-More advice occurs as Solomon warns of eating deceptive food laid out by a ruler. His counsel, guided by the Holy Spirit, cautions to consider carefully what is before us and kill any thought of giving in to a greedy appetite. “Do not desire his delicacies,” is the admonition. Further, Solomon teaches not to weary ourselves in the pursuit of gaining wealth. We should not even make it a consideration, for when we set our eyes on that fleeting and temporary option, it is gone, like an eagle that flies towards the heavens. There are more important things to consider (Matthew 6:33). Going on, Solomon advises not to eat the bread of a selfish man or desire his delicacies, for his heart is never with us. We will vomit up the morsels we have eaten and waste our compliments on the self-interested. Fools will despise the wisdom of our words, so it’s better not to even speak in their presence. Once again, Solomon advocates NOT moving the ancient boundary (Proverbs 22:28), and he tells us NOT to go into the fields of the fatherless so as to take what is rightfully theirs. Their Redeemer is strong, and He will plead His case against us if we do. We must apply our hearts to discipline and incline our ears to words of knowledge (Proverbs 23:1-12).
-Continuing with the discipline theme, the king presages not to ever hold back from correcting a child. Even corporal punishment is extolled to rescue their souls from Sheol (place of separation from the LORD in the afterlife). Solomon, talking to his son and us as well, says that if the heart is wise, it will also be glad. Rejoicing will be with the father in his innermost being if his son speaks what is right. He goes on to purport NOT letting our heart envy sinners in their folly, but we should always live in the fear of the LORD, which protects us from harm. If we fear the LORD, we will surely have a bright future and our hope will not be cut off. Solomon pleads with his son to listen to this sage advice and be wise, directing his heart in the right way. He reiterates NOT being a heavy drinker of wine (Proverbs 20:1; 21:17), or being a gluttonous eater of meat. Heavy drinkers come to poverty as a rule of thumb and they tend to dress, in their drowsiness, as one clothed with rags. In other words, they’ll look like a bum. Solomon keeps on telling his son to listen to him, as his father, so that his parents will be glad in him and rejoice over him. Following his father’s advice would bring delight, and staying away from the harlot’s deep pit and the adulterous woman’s narrow well would bring joy. Why? Because these types of women lurk as robbers increasing the faithlessness among men (Proverbs 23:13-28). He desires to see his son be faithful to the LORD of his fathers: David, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
-The final seven verses of this chapter deal with the effects of getting drunk in a memorable fashion for the reader:
“Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things and your mind will utter perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, or like one who lies down on the top of a mast. ‘They struck me, but I did not become ill; they beat me, but I did not know it. When shall I awake? I will seek another drink (Proverbs 23:29-35).’”
-*Application* Alcohol has been a blight on many generations as we can see in this chapter written around 3000 years ago. We as humans have still not learned our lessons when we observe Spring Break festivities, night club scenes, and the relentless cases of domestic abuse and wasted lives from the effects of alcohol. As my father has often advised, the best way to never become an addict, is to never start in the first place. We must listen to the wisdom of our parents and pass what we’ve learned on to the next generation. Hopefully, we will be faithful, and they will be too.
Verse to Memorize: Proverbs 23:13-14, 17, 29-35