Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 23:1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, 2 and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. 3 Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food. 4 Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. 5 When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven. 6 Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, 7 for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. 8 You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words.
It seems to me that in these verses Solomon is counseling us against appealing to man for our welfare in life… that is trusting others instead of God. Men make promises for money and good things to those who they can use for pawns and I think Solomon is saying don’t get caught in that trap. Don't succumb to the pressures of others to do things that go against your God given conscious or His word. Don’t get caught up in the rat race of the world searching for treasures like there is any chance that they might satisfy you… they won’t. That extra money you earn driving the get away car is not going to pay your family doctor bills. Gods way is the best way!
In the first example Solomon speaks of being pressured by a ruler. This might happen to be a king or president or even someone of authority in the city or at your job… Solomon says: “observe carefully what is before you”.
The word “what” is sometimes translated “who” and in this case it seems to make more sense to use “who” to me because the emphasis of the verse is not on the types of food set before you but the intentions of who has got you at their table and what they are about to entice you to do. Of course "what" works here as well because there are a lot of things someone may entice us with besides food in life and its those things that tempt us to be swayed towards evil. But the thing is... we need to discern the reason the person has invited us to dine with him. We need to know his heart… so we must carefully observe who is before us. The kinds of vegetables that are set before you on your plate are not the real problem but what is underneath his delicacies. Solomon says they are deceptive food. He says put a knife to your own throat… I think that is because once you say yes to one thing he gives you… Its a difficult thing to back out later… ask anyone who has started working for the Mob… exactly! Most of those who quit that lifestyle are not around to interview.
I think verses 4 and 5 give us the influx of this set of verses… Don't strain after acquiring wealth. This should not be your life goal or purpose… There must be something better that we were created for.
Then in 6-8 again Solomon compares this chasing after the world with eating… and this time with a stingy man. Here “stingy” may refer to someone who is not generous… they are penny pinchers and overly concerned with someone taking their money or their stuff. Sure they say “eat your fill” but they have no intentions of lavishing good things on you… the truth is they even detest you eating up their food. Solomon says how there will come a time when you vomit what you have eaten and your “yes sir” “exactly sir”… all your niceties will have been wasted words.
So in closing, everything Solomon has mentioned here is not only about a man trying to use you… It is about much more. Satan offers us… you and I his delicacies, but they too are deceptive food. He keeps on keeping on as he tempts us to work for him throughout our lifetime. He knows that if we get a taste for sin… we will want more… and we will say “yes sir” and “thank you sir”. He may promise us good times, riches and power but once our eye sets on it… we find we can never get enough to make us happy… then one day we find that all along satan was leading us to our own destruction and we vomit up his delicacies. Satan never wanted good for us… He is the stingy man Solomon spoke of… he sought his own glory and it led to his downfall… and he has tempted mankind with the same even from the days of Adam and Eve and we know how that turned out.
But God who is not stingy so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son who lived the perfect life that no one else would and he died the wicked sinners death everyone deserves and defeated the wages of sin which is death that no one could. And whoever delights in him is given Jesus righteousness and power over sin and will be raised up no longer a slave to the entropy of sin… no more sickness, pain, covid-19 or even death and will be with the Lord forever.