little lies addicts tell, I tend to hold their hand, pat them on the back, pray for them, and send them on their way. And that rarely works.

If you want to change, you will need people who will see through the lies you tell.

That’s what groups like our Sunday evening James Gang is about.  They know what it takes.

But I do want to talk about an aspect of help that I do have a handle on.
Ultimately, God wants to be the one you turn to in your pain, difficulty, shame, and resentment. (Twelve-steppers, this is step #3)
Specifically, God wants you to experience the power He has to help you work the steps and overcome your addiction.  You aren’t going to be able to do it without Him.
Jesus said,

(Acts 1:8 NLT) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

The Greek word for “power” is dunamis.  Though some want to equate this with “dynamite”, I’d prefer the word “dynamic”.  The word at it’s very root meaning is to “have ability”, to “be able”.

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, He doesn’t just give you “power”, He gives you the “ability” to live for God.

That includes being a witness.

That includes finding power over sin and addictions.

Paul wrote,

(Galatians 5:16 NLT) So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

Paul wrote,

(Ephesians 5:18 NLT) Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,

Instead of being “filled” with wine, we ought to be “filled” with the Holy Spirit.

The phrase “be filled” is a command that speaks of being “continually filled” with the Spirit.

We don’t just need a one time experience with God, we need a daily, moment-by-moment connection with God.

How does that happen?

Just open up and drink.  Open your heart.  Receive it from God.