When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat. Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.
The wise man is guarding, in those verses, against two of the great leading sins of a fallen nature; the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. The sin of luxury, and the deceitfulness of riches. And what multitudes among the sons of men are continually falling by their means. The Lord Jesus, in his unequalled manner, gives a caution against the surfeiting and drunkenness and cares of this life, lest the great day of account come in the midst of our enjoyment and find the soul unprepared. Luke 21:34.
Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee. Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
Here are precepts against another great leading sin, the lust of the eye, the coveting what is not our own; and in the accomplishment of wishes so dishonourable to trample over the just rights of such as cannot stand up for themselves. 1 John 2:16. What a blessed security, and indeed the only security is that, which ariseth from resting upon Christ, and having him for our treasure and portion. We have a beautiful sentiment of the Psalmist upon this occasion. Psalms 17:14-15.
Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
Nothing can be more conclusive; by way of strengthening the faith of the believer, than what is contained in these verses. When we consider the transitory triumph of bad men, and the sure expectation of the just; this becomes enough to prop up the soul under all exercises. I pray the Reader to turn to a most delightful passage to this effect. Psalms 37:35 to the end.
Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way. Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit. She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men. Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
All these verses are directed to one and the same subject, and a very animated subject they form, in dissuading from sin and enforcing an attendance on the means of grace. They are so plain and yet so nervous, that any attempt to illustrate, by way of comment, would weaken, instead of heightening the representation. The figure of a man sleeping on the mast, in the midst of a boisterous sea, is happily chosen, to picture the perilous condition of those, who in the voyage of life sleep on, and fancy themselves secure until they fall to rise no more, amidst the waves beneath. T here, is no peace saith my God to the wicked. Isaiah 57:21.
WHAT evils spring out of the corruptions of our fallen nature! And until grace hath renewed the heart it is full of uncleanness. Like the poor man under the possession of the enemy whose name was Legion; so troops of lusts, and a legion of foes of darkness lead the heart under continued captivity. Every sin, every vanity of life, as Barrabbas of old, is preferred to the Redeemer. The meanest husks of the world, the dross of fancied happiness, in short anything and everything of a carnal nature, takes the lead in the carnal mind. Lord! I would say for myself and Reader, give to us to know and seek the unfading pleasures which are in Christ and his gospel. Here let our desires be directed; and in him and his great salvation let all our wishes centre. Blessed Jesus! thou hast said, and the truth of it is undeniable; he that hath thee hath substance, and thou wilt fill all his treasures, for riches and honor are with thee; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 23". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Lent