When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. ~Proverbs 23:1-2
One of the most frightening circumstances that could happen to you is to have someone put a sharp knife to your throat. The slightest resistance could result in the perpetrator using the knife to cut your throat and your bleeding to death. You don’t want to do anything that results in your injury. Putting a knife to the throat is an idiom that means to exert restraint. Solomon is giving wise counsel concerning the importance of exercising self-restraint.
We see the concern.
The picture that Solomon is presenting is the temptation of being “wined and dined.” Solomon describes our susceptibility to wining and dining as being a man given to appetite. This is a phrase that describes someone who is using strong methods to entice you to commit to an offer or proposition. The offering party goes to great lengths to appeal to your fleshly appetite in the hope that you will agree to their proposal. They seek to arouse your imagination as to what you think you could gain by accepting their offer. They will spend large sums of money at dining you, entertaining you, giving you exorbitant gifts, and trying to find your weak spot that could lead to you saying “yes.” Every person is a potential victim who can succumb to the desires for fleshly gain. The concern centers on what will make you say “yes.”
We see the counsel.
Solomon warned, “Consider diligently what is before thee.” We are to examine the proposition, and, before we are blinded by “an offer that we can’t refuse,” we must diligently think about what this proposition could do to our testimony and spiritual life. Solomon strongly exhorts us to put a knife to our throat or to quickly exercise restraint. We do this by first adamantly saying, “No” to the offer. Second, we must walk away from the table and put a distance between ourselves and the offer. Solomon describes the offer as deceitful meat. It ensnares and entraps those who are prone to let their desires get the best of them. Third, once we walk away, do not look back and think for a moment, “What if I accept the offer?” Think safety and a godly testimony first.
We see the command.
“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.” Solomon commands us to not make money and riches our priority in life. This does not mean that we should not save, prudently invest, and strive for financial independence when we are older. Don’t let the sole reason that you work and live be to be rich. This implies that money and covetousness are your gods. How do we know if we are laboring to be rich? For one, we are materialistic in our goals. We are concerned about acquiring and not giving. Second, we become more busy making money and have little time for God. Third, we are consumed with building our material kingdom and have little interest in building the kingdom of God. Fourth, we desire to associate and fellowship with people who desire to be rich more than we do with the people of God.
We see the confidence.
We must remember that our trust must always be in the Lord. We must be resolved that our complete confidence is in God taking care of us. All of our affairs must be committed to God, prayed over, and giving Him the glory for whatever He does for us. It is not a matter of striving to be balanced, but being biblical in our thinking and goal setting.
Exercising restraint is not easy, but it is a necessary discipline. When a proposition is given to you that sounds too good to be true, put a knife to your throat.
Have a restrained God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Job 8-10