Subscribe in a reader
Back to All Events

Proverbs 23:1-14, Desires for Delicacies

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

Apply your mind to instruction
and your ear to words of knowledge.
— Proverbs 23:12

NL Daily Devotion for Monday, August 20, 2018

 Delicious food isn't always the best choice.

by Daniel D. Maurer, Clergy Stuff


Clergy Stuff has recently implemented a new writing schedule for daily devotions. And wouldn't you know it, I happen to get a wonderfully controversial reading for my first daily devotion. The words at the end of the passage stick out like a growing zit on your face . . .

"Do not withhold discipline from your children;
if you beat them with a rod, they will not die.
If you beat them with the rod,
you will save their lives from Sheol." Prov. 23:14

It's more than a case of modern sensibilities, research has consistently shown and there is a growing body of evidence that hitting your kids is never okay. Yeah. Even a little slap.

So what do we do with a passage like this? Especially since Proverbs is supposed to be teaching us wisdom!

I think this is a case where it boils down to remembering the context in which it was written. People simply didn't know any better. And, yes, there are incorrect passages in the Bible. That doesn't mean the Bible is false, or that everything's all made up. It just means that we should apply the same wisdom with which we are encouraged in the beginning of Proverbs to all of holy scripture.

"Delicacies" serves as a metaphor in this case; delicacies are the easy way out, by saying: "It's in the Bible, so it must be true." 

In this case, we're encouraged to quell our appetites for an easy answer, and instead look at the whole of scripture and apply the wisdom we now know is correct . . . like knowing that beating kids is wrong in any context.

Studying the Bible is more than picking cheap, low-hanging fruit off the God-tree. It's applying our minds—a God-given gift—to ascertain what God's gracious and loving will is for our lives today.

And such wisdom is indeed much more wholesome, sweet and nourishing fare to consume.


Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading: Proverbs 23:1-14

When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
observe carefully what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you have a big appetite.
Do not desire the ruler’s delicacies,
for they are deceptive food.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
be wise enough to desist.
When your eyes light upon it, it is gone;
for suddenly it takes wings to itself,
flying like an eagle toward heaven.
Do not eat the bread of the stingy;
do not desire their delicacies;
for like a hair in the throat, so are they.
“Eat and drink!” they say to you;
but they do not mean it.
You will vomit up the little you have eaten,
and you will waste your pleasant words.
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
who will only despise the wisdom of your words.
Do not remove an ancient landmark
or encroach on the fields of orphans,
for their redeemer is strong;
he will plead their cause against you.
Apply your mind to instruction
and your ear to words of knowledge.
Do not withhold discipline from your children;
if you beat them with a rod, they will not die.
If you beat them with the rod,
you will save their lives from Sheol.

 

Related & Recent Posts