“When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
observe carefully what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
for they are deceptive food…
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…
“Hear, my son, and be wise,
and direct your heart in the way.
Be not among drunkards
or among gluttonous eaters of meat,
for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty…
“Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?..
Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
In the end it bites like a serpent
and stings like an adder.
Your… heart will utter perverse things.
You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
like one who lies on the top of a mast…
‘I must have another drink.'” Proverbs 23:1-3,6-7,19-21,29-35
“My son, eat honey, for it is good,
and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.” Proverbs 24:13
“‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything… ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up.” 1 Corinthians 6:12; 10:23
“This is the will of God, your sanctification:.. that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3a,4
Solomon’s admonitions poke at what seems benign to us, identifying extraordinary pitfalls from ordinary consumption. When we are ripe with hunger or fooled by flattery, deception preys on pride, and bribery takes advantage of gluttony. We pore over the glisten of the swirl, and end in the cantankerous perverseness of drunkenness. What God has meant for good, we use for evil- one bite, one sip, at a time.
Food and liquid are necessary for life, and to be enjoyed. From the beginning, the Lord God created and supplied the richest of fare for his crowning jewel- man- made in his image. But also since the beginning, man has distorted what God made and ingested it for corrupt ends. We must be careful with the wiles of consumption if we are to honor the Lord who designed it for our good and pleasure. Poverty, embarrassment, perverseness, ill health, and more are consequences of unchecked appetite, while upbuilding, mutual help, and sanctification are the result of wisdom and self-control. (Genesis 1:26-29; 3:1-7; 9:3; Ecclesiastes 2:24; 1 Timothy 4:4)
What needs to change about the way we eat? How aware are we of our impetuses or excuses to consume? Do we show favoritism with our company? Are we cheap when treating, but then take advantage of another’s generosity to over-indulge or -imbibe? How might considering the honor of our Maker hone self-control in choices, and appreciation for the gifts?
Lord, may I daily taste and see that You are good, and so consume with care, and gratitude for Your bountiful gifts. (Psalm 34:8)