Not So Sweet

Proverbs 20:13–17 (KJV)

Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

I am going to risk sounding insensitive[1] in order to introduce and illustrate the point of our text this morning.

I read an article in preparation for this lesson that says in part,

New Study Identifies that Deaths spike on Christmas Day in the U.S.[2]

A new analysis of mortality rates in the United States during different times of the year has found that people are more likely to die during the holidays — namely on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

A group of sociologists analyzed all the official death certificates during a 25-year period in the U.S. between 1979 and 2004, and conducted that there has been an excess of 42,325 natural deaths in the two weeks around the Christmas holiday period. This excess is above and beyond what would be considered the normal seasonal increase in the death rate in the U.S.

The study, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, is from researchers David Phillips, Gwendolyn Barker and Kimberly Brewer. Professor Phillips of the University of California stated that the findings are “not trivial” and indicate that more people die in hospital emergency wards, or are DOA, on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day than any other days of the year.

Phillips said that the team’s analysis of 57.5 million death certificates shows that the chance of dying during the holiday period increases “somewhere between 3% and 9% depending on the demographic group you look at, and between 1% and 10%, depending on the cause of death analyzed.”

As a pastor, and as one who has two years of experience working for a funeral home, I can attest to the fact that death rates increase during the holidays — Thanksgiving to New Years Day.

A lot of reason can be cited:

· Cold temperatures

· Stress and loneliness

· Alcohol abuse

And, the big one, diabetes.

One article I read said that at least 12% of those who die during the holidays of “natural causes” actually die of complications from their diabetes.

One of the things that happens is that a diabetic, cons himself into thinking he can eat the sugary sweet high carbohydrate foods that make up our traditional American holiday fare, “just this one day.”

I know personally people who ate their holiday dinner, went to their bedroom to take a nap[3], and never woke up.

The food was sweet to the taste, but not so sweet in the end.

Proverbs 20:17(KJV) says,

Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

*I. THE LOVE OF SLEEP

Proverbs 20:13 (KJV)

Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.

I sometimes listen to guys who teach motivation and success skills.

One of the things they all insist upon is that a successful person has to get up early.

· One of them teaches to be out of bed in less than 30 seconds after the alarm rings.

· Several of them teach that you should get up early, spend a few moments in gratitude, and then exercise every day

· Some of them teach going to bed early too, but a handful of them teach that a person can train themselves to live very well on just four hours of sleep — if it is high quality sleep.

The point is this, as sweet as turning over in the bed is, as tempting as it is to sleep as late as you can before you have to get up to go to work, real success is only going to happen when you train yourself to get up early enough to take care of yourself before you go to work.

*II. THE THRILL OF THE BARGAIN

Proverbs 20:14 (KJV)

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

I will never forget hearing a lady I know, a salesmen herself, describe negotiating the price of a car she wanted to buy.

She said she told the salesman, “I know you need to make a living. I just don’t want you to make it on me.”

I have a friend who said when he was younger he liked to dicker the price of things. He told me that one time he went into a mobile home dealership, picked out a mobile home he liked and then spent a couple of hours haggling over the price until he got it down to what was his goal price.

Then he told the man he wasn’t really interested in buying it — he just wanted to see if he could talk him down that much.

I learned a long time ago that I don’t want business people to avoid me because, as a Christian (and a pastor no less) I think I should be given deals that keep them hungry.

I try not to use high-pressure pleas to get you to give around here.

I only ask that you be faithful to God with giving and I will be faithful to God with stewardship.

A laborer is worthy his hire.

It is theft to get his labor without giving him fair pay.

*III. THE YOKE OF A STRANGER

Proverbs 20:16 (KJV)

Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

The Bible teaches us, 2 Corinthians 6:14 (KJV)

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Being a surety for a stranger is the same as being yoked together with them,

This passage teaches that, as Christians, we don’t want to trust the Christian who disregards that Bible principle.

He is going to get bit by being unequally yoked with a “stranger” and we will get bit if we are too yoked to him.

*IV. THE WAGES OF DECEIT

Proverbs 20:17 (KJV)

Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

Income and items gotten through deceptive or illegal means will never be sweet in the end.

Jesse James and the Cole Younger gang had developed deep loyalties to one another through their Civil War experiences. But once the gang was separated, Jesse “hired on” a couple of outlaws who had no loyalty to him.

To them, one crooked deal was as good as the next so, when opportunity to kill Jesse and collect a potential reward presented itself, Bob Ford didn’t think twice. He shot him in the back of the head.

Stolen money seemed sweet, but its final taste was bitter.

There is one more thing the Bible says tastes sweet in the mouth but turns bitter in the stomach

*V. THE WORD OF GOD WHEN IT IS NOT SHARED

Revelation 10:9–11 (KJV)

And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.

And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.

And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

The Word of God is wonderful.

To be sure there are blessings in reading, studying and meditating on what is in this book.

But it is not meant to be kept to oneself.

Some of the unhappiest people I have ever known are Christians who refuse to speak about Christ to the lost around them.

Don’t be one of them.

[1] I have battled insulin resistance for several years now and have been considered diabetic for a little over one year. I know personally the temptations and complications of which I speak.

[2] http://www.us-funerals.com/funeral-articles/death-never-takes-a-holiday.html#.Wkghu1Q-cY0, accessed 12–30–17

[3] This is typical of insulin resistance and diabetes. I always grow sleepy immediately after eating high carbohydrate foods.

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Marvin McKenzie

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