An Overview Of The Old Testament

Part 168 – Eating With A Ruler Through Applying The Heart (Proverbs 23:1-12)
To download this handout in a PDF format click here >

1. Do we need to be cautious when sitting at a meal with a person in authority?
Yes: “(1) When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: (2) And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. (3) Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat” (Proverbs 23:1-3).

  • We cannot be given to appetite (Proverbs 23:21 and Proverbs 25:16) or any thing else carnal (Matthew 8:8-9, Romans 8:13, II Corinthians 7:1, Galatians 5:16-17, and I Peter 2:11), but must practice self-control (Proverbs 16:32, I Corinthians 9:27, Galatians 5:22-23, and II Peter 1:3-11).
  • Dainties [delicacy; savory meats] should not be our focus in life to even allow them to become a temptation (John 6:26-27; cf. Matthew 4:4).
  • We’re supposed to put off the old man with deceitful lusts (Ephesians 4:22).
  • We’ll discuss more about desiring his dainties because they’re deceitful in question 5.

2. Should we work hard to be rich?
No: “Labour not to be rich…” (Proverbs 23:4).

  • Working, just to be rich, provides many possible temptations (cf. Proverbs 28:20).
  • Once wealth becomes our goal, and we do things wrong to obtain it, it will be diminished (Proverbs 13:11).
  • Quick riches are good riches either (Proverbs 20:21).
  • We need contentment (Philippians 4:10-13).
  • Our labor should be to provide for our needs (II Thessalonians 3:10), the needs of our family (I Timothy 5:8), and the work of the Lord (Matthew 6:19-21).
  • Having said that, we certainly can enjoy the fruit of our labor in lawful things that we may want (Ecclesiastes 2:24 and I Timothy 6:17), but those things should not be our motivation (I Timothy 6:6-10).

3. Should we trust in our own wisdom?
No: “…cease from thine own wisdom” (Proverbs 23:4).

  • Proverbs 3:5-7, Isaiah 5:21, Romans 12:16, and I Corinthians 3:18-20.

4. Is earthly wealth permanent?
No: “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5).

  • Don’t set your eyes on earthly wealth (Psalms 119:36-37).
  • Riches are temporary (Psalms 49:10, Proverbs 27:24, Ecclesiastes 5:13-14, and Luke 12:13-21).

5. Are there people who will act kindly toward us, but their hearts may be against us?
Yes: “(6) Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: (7) For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. (8) The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words” (Proverbs 23:6-8).

  • What people are saying and showing us, can very easily differ from their real motives (Psalms 5:8-9, Proverbs 10:18, Proverbs 20:19, Proverbs 26:17-28, Matthew 23:27-28, and Mark 7:6).
  • “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going” (Proverbs 14:15).

6. Can we expect a fool to learn wisdom if we share it with him or her?
No: “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words” (Proverbs 23:9).

  • Proverbs 9:7-8, Matthew 7:6, Galatians 4:16, II Timothy 2:23, and Titus 3:9-11.

7. Is God concerned about rightful ownership of land?
Yes: “(10) Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: (11) For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee” (Proverbs 23:10-11).

  • We discussed the landmarks in Proverbs 22:28. They were not to be moved (Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17).
  • The fatherless have been targets of the wicked (Psalms 94:6).
  • God has long instructed man not to wrong the fatherless (Zechariah 7:10).
  • God will plead the cause of the weak who are wronged (Exodus 22:22-24).

8. What should we apply our hearts and ears to?
Instruction and knowledge: “Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 23:12).

  • Apply your heart to instruction [be willing to be taught] (Proverbs 4:13, Proverbs 5:23, Proverbs 6:23, Proverbs 8:33, Proverbs 10:17, Proverbs 15:32-33, Proverbs 23:23, and II Timothy 3:15-17).
  • Give your ears to the words of knowledge (Proverbs 18:15, Proverbs 22:17, Colossians 3:10, and I Timothy 2:4).