Proverbs 23


23     When you sit to dine with a ruler,

note well what is before you,

2 and put a knife to your throat

if you are given to gluttony.

3 Do not crave his delicacies,

for that food is deceptive.

4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich;

have the wisdom to show restraint.

5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,

for they will surely sprout wings

and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Focusing on wealth is an addiction much like any other.  It consumes you and distracts you from what is real and important.  You can sacrifice your health to make money, then spend your wealth trying to recover your health.  Bad idea.  Or you can sacrifice your family to make money and never recover them.  All your money and all your success cannot buy your kids a second childhood.

6 Do not eat the food of a stingy man,

do not crave his delicacies;

7 for he is the kind of man

who is always thinking about the cost.

“Eat and drink,” he says to you,

but his heart is not with you.

8 You will vomit up the little you have eaten

and will have wasted your compliments.

9 Do not speak to a fool,

for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.

I should consider this more when blogging on my regular blog.  I’m better than I used to be about cutting off unproductive conversations, but debating people who refuse to move from foolish ideas is exhausting and generally a waste of time. 

10 Do not move an ancient boundary stone

or encroach on the fields of the fatherless,

11 for their Defender is strong;

he will take up their case against you.

This is another way of saying, “Don’t steal.”  We should not take or covet what doesn’t belong to us.

12 Apply your heart to instruction

and your ears to words of knowledge.

13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;

if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.

14 Punish him with the rod

and save his soul from death.

Despite the “children are born good” nonsense our culture teaches, the reality is that we are born sinners.  We need to drive sins out of our kids (even though they ultimately need Jesus to save and transform them).  We don’t have to do it physically, but for young children in certain situations (e.g., direct rebellion) it may be required.

15 My son, if your heart is wise,

then my heart will be glad;

16 my inmost being will rejoice

when your lips speak what is right.

Does it bring you joy when your children make wise decisions and speak well?  I know it does for me!

17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,

but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.

18 There is surely a future hope for you,

and your hope will not be cut off.

19 Listen, my son, and be wise,

and keep your heart on the right path.

20 Do not join those who drink too much wine

or gorge themselves on meat,

21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,

and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

22 Listen to your father, who gave you life,

and do not despise your mother when she is old.

23 Buy the truth and do not sell it;

get wisdom, discipline and understanding.

24 The father of a righteous man has great joy;

he who has a wise son delights in him.

25 May your father and mother be glad;

may she who gave you birth rejoice!

26 My son, give me your heart

and let your eyes keep to my ways,

27 for a prostitute is a deep pit

and a wayward wife is a narrow well.

28 Like a bandit she lies in wait,

and multiplies the unfaithful among men.

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?

Who has strife? Who has complaints?

Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?

30 Those who linger over wine,

who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.

31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red,

when it sparkles in the cup,

when it goes down smoothly!

32 In the end it bites like a snake

and poisons like a viper.

33 Your eyes will see strange sights

and your mind imagine confusing things.

34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,

lying on top of the rigging.

35 “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt!

They beat me, but I don’t feel it!

When will I wake up

so I can find another drink?”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

The Bible doesn’t say you can never have alcohol.  It is quite clear that getting drunk is a sin, that we should obey laws (i.e., no under-aged drinking) and we shouldn’t tempt others with our drinking.

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