23 When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
observe carefully what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
for they are deceptive food.
Do not toil to acquire wealth;
be discerning enough to desist.
When your eyes light on it, it is gone,
for suddenly it sprouts wings,
flying like an eagle toward heaven.
Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy;
do not desire his delicacies,
for he is like one who is inwardly calculating.
“Eat and drink!” he says to you,
but his heart is not with you.
You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten,
and waste your pleasant words.
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
for he will despise the good sense of your words.
Do not move an ancient landmark
or enter the fields of the fatherless,
for their Redeemer is strong;
he will plead their cause against you.
Apply your heart to instruction
and your ear to words of knowledge.
Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
If you strike him with the rod,
you will save his soul from Sheol.
My son, if your heart is wise,
my heart too will be glad.
My inmost being will exult
when your lips speak what is right.
Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.
Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
Hear, my son, and be wise,
and direct your heart in the way.
Be not among drunkards
or among gluttonous eaters of meat,
for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
and slumber will clothe them with rags.
Listen to your father who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Buy truth, and do not sell it;
buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
Let your father and mother be glad;
let her who bore you rejoice.
My son, give me your heart,
and let your eyes observe my ways.
For a prostitute is a deep pit;
an adulteress is a narrow well.
She lies in wait like a robber
and increases the traitors among mankind.
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
In the end it bites like a serpent
and stings like an adder.
Your eyes will see strange things,
and your heart utter perverse things.
You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
like one who lies on the top of a mast.
“They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;
they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
I must have another drink.”
Proverbs 23 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The warning is clear: Do not envy those who seemingly have it better than us. It’s an easy thing to do, isn’t? We get caught up in our own life and the troubles we face, the hardship we endure financially and think “If only I had the financial means to do this or if only I had what someone else has”. In graphic language the writer states if we sit at their table we’ve opened ourselves up to different forms of destruction. When our hearts are envious of others and what they have many times we will become dissatisfied with what God has provided for us in our own situation.
“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but live in the fear of the Lord always. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”Proverbs 23:17-18
Placing our trust in God despite what we may be encountering brings something the world can never offer – hope. When we are pursuing things of this earth – from financial aspects to relational ones – we are chasing fleeting earthly treasures Jesus Himself warned against. For in time, the money will run out, the relationship we thought we wanted will end or hold terrific disappointment. We can’t take it with us when we die. The pursuit of earthly things always brings heartache. Things that last are those of eternal weight – and when we trust in Him to help us – a hope in the now can be found.
Proverbs 23 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
“Don’t let your heart envy sinners; instead, always fear the LORD. 18 For then you will have a future, and your hope will never fade.”Proverbs 23:17-18 HCSB
I’m guilty. I know there have been times in my life where I’ve thought, “If I wasn’t a Christian, I’d _________.”
It is so hard not to be envious of anyone, but I think in particular, those who continue in their flesh. It’s the difference between temporary, short-lived pleasure and eternal glory. What is it that we must do when we start to become envious of those who seem to be “living the dream?” Live in fear of the Lord.
What does that mean?
A fear of God shows that we trust Him regardless of the outcome. It is the definition of faith. It is produced every time we read His Word. It is said to be the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. It is a natural progression as we follow Jesus.
If we trust Him and grow in wisdom, we will realize that the future He is preparing for us is far greater than anything that could be experienced in this broken world. Words can’t express how much greater God’s Kingdom will be. And this is why in verse 18, we are reminded of that future. The hope that comes from Him will never be cut off!