Wasting Pleasant Words
"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." Proverbs 23:6-8
In the book The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, there is an interaction between one of the main characters and the White Witch where she offers him Turkish delights to gain information that she needed to continue her evil plot. Edmund loved that dessert and was lured into the White Witch's trap by eating the Turkish delights that the witch had enchanted. After giving up some information to the witch, the treats made him sick. The rest of the book deals with the fallout of Edmund's actions and the consequences of his choices.
In Hebrew, the word stingy describes someone whose eye is evil. They desire personal gain and are calculating enough to even use food and drink to influence others to support their cause. In The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Edward ate the delicacies of the witch and fell into a trap. Normally an offering of desserts would be considered a gift (who doesn't love to get food as a gift?). But when someone whose eye is evil offers you food, Proverbs would say that "his heart is not with you," (V. 7) and that it's no longer a gift but a trap. Don't fall for the trap! It will only make you sick.
What are you listening to?
"Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge." Proverbs 23:12
Proverbs 22 was all about the people we let influence our lives. Chapter 23 is reminding us again that we are also shaped by what we listen to and what we allow our hearts to experience. Wisdom is crying aloud in the crowded street beckoning us to come and find life. It's our job to listen for that call, and then respond to the way of knowledge and understanding. We hear the call of wisdom and then incline our hearts to that instruction.
James 1:22 says, "But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves." It's not enough to just hear the word of God (though listening is the first step); we are called to take action. True faith is marked by action. It's not that our actions have a responsibility in our salvation, but rather a faith that is true that will be marked by following the Holy Spirit. There is movement as we walk in wisdom.
Make your parents proud!
"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." Proverbs 23:23-25
Solomon is again reminding us that wisdom, truth, and understanding are worthy investments; they are better than gold or silver (or a brand new car...). Wisdom is worth the cost, and it can have effects on your family for generations. Do you want to make your family proud of you? Walk in wisdom. Do you want to make your children proud? Walk in wisdom. Wisdom is not the flashy must-have item on the homepage of Amazon or on the shelves at Target, but wisdom will outlast all of us.
Reflect and Respond
Who are you listening to today? What has taken hold of your ear and your heart? Consider the sources that are supplying your information and whether they are speaking life into your soul or whether they are feeding you delicacies that will bring you sickness and pain. Just because something sounds good does not make it true. Consider the source and weigh it against the truth.