1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler [dine with a moshel], consider diligently what is before thee:
2 And put a knife [sakin] to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite [ba'al nefesh (man given to gluttony)].
3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat [lechem kezavim (deceitful food)].
4 Labour [Overwork] not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom [binah (understanding)].
1. Wealth is not condemned but pursuing riches is warned against as they cannot satisfy...
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity (Ecc. 5:10)
2. 'Own understanding' is better (own wisdom is not wisdom at all).
5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon [eynayim fly after] that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings [sprouts kenafayim ]; they fly away as an eagle [nesher] toward heaven [Shomayim].
6 Eat thou not the bread [ lechem] of him that hath an evil eye [rah ayin (evil eye, i.e., a miser)], neither desire thou his dainty meats [delicacies]:
7 For as he thinketh in his heart [reckoneth in his nefesh], so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart [lev] is not with thee.
There is an appearance of generosity and hospitality but the host has an rah ayin (evil eye). He is calculating and mean. The generosity is false and motive underhand.
Contrast the loving host motivated by kindness...
He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed;
For he giveth of his bread to the poor. (22: 9 )
What we are doing externally is secondary, though important. What we are doing internally is vital: what we are thinking, and what we are thinking about, and what we are thinking about it. What are our purposes and motives for what we do and the decisions we make?
Are we just seeking personal self-satisfaction and pleasure or do we want to be a useful part of eternity: something bigger than ourselves?
Every thought leaves its actual, physical effect upon our constitution. Thoughts are the small units of construction of which our characters consists. Every good thought is beneficial and works toward the final desired result; every distracting thought is a useless impediment; every evil thought is a ruthless breaking down of what faith is laboring to build. Therefore we are told-
"Bring into captivity every thought" (2 Cor. 10:5).
Our thoughts, and consequently our speech and actions, are influenced by many things-our nature, people, and circumstances, among others. Slowly we are molded by these influences, and upon them our character depends. Of all the influences which bear upon us and form our character, there is only one which can benefit and improve us to any extent and that is the influence of God.
We cannot create goodness or holiness within ourselves. We become what we are made. But we can, to a determining extent, choose the influences which are to make us. That is our responsibility. We cannot be free. In the nature of things, we must serve some master. If we choose sin or the world, we become its servants, its slaves, and it gradually shapes us to its hideous pattern of death.
But this is where love can play its saving part, and if submitted to, can mold us to the beauty of everlasting life. Love cannot be separated from God. Love is divinity and godliness-wisdom, holiness, purity, kindness and patience combined.
Bro Growcott - BYT 4.25
8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words [pleasant devarim].
Compliments are a waste on the resentful host.
9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
Fools are not interested in wisdom. Fools are reckless and rebellious against wisdom. Efforts to instruct them will prove vain for
fools despise wisdom and instruction. (1:7)
Therefore the proverbs counsel to leave the fool to his folly
Answer not a fool according to his folly (26: 4)
10 Remove not the old landmark [gevul olam (ancient landmark)]; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: [sadot of the yetomim (fatherless ones, orphans)]
The old land mark refers to the covenanted inheritance with its boundaries...seizing land from a neighbour, thereby depriving them of their rightful inheritance. This is oppression of the vulnerable.
The borders of land inheritance were meant to be fixed and permanent. The instruction was clear...
Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the Yahweh thy Elohim giveth thee to possess it (Deut 19: 14)
Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen
(Deut 27: 17)
11 For their redeemer is mighty [Go'el is chazak (strong)]; He shall plead their cause with thee.
Israelites could not appropriate their neighbour's land with impunity.
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: Neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For Yahweh will plead their cause,
And spoil the soul of those that spoiled them (22: 23).
12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
Make the total dedication and devotion of your life your sincere desire and goal. Realise clearly that this is the only possible way to either present joy or future life. Do not be discouraged by repeated failures. Just keep doggedly at it, with determination and prayer. Try to make each day a new accomplishment of some kind, and not just a piece of colourless passed time. Try to make each day a little better than the one before. Think big and eternally. Make yourself face and realize the foolishness and emptiness and uselessness of present things. Think! Keep thinking! Keep examining yourself, and what you are doing, and WHY.
The flesh is your enemy, a very deceptive and hypocritical one: promising everything and delivering nothing. Don't mistake it for a friend. There is no real joy and satisfaction except in spiritual things. To realise this in youth is a tremendous blessing. Most realise it too late -- or never at all. Thank God for the light -- and walk in it.
17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of Yahweh all the day long.
Though we work beside them, we work on an entirely different basis. They depend upon themselves for all they get and sometimes this method seems highly successful, but—let us not envy sinners. We depend directly upon God and work to please Him—the employer is but an incidental factor completely under God's control and we know that God is just and that we may leave our welfare entirely in His hands.
Paul's repeated exhortation is that nothing must interfere with the continual application of the primary principle of our lives, and he urges a constant, continuous examination of ourselves in this matter.
Bro Growcott - BYT 4. 32
THE Truth is for everyday use. It is not, as some people imagine, a theory of things which, once known, may be put away in an intellectual drawer or cupboard, in reserve, like a useful document or a memorandum of reference.
It is not a sensational thing, or an exceptional thing. It is a thing of sober and practical necessity. We require it every day, like our food. God lives every day, and must be thanked and supplicated every day, as the daily incense in the tabernacle typified. This is what he requests, and what we need.
Christ lives every day, and makes intercession every day, and every day we must come to the Father in his name, as the morning and evening lamb of the first year on the altar showed forth.
The need for hope is with us every day, and the need for help and the need for learning and guidance in the ways of righteousness and danger.
"Be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long,"
is one of the standing exhortations of the Spirit, and it points to a constant actual need which the Truth alone supplies. If there are some who have no experience of this need, but on the contrary, get along the most comfortably with the Truth out of sight, it is because they are dead while nominally alive, abortions of human development while supposed to be sufficiently after the divine type to be fitted to become the sons of God.
The value of obedience lies in that decidedness (as we might call it) which triumphs over both forgetfulness and difficulty. Eye-service is obedience, and there is a certain value in eye-service, but it is not very great. It is a far way below the kind of obedience that is to be the basis of exaltation to immortality.
The obedience that is to give us a place in creation for ever, has to be thorough. For that reason the circumstances of test are severe. It could not be tested, or even developed without them. The formation of character requires the evil that we meanwhile find so grievous.
The character that God approves is the choosing of the good in the midst of the evil. For example, in the matter of truth, we are commanded to speak every man the truth to his neighbour. How can our obedience in this matter be put to the proof except by being placed in circumstances where the truth is inconvenient and where a lie is to our advantage?
A liar will speak the truth when it is a matter of indifference. He will speak truly as to the weather or the persons he has seen in the street; but when he wants to buy, he cries down a good article; or sell, he will speak falsely as to where he got it and what is its value. It is in the latter instances that his true character is made manifest.
So we require to be placed in circumstances where the truth is against us to be proved in the matter of this command, and these circumstances must in their nature be disagreeable. But in view of what is aimed at, a wise man will hail the circumstances, and will not suffer truth to depart from his mouth.
So also with the command to be merciful. How should we ever have a chance of our character being formed on this point if all were always joyful and well with everyone? It requires evil-sore evil-and perfect liberty of choice on our part. We must be left just entirely to ourselves, face to face with suffering people, with no apparent eye to oversee.
Things must be of such a grievous complexion that it will seem of no profit to us, but the reverse-no pleasure to us but the other feeling, to exercise "the quality of mercy." The man who has God before him-who acts on the command,
"Be thou in the fear of Yahweh all the day long"
does not forget Him at such a moment, but shows mercy as he hopes to obtain mercy. The world thinks this a weakness; and, if we forget that the world is a foolish world, we may be influenced by their opinion and catch up their feeling. Let us be on our guard. The world passeth away, as John says. Its impressions are not worth a wise man's consideration.
19 Hear thou, my son [beni], and be wise [chacham], and guide thine heart [ lev] [straight] in the way [derech].
20 Be not among winebibbers [yayin gluttons]; among riotous [gluttonous] eaters of flesh [ basar]:
21 For the drunkard and the glutton [zolel] shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
This chapter of proverbs has referred already to discipline, namely that a father should instruct his son in the law [of Moses] and not withold the rod in order that the son might grow up to be a self disciplined man and not unruly or rebellious to his own destruction v13,14.
In earlier times such conduct was met with finality. The law given by Moses was decisive...
Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear - Deut 21: 19: 21.
23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
In this advertisement, the article offered for sale is the truth - the good things covenanted to David... that is, buy these four things; but when you have acquired them, see that you do not part with them for any consideration.
The truth, then, is the spiritual merchandise to be bought and sold without money or price. The Spirit and His agents, "faithful men who are able to teach others" (2 Tim. 2:2), are the sellers, and those who seek to understand it, are the buyers.
The commodities they offer for sale, under the Divine commission contained in Apoc. 22: 17, are tried gold! white raiment and eye-salve, with many gifts thrown in to induce purchase. The Apocalyptic advertisement is found in ch. 3:18, thus: "I counsel thee," saith the Spirit and the Bride, "to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, arid that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see."
Does it really matter? Are "Eureka and Elpis Israel back numbers"? Do we now just need a "few simple facts" (like the churches)? How sad that such questions should have to be asked! Christadelphians used to believe that this central foundation truth that distinguishes the Gospel of God on this subject from the Apostacy matters very, very much. What do YOU think?