When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: Proverbs 23:1
In raising dogs, trainers will teach you that it is important to control the appetite of the dog. This includes feeding the dog at the same times, keeping the serving portions the same, maintaining a healthy diet, and keeping snacks to a minimum. Spiritually, it is important to be careful of our fleshly desires and appetite. Let us see, this morning, the priority of curbing our appetite.
We see the risk.
Fleshly lusts war against the soul. The flesh lusts against the Spirit. Fleshly appetites are desires we have that go outside of the normal boundaries. Covetousness craves what someone else has. Jesus was tempted in the area of appetite. Satan said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” We are tempted most where we are weak. Our appetites, or fleshly desires, are a risk to our spiritual victory. “Consider diligently what is before thee.”
We see the restraint.
“And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.” Solomon is saying that we must be diligent in knowing the pressure points of temptations. He is also saying that we should be disciplined when it comes to our desires. A knife put to your throat is a death threat. Using this metaphor, he is instructing us to be moved with a sense of alarm and treat the desires of the flesh as death threats. Later, in Proverbs 23, he addresses the vices of drunkenness, gluttony, and immoral behavior. All of these sins, unrestrained, are fleshly desires. How do we develop the discipline of restraint? I believe memorizing of specific Scripture against fleshly lusts is a major help. Another is disciplining your thoughts by saying “no” when fleshly temptations come.
We see the refusal.
“Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats.” We must recognize those sources that seek to entice us into fleshly sins. A key source of fleshly temptations is bad company. Paul said that evil communications corrupt good manners. Consorting with drunkards, gluttons, immoral people, people who curse and swear, and angry people affects our behavior. Solomon’s counsel is telling us to walk away from, or refuse, their offers. Joseph refused Potiphar’s wife’s advances. Daniel purposed in his heart not to eat the king’s meat and drink the wine offered to him. Solomon said, “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.”
We see the remorse.
“The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.” Solomon teaches us that if we allow our appetite to control our decisions, we will later regret it. After we have satisfied our desire, we will become sick to our stomach and lose influence. Unrestrained desires will get us into trouble, take away our joy, and keep us imprisoned. Don’t look at the immediate gratification that you think you will gain. Look at the consequence and ask yourself, “Is it worth it? What will it cost me?”
Begin today to evaluate the areas of your flesh that are easily enticed, and set up the safeguards of restraint and refusal. Curb your appetite today.
Have a disciplined God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Exodus 30-32