Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. ~Proverbs 15:17
Are you someone who asks your spouse or your parents, “What’s for dinner?” Typically, when we are hungry or have a special craving, we will ask that question in the hopes that what we are craving is being prepared. Our devotion this morning provides a powerful lesson about a dinner of herbs and a fatted ox.
We see the simple.
A dinner of herbs refers to a vegetable-only meal. This would include garden greens, carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, squash, garlic, and herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, parsley, basil, and chives. It is a simple meal. There is no meat or protein and little to no starchy foods aside from potatoes. However, Solomon refers to a dinner of herbs where love is. What’s most important is the most essential ingredient for a home: where love is. When a home is filled with love, there is companionship, enjoyment, forgiveness, patience, sharing, and fulfillment. It doesn’t matter how simple the meal is, as long as you are eating with people whom you love and who also love you. Love does not need complexity or worldly goods to make a relationship a blessing. Where there is love, there is a satisfaction second-to-none for this relationship. A dinner of herbs is incidental to the real essential, which is the fact that you are with people you love. It’s not about what you eat but whom you are eating with.
We see the superiority.
A vegetarian dinner where there is love is better than having a fatted calf for a banquet-type meal and hatred therewith. The worst human emotion to be on the receiving end of is hatred. Hatred is when there is contempt and strong disapproval of who you are. Even if you have the luxury of a fatted calf that you can prepare for a sumptuous meal, the meal is meaningless and despised when there is hatred. Solomon said that a dinner of herbs where there is love is better. It is superior. It is the highest preference. A marriage or home troubled with hatred and dislike is a place where there is constant arguing and fighting with neither side giving in to reconcile. It is a home filled with unhappiness, resentment, unforgiveness, and hostility. Who cares how much material wealth you have when things at home are not right?
We see a standard.
“In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.” There is a scriptural standard that we must strive for about our homes. The most important decoration, ingredient, and spirit for every home is a home overflowing with love. When a marriage is filled with the grace of God, family is patient with one another; everyone looks out for the other family members; sacrifices are not a second thought; and we can’t imagine life without our spouse, children, parents, or siblings. The house of the righteous is a home where love permeates and prevails. No wonder Solomon made this powerful comparison between a vegetarian dinner and a fatted calf for a special occasion. He said, “Better is....”
Build your home on the lasting and powerful virtue of love. Don’t build it on the idea of trying to impress. Instead, build it on the idea of trying to inspire. Put your family members' needs ahead of yours. I think that a parting example of "a dinner of herbs where love is" is the home life of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. Both her husband and children call her blessed because she does what she does out of love. What’s for dinner? A home where the spirit is overflowing in love.
Have a loving God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Revelation 7-9