The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Project: Commenting January 23rd on Proverbs 23:1-5

January 23;  Proverbs 23  Verses 1-5

[Please note: The first two paragraphs below are repeated each day for new readers.  My amateur comments are offered below the verses from Proverbs.]

Christians looking for a simple way to review the Bible regularly, have long been convenienced by the fact that the book of Proverbs has 31 chapters, the same number as most of our months.  Each chapter includes multiple bite-sized verses (uhm, proverbs) and can be read through simply in one sitting, one appropriately numbered chapter per day through the month.  A person might read through the Proverbs a chapter a day during any month, but why mess with your head (reading an extra chapter on one, two, or three days!) like that when there are 7 months every year perfectly suited for the endeavor?

My idea here is to reprint about 1/7 of the verses from each day's chapter throughout this year, every time a 31 day month pops up, and then offer a few comments from The Barking Owl.  So in January, we will get through the first few verses of every chapter and then in March, the next group, and so on, until December comes around and we can finally get to the last set of verses in each chapter and complete the book's reading.  If you are smarter than I am (is there any doubt?), you will read the whole chapter every day, every 31 day month, and then you will have read the whole book 7 times this year!  By then you are guaranteed to at least be wiser than The Barking Owl , though no one will ever match the wisdom of Solomon!

[All Bible passages are from the NIV, and are copied from]

Proverbs 23     
(I hope you are reading the whole chapter of the day, every day.  If you are, then you will not be thrown by the odd chinks in my system, as we encounter today.)

Ok, so this is where my little system breaks down a bit.  In the middle of chapter 22, we are introduced to a subset called "30 sayings of the wise".  They are not so much proverbs as they are simply....wise sayings.  But we will not get to see them in proper order.  Saying One will reach my calendar of commentary on July 22nd!  Nonetheless friends, if a saying is wise it is wise in whatever order it is said, I always say.  Here we are starting with Saying Seven:

Saying 7
1  When you sit to dine with a ruler, 
   note well what is before you,
2 and put a knife to your throat
   if you are given to gluttony.

1,2) Apparently it takes two verses to complete a wise saying.  That must be why Solomon wrote proverbs instead.  Anyway, this one is a doozy eh?  Do whatever it takes to avoid pigging out at the King's table!  Perhaps the "noting what is before you" part suggests that the food served is so fancy that it is meant for more than the stomach only, and must be appreciated for all of its delicacies.  Plus, perhaps it was "plated" just so!

3 Do not crave his delicacies,
  for that food is deceptive.

3) At first I thought verse three stood on its own, but now I'm thinking that there is much more being said here.  

It would be very easy for an outsider to be swept up in all the grandeur, pride, wealth and benefits of serving in the King's presence.  Someone newly appointed (as a Czar of this or that vital government program may be) could easily fall in with whatever corruption is going on in the palace, as long as he is getting a piece of the pie.   The temptation to justify one's actions for the sake of material gluttony is great, but, "that food is deceptive".

Saying 8
4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
   do not trust your own cleverness.

4) Well now this wise guy sticks two distinct proverbs into one part of a wise saying!  I can't figure these guys out.  Anyway, God tells us to be content.  He only requires us to "act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  Micah 6:8  He says nothing about getting rich.  Can you imagine if one of God's priorities, or commandments was "thou shalt get rich"?  It's not, and trying to will wear you out.

Furthermore, we should beware our own cleverness.  I like to play chess online.  So often I think I have it all figured out and go ahead and make a bold move.  When I check back later, after my opponent has made his move, all ready to celebrate my cleverness, I often end up saying, "...Oh".  Yes, we should try to be clever, but be ready for an eye-opener.

5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
   for they will surely sprout wings
  and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

5) I remember learning this one years ago at a VBS.  This is the very picturesque corollary to verse 4a above.  If riches come along with whatever endeavor you might be working on, fine.  Use it wisely for the works of God.  But if wealth is the main goal, it will either elude you altogether, or wear you out in the attempt.  

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