COUNSEL IN CLIMBING THE LADDER[1]

Proverbs 23:1–8 (KJV)

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.

Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.

Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

It occurs to me that this passage is not often considered as a whole and that, perhaps because of that, we miss a great lesson presented within it.

I do not think the primary lesson is against gluttony.

Nor it is about the power of positive thinking.

I think what we have here is one man who has a need and another man who may be able to meet that need.

Have you noticed that there are people you are convinced can meet your needs (or wants), if only they were convinced they ought to meet your needs (or wants)?

I would like for us to have a brand spanking new building.

There are hundreds of people not too far from where we are right now who could pay to build the building themselves if only they decided to do it.

Bill Gates could build us a building without batting an eye.

He has a foundation whose only purpose is to give money benefit mankind in general.

But he isn’t of our spiritual persuasion, so that’s probably a long shot.

But then there are others with maybe a little bit less to work with but still more than capable of paying for a new building for us.

The Seahawks Quarterback

· He has the money

· He is a generous person (so they say) and

· He is even a Christian (so they say)

Pastor Caleb is a Seahawks fan (or at least he was until this whole kneeling thing).

Seems to me that pastor Caleb ought to have a sit down with him and ask him to build it.[2]

What we have in our passage is some instructions on how to meet with someone who has the means to help us.

I want to approach this by noting first

*I. THE RULER

The word means

· To have power

· To have dominion

· To rule or

· To reign

At first blush you might think of a king or a governor and discount it as not pertaining to you.

Is anyone here expecting to one day be invited to eat dinner with

· President Trump?

· What about Governor Inslee?

Obviously that isn’t applicable to very many people and it is therefore not very likely that it is the correct application for the passage.[3]

But there are occasions when all of us might sit down to speak with someone who has the power to be a help to us:

· A banker

· An employer

· An instructor/mentor

It could be a city councilman whose help we need to secure a permit.

It might be a remote acquaintance who has the ability to speak on our behalf to someone who has the ability to help us in our cause.

Don’t discount this passage too quickly as having no immediate value to you.

*II. THE NEED

The first thing that comes to our mind when we read this passage is a luxurious spread of food and, if we give in and eat it, we will be trapped in the snare of the ruler.

But the food can also serve here as a simple metaphor for any “dainty” we perceive this person to have.

· It might be money

· It might be influence

· It might be power to sign a paper and make all our problems disappear

· It might be a promotion or a raise

So my first and second points are meant merely to ask you to maintain an open mind. You might find many more ways to apply this than I could imagine as I prepared for the lesson.

*III. THE COUNSEL

Proverbs 23:1–8 (KJV)

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.

Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.

Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

The picture that most vividly presents in my mind is a meeting with a loan officer. I am going to use that then as my example.

Five “C”s

A. Consider

Proverbs 23:1 (KJV)

When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:

Imagine that you are sitting at the Old Country Buffet, only this one is at the White House.

There is every sort of food you have ever dreamed of, and some you have never heard of.

They all look good:

· Some of the old favorites

· Some things you would like to try to see if it might be a new favorite

But you can’t eat them all.

· Good sense says it would not be healthy

· Good manners says it would not be polite and

· Goodness, you would be sick if you tried

Wisdom says, to consider it all diligently. Know what is on the table and choose carefully.

Back to the bank –

· There will be options, study them all

· There will be fine print — read it

*B. Curb

Proverbs 23:2–3 (KJV)

And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.

Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.

I spoke with a friend not long ago who told me the story about getting his house.

He said he did not think he could afford a house at all and so had not really even tried. But then an opportunity presented itself and he was encouraged to at least talk to a banker.

He’s watching cartoons with his kids the next morning when there is a commercial for a loan company.

He took that as a sign from God and called.

And hour later the baker called him back and said, “We can’t give you what you asked for. We can give you $20,000 more than you asked for.”

Just because you can get more does not mean you ought to take more.

Seek the reasonable, not the ridiculous

*C. Content

Proverbs 23:4 (KJV)

Labour not to be rich:

There are things more valuable than extravagant gain.

There is something inherent in us I think that we always want bigger and better than we have.

Once we have what is bigger and better than what we had, we want what is bigger and better than that.

A pastor told me once that he had a neighbor to his church complain to him that he wanted to buy all the houses in the neighborhood for his church.

He replied, “I don’t want all the land in the neighborhood. Just the land adjacent to the church.”

And then he jokingly told me, “Of course, once I have it, new land will be adjacent to the church.”

There are people hard wired to be growth oriented and they are needful. But they are not everyone.

Be careful not to be discontent.

*D. Control

Proverbs 23:4–5 (KJV)

….. cease from thine own wisdom.

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Don’t lose your head.

It is easy to lose control when presented with options you never dreamed could ever be available to you.

Know what you need and stop when you get it.

*E. Conclude

Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

He wants to win too.

Here where that applies to the banker:

If he can he wants to give you more than you need because that puts more in his pocket.

His heart isn’t really with you.

· He might be a nice guy.

· He might be genuinely interested in your success.

But at the end of the day — he does what he does to win.

If you let him, he’ll feed you so much dessert you get sick of it before it’s done.

[1] I think a great title would have been Counsel Climbing the Corporate Ladder but it is a little too long and it probably limits the extent of the lesson some.

[2] You, of course, know that this whole scenario is an absolute joke, right? I do not really think Pastor Caleb should do that and I do not really think we need someone like a Pro Football player’s money to do the work of the Lord. It is meant as an illustration.

[3] Since the Bible is written to apply to us all.

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Marvin McKenzie

Pastor, self published Amazon Author, avid student of the Bible. teacher of the Word of God in college level . Daily visit with God www.marvinmckenzie.org