Archive for the ‘Proverbs 13’ Category

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 13:13 He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.

God created us, knows us, and loves us.  It only makes sense, then to listen to his instructions and do what he says.  The Bible is his unfailing word to us.  It is like an owner’s manual for a car.  If you obey God’s instructions, you will “run right” and find his kind of power to live.  If you ignore them, you will have breakdowns, accidents, and failures.

How great is the difference between being destroyed and being rewarded? How great is the difference when it is God that does both the destroying and rewarding? The difference is enormous. But the conditions for being rewarded are clear and easy. Thank you, Lord.

This proverb is similar and typical of many other proverbs by Solomon. He constantly reminded his son and you of the blessing for obeying God’s word and the punishment for not obeying it. If you despise the Bible, you will be destroyed. If you respect and keep what the Bible says, you will be blessed. This is a fundamental axiom for your life.

The God of heaven is holy and jealous (Josh 24:19). He will not forgive or overlook those who despise or reject His word. Since He is the Creator of all things, including every man, woman, and child, He expects their total submission and obedience to Him. His first commandment justly demands your absolute and total love for Him (Deut 6:4-5).

About 1650 years after creation, or about 4400 years ago, God drowned and suffocated the earth with a flood of water (Gen 7:4,23). What brought His great destruction on the earth and the human family? They had despised His word and corrupted His way on the earth (Gen 6:5-7,11-12). He sent Noah to preach and warn them, but they rebelled against the commandments of their Creator, so He destroyed them (I Pet 3:18-20; II Pet 2:5).

God sent another preacher to Pharaoh, King of Egypt, about 3500 years ago. The Hebrews, worshippers of the living and true God, were slave laborers for Pharaoh. Moses brought God’s request for Pharaoh to let His people go to Canaan. When Pharaoh despised the word, God ravaged the land with ten plagues and destroyed his army and him in the Red Sea (Ex 5:2; 12:29-36; 14:28). The lesson of the proverb should be clear.

King Ahab despised the word of the Lord, so God destroyed him in battle with a chance arrow (I Kgs 22:1-40). King Uzziah despised God’s word that only the priests were to serve in the temple, so God destroyed him with leprosy (II Chron 26:16-23). King Jehoiakim thought he could burn the word of God and get rid of its warnings, so God destroyed him and his family and gave him the burial of an ass (Jer 36:1-32; 22:18-19).

But the proverb also promises reward to those who fear God’s commandments. This fear is not servile terror, but rather eager reverence to know and do His will (Ps 1:1-2; 112:1; 119:47-48; Is 6:8; Acts 9:1-6). Though the LORD God is very great, He will bless and reward those who humbly tremble before His word (Is 66:1-2; Acts 17:11; Heb 11:6).

Fearing God and keeping His commandments is the whole duty of man (Eccl 12:13-14). But there is also great reward in keeping them (Ps 1:1-6; 19:11; 37:4; 84:11; 112:1-3), which God’s saints have experienced in all circumstances, such as Abram in Canaan (Gen 13:1-6), Isaac in Canaan (Gen 26:12-14), Joseph in Egypt (Gen 39:1-23), Ruth in Bethlehem (Ruth 2:3), Rehoboam in Jerusalem (II Chr 12:12), Manasseh in Babylon, (II Chr 33:12-13), Esther in Shushan (Es 2:17), and Daniel in Babylon (Dan 1:1-21).

What have you done with the preachers God has sent you? Paul warned against despising prophesying, or preaching (I Thess 5:20). And he foretold irremediable judgment on those who despise or neglect it (Heb 2:1-4; 10:26-31; 12:25). It is your solemn duty and great reward to fear and love the word of the Lord. The lesson of the proverb is clear!

Under Gods Command
Proverbs 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is carful to discipline him

Loving parents spank their children. They start early, and they do not hold back. They want the best for their children, and they know spanking will help them succeed. They trust God and Solomon far more than today’s arrogant, ignorant, and bankrupt ideas.

This proverb is amazing! One short sentence will prove if you love God, if you fear God, if you love your children, and if you are wise. You cannot avoid these conclusions. If you do not spank your children, you have chosen to hate God, your children, and wisdom!

The lesson here is important, and it is repeated throughout Proverbs: corporal punishment works, and wise parents use it (Pr 3:12; 10:13; 19:18; 20:30; 22:15; 23:13-14; 26:3; 29:15,17). It is not open to debate. God has spoken, that settles it! 3000 years of recorded human history endorse it, and today’s dysfunctional youth confirm that they needed it!

The world would be a better place, if parents obeyed this proverb. But most have been brainwashed by educators, politicians, and the news media against corporal punishment. Though a serious problem is seen everywhere – a generation of haughty, lazy, rebellious, selfish, and narcissistic youth – the world hates God and Solomon’s wisdom in the Bible.

Do you love your son? Only hateful fathers do not spank sons. They love themselves too much to spend the effort, emotion, time, and short-term grief to confront and spank a child for his profit. The father that truly loves his son and wants him to be great will faithfully spank him at a young age when there is hope. If you do not use the rod, you hate your son; if you truly delight in him, you will correct and spank him (Pr 3:11-12).

True love is more than the mushy sentimentality of the modern heresy of unconditional love. True love is the sacrificial desire for the personal and spiritual welfare of another; it is doing what is necessary to help another person please God and men more perfectly. Of course, you cannot read about such love in Ben Spock’s books or Mad Magazine. This love is only known by Christians and only taught in the Bible. You can ignore all others.

True love is known by its goal and the choice of means to attain it. Godly parents want their children to grow in favor with God and man, the highest goal possible for human existence. And they use the God-inspired and time-proven means to achieve that goal – the rod and reproof (Pr 29:15). This is the highest degree of love a parent can have. Do you love your children this way and this much? There is no better idea, so forget it!

Do you want the best for your child? He was born foolish, and you must drive it out of him, or you will send a foolish adult into the world to be punished by life and other authority figures (Pr 22:15). The rod gives wisdom, so not using it selfishly deprives your children of wisdom they need for success (Pr 29:15). The rod saves children from death and hell, so not using it chooses future pain and trouble for your children (Pr 23:13-14).

The only proven way to maximize character and success is to spank him. How can you guarantee a selfish, lazy, immature adult lacking the character necessary for life success? Cater to his whims, coddle his moods, allow him the freedom of his peers, and avoid any criticism or negativity that might disappoint him! This is what parents now call training. Try to enter any work animal in a competition that has not felt a bridle or whip (Pr 26:3)!

Do you want joy and peace in old age? A child left to himself will shame his parents, but reproof and spanking make wise children (Pr 29:15,17). Do you know parents that live out their lives in grief for foolish, rebellious, or criminal children? You may be one yourself. They did not consistently spank their children when they were young to have joy of them later (Pr 10:1; 15:20; 17:21,25; 19:13; 22:6; 23:15-16,24-25; 29:3,15,17).

Here is a conflict: parents follow fuzzy feelings they call love to get children anything they want, let them do whatever they wish, and avoid anything that disappoints them. They think happy children are good children. These parents reinforce the foolishness of children and the sins of this generation – pride, laziness, rebellion, selfishness, etc.

Here is another conflict: Suzy Smartmouth of the PTA plasters signs around town that say, “Kids, you can’t beat ‘em.” Doctor Dimwits, the school psychologist says spanking warps the personality and is no deterrent to bad behavior. Benjamin Spock and James Dobson join similar philosophies against Bible strictness (Pr 20:20; 30:17; Deut 27:16).

Who will you believe? The Creator God that designed the family unit has declared His will clearly and repeatedly. King Solomon the wisest king and philosopher in world history gave his inspired counsel and advice. Who will you believe? The United Nations and UNICEF, who propose children’s rights between warnings about global warming?

The world’s thinkers do not have a clue about parenting, especially the more education and/or intelligence they have. When a spoiled child in America kills school children, what is the response of educators, politicians, and the media? Gun control! Neither America nor the world needs gun control – they need child control taught in this proverb!

What is a rod? It is a slender stick perfect for stripes on the backs of fools and foolish children. What is chastening? It is the use of the rod to create those wisdom marks. What is betimes? It is early when there is still hope for the child to be wise. What is sparing? It is deciding for whatever reason that you do not love your children enough to use the rod.

Grandparents once said, “Spare the rod, spoil the child”; the character of that generation to the character of the present one is like light to darkness. This generation says, “Kids, you can’t beat ‘em.” Who is right? Those grandparents chose the inspiration of God, the wisdom of Solomon, and common sense. Today’s effeminate and permissive society bows to ignorant educators and silly soccer moms, both of which are clueless about life.

Those grandparents knew true love did what was necessary to prepare a child for life. They knew allowing a child to go unchecked without corporal punishment was to hate a child. They knew an untrained child would grow into an undisciplined adult, unprepared for a successful life. They knew undisciplined adults would have much pain and trouble.

The present crop of arrogant, lazy, rebellious, spoiled, violent, and wayward youth proves the lesson. Never has the world seen such a batch of dysfunctional, selfish children and youth who expect everything to be handed to them. The chickens have come home to roost. God and Solomon were right. Any other opinion should be despised (Ps 119:128).

If you love your children, you will use corporal punishment early and quickly – betimes. If you wait too long, they become hardened in foolishness, and then it is too late (Pr 19:18; Eccl 8:11). Parents can avoid troublesome teens by training children and pre-teens the Bible way. If you foolishly spare the rod, you will reap the painful consequences.

The best Father in the world is God. He loved His children so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for them. How does He treat His beloved children when they disobey Him? Do you know your Bible? He whips them with a scourge and expects them to like it and learn from it (Heb 12:5-13)! If they do not learn fast enough, He will take them out of this world (I Cor 11:30-32). Joel Osteen and Rick Warren do not teach this very often!

God’s favorite son other than Jesus was David. He loved David very much. When David sinned, and the Bible records several, God punished Him severely. The beatings he took for adultery with Bathsheba and others sins were very severe. But David loved his beatings, because he knew they were given in love for his profit (Ps 119:67,71,75). If you are a child of God, you should appreciate your Father’s love and show it to your children.

Under Gods Command
Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise grow wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm

You are the company you keep. This well-known saying is a short and weak version of Solomon’s true warning. Here is one of the most valuable proverbs for your advancement.

Though you may be wise, foolish friends will eventually destroy you. Though you may be foolish, wise friends will show and teach you success. This is an easy way to prosper.

What a simple rule for wisdom and life! Get rid of foolish friends, and choose the wise for friends. You will grow in wisdom and avoid much trouble in life. Good athletes use superior competition to bring out their best, even if it means frequent training losses.

Giving up your friends is hard. You may believe the lie you can resist foolish friends. Or you may find your best friends are fools. Or your foolish friends may be popular, costing you status with peers. Or you may naively think you can help foolish friends.

The Bible declares, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (I Cor: 15:33). The warning about deception is to save you, since many think friends are not dangerous. But if you allow an evil input in your life, you will lose your good manners.

How did Lot, Abraham’s nephew, end up in a cave with nothing but his two daughters pregnant by his incest? How? He moved toward Sodom and made friends in that wicked city (Gen 13:12). What a disaster for him, his wife, and five daughters. Be not deceived!

The best parents monitor every friend, for foolish friends are a great threat to children and youth. Many decent parents make schooling decisions to protect their children, but fail to monitor individual friends from school, work, church, family, sports, and neighbors.

This is one of the most important things you can do for the success of your children. Read the proverb again. The results are certain, but children and youth are not wise enough to choose their own friends, so you must reduce their choices to those meeting the criteria.

Fools cannot be real friends to a child of God. It is impossible, for they are incompatible by nature. They have nothing of value to offer. What is a fool? They do not fear God (Pr 1:7; Rom 16:17-18). Ignore your feelings or past history, and cut off your foolish friends.

David rejected fools (Ps 1:1; 101:1-8; 119:115); he chose friends of those fearing God (Ps 119:63,79). Did he have good friends? He had Jonathan (I Sam 18:1-4; 20:16-17; 23:16; II Sam 1:26)! He had King Hiram (I Kgs 5:1)! He had Ittai the Gittite (II Sam 15:21)!

How can you get rid of foolish friends? Be unavailable. Or hang around wise people, and foolish friends will flake off, because they do not like wise people. Or say you cannot do former activities due to conscience or Bible. Or tell them plainly your friendship is over.

How can you find wise friends? Look in faithful churches of Jesus Christ around the world, though these churches are few in number with few members. It is in these churches that God’s faithful children gather around the God and truth taught there.

Godly men are lovers of good men, so you must learn to discriminate wisely (Tit 1:8; Ps 16:3). Men can easily be ranked on a scale of virtue and wisdom, so wise men move toward those on the top of the scale, even selecting friends from a church’s membership.

How far should you flee fools? Very far! Do not go in their direction (Ps 1:1; Pr 1:10,15; 4:15; 9:6), and have no fellowship with them (Pr 14:7; Am 3:3; Eph 5:11-12)! Your soul and future are at stake. Find the way of good men, and go in that direction (Pr 2:20-21).

Marriage is picking a companion for life! Use this proverb for a spouse. Carefully prove a personal and independent fear of God, the prerequisite of wisdom. If you do, wisdom will guide and bless your marriage and family. If you do not, both will be severely damaged.

The friends you need above all others are God Himself and Jesus Christ. Abraham was God’s friend for carefully obeying Him and passionately worshipping Him (Jas 2:23). Jesus loved Lazarus, Mary, and Martha for similar reasons (Jn 11:1-5). What about you?

Under Gods Command
Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Hope is a precious and wonderful thing! Here is a glorious and important proverb, if you will consider it carefully at length. Without hope, men get desperate and will do most anything to escape their hopelessness. With it, men can endure most anything, no matter how desperate their conditions become. Wise men will appreciate the great value of hope.

Here are several lessons about hope. Do you know where to find it? How to keep it? Do you know how painful it is when others lose it? Do you know how to give it to others? Will you get it for yourself and give it to others? Wisdom is the power of right judgment – knowing what to do in any situation. Wisdom includes these crucial lessons about hope.

Hope is expectation of something desired. If the thing you desire is not obtained in the time expected, your heart and soul are grieved and pained by the delay. But when the desired thing finally arrives, it is a tree of life: your heart and soul are encouraged and revived. These two aspects of hope are true in all matters, both spiritual and natural.

Hope can be a pleasant thought, if you are confident of your desires being fulfilled on time. But it can also be a painful reminder, if you are disappointed with delays or difficulties in obtaining your desires. Hunger is an example. It makes food delightful, when you eat on time. But it can be quite torturous, if you are kept from eating on time.

Hopelessness is one of the most destructive and painful feelings in the human experience. It must be avoided at all costs, because it will destroy a man’s outlook and performance. A wise man sets his hope on sure things, and he avoids any desires or expectations for the vain things of this world that lead to despair or frustration. He understands human frailty, avoids setting expectations too high, and learns contentment (Ps 146:3-5; Heb 13:5-6).

Since hopelessness is so destructive and painful, a good man will work to keep those around him full of hope, like his wife, children, employees, and friends (I Sam 23:16; Ps 123:2; Eccl 4:9-12; II Cor 2:2,6-11; Col 4:1; I Thess 5:11). Training his son for the throne, Solomon taught the wisdom of keeping citizens filled with hope, lest they become discouraged and desperate enough to revolt (Pr 16:15; 19:6,12; 20:28; 28:16; 29:14).

If you love proverbs, here is a classic. Identify Solomon’s three metonyms and one metaphor in this proverb. First, hope is a metonym for the things hoped for; hope itself is not deferred, or delayed; rather the objects of hope do not arrive on time. Second, desire is a metonym for the things desired, because the desire for the things was already there; it is the desired objects that finally come and bring great joy to the heart. This is metonymy.

There is a third metonym, the heart. It is substituted for the feelings and joys of the heart: the substitution uses the seat of your affections for the affections themselves. And there is a metaphor, where desires being realized are compared to a tree of life, which can energize and rejuvenate the soul with its fruit, though a fulfilled desire is not a real tree.

This proverb is an observation by Solomon, and the lessons are to be carefully searched for within it. While many proverbs give the lesson more directly, basic observations like this one must be explored and applied to learn the wisdom being taught. What can you learn about hope from this proverb in order to be wiser with God and men? Remember, God’s words are exceeding broad and may convey many varied lessons (Ps 119:96).

Those in authority must learn more about hope than others, for those under their rule can easily be broken and reduced to despair, if they are not given enough expectation for the future. Continually pressing duties without expectation of a reward destroys hope. In contrast, a person filled with hope will cheerfully fulfill duties. Wise men learn this lesson and often measure the hope of those under them to be more excellent managers.

A woman gives up much as a wife (Ge 3:16; I Co 11:9). “A man may work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done.” How can she bear it? A critical, unaffectionate, or inattentive husband can steal her hope and reduce her to despair, no matter how hopeful she was when she married him. This marital abuse is common. God commands husbands in many scriptures to be considerate, forgiving, patient, and romantic to encourage their wives (De 24:5; Pr 5:19; Ec 9:9; Eph 5:28-29; Col 3:19; I Pet 3:7; etc.).

Children come into a family by God’s choice, not theirs. Critical, overbearing, harsh, or overly-restrictive fathers (or mothers) can discourage them by stealing their hope and leaving them without any expectation for the future. The excitement and vitality of youth can be sucked from their hearts and minds by such abuse. It is shocking that some parents think their children should submit indefinitely without reward. God commands fathers (and mothers) to not destroy the hope of their children (Ps 103:13-14; Eph 6:4; Col 3:21).

The God of the Bible, the LORD Jehovah, carefully protected hope for the lowest men and even beasts. Bless Him! Christian nations have always had the most hope, because they worshipped the only God of hope. Day laborers were to be paid daily, lest their hope for some cash be destroyed (De 24:14-15)! Oxen were not to be muzzled while crushing grain (De 25:4)! Arranged marriages required a one-year honeymoon (De 24:5)! Every seventh year in Israel was a year-long vacation, even for servants (Le 25:1-7,20-22)!

The wicked have little hope (Eph 2:12; I Thess 4:13). Their expectations always end in frustration, for they chase the lying delusions of Satan, who is the god of hopelessness (Eph 2:1-3; II Cor 2:6-11). He knows his days are numbered and his coming torment great (Matt 8:29; Rev 12:12). He wants his dupes hopeless with him. All things in this world are disappointing and temporal, which hurt those who pursue them (I Jn 2:15-17).

Every sin, movie, song, or thought of the world ends with the same result – there is no hope, there is only despair (I Co 15:32; Re 9:11). They try to ease the pain with activities, comedies and jokes, alcohol and drugs, movies for fantasy escapism, mind-numbing music, extreme sports for thrills, and even suicide. Then they die and discover in hell that their hopelessness was right (Pr 11:7; Job 8:13-14; 11:20; 27:8; Mark 9:43-48)!

Consider riches. Wealth does not satisfy, for when you achieve one level, you will covet another (Eccl 5:10). Those taking your wealth are always increasing (Eccl 5:11), and the rich cannot sleep peacefully (Eccl 5:12). Riches disappear by many factors (Matt 6:19), and you will not take one cent with you at death (Luke 12:15-21; I Tim 6:7). The more you make, the more the government takes. Why set your hope on the illusion (Pr 23:4-5)? You are only going to be disappointed, frustrated, and vexed by the effort (I Tim 6:6-10).

Every child of God that seeks happiness in this world will be just as miserable, or worse, for he has set his expectations on things that cannot satisfy. Solomon, the writer here, found everything in this world to be vanity and vexation of spirit (Eccl 1:14; 2:11,17). Godliness with contentment is great gain, for such a man has his hope in God and heaven, which is the certain hope of prosperous saints (Gen 15:1; I Tim 6:6; Ps 73:25-26).

It is your wisdom to not hope for much from this world, but rather hope for much from the next (II Cor 4:16 – 5:9; Col 3:1-4). Therefore, you should be able to pray with Agur against riches (Pr 30:7-9). You should be able to be content with little and righteousness (Pr 16:8; Ps 37:16; Phil 4:11-13; Heb 13:5-6). You can avoid disappointment and keep on dancing, if you do not put your hope in things of this world (Job 1:20-22; Hab 3:17-19).

When a believer is discouraged, he has a simple remedy unknown to the world. He can remind himself to hope in God, just as David showed you (Ps 42:5,11; 43:5). The God of hope can give perpetual hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:13). Even at the hour of his death, he can be filled with joyful and peaceful hope, for he knows about heaven and the resurrection of the dead, the blessed hope (Pr 10:28; 14:32; I Cor 15:19). The believer has hope, which the unbeliever will never have – confident waiting on God.

If you use the word of God to build your hope (Rom 15:4), others will ask a reason for it, since they have little to none (I Pet 3:15). When hope is deferred, you can hope against hope through faith in an omnipotent God (Job 13:15; Lam 3:24-26; Rom 4:18-20). And you can know you have the superior definition for hope – patient waiting, for the greatest expectation of the Christian will certainly come to pass (Rom 8:23-25; Heb 10:36-37).

Believers never give up, as long as they have life, for a living dog is better than a dead lion (Eccl 9:4-10)! Until God removes all hope, there is still hope, and even then there is hope! David prayed fervently for his sick son, and gave up praying when the child died, yet he knew he would see him again. He had hope, even after death (II Sam 12:15-23)! Paul was sure he would die at Ephesus, but hoped in a resurrecting God (II Cor 1:8-10)!

The Bible is filled with glorious examples of simple believers who put their expectation and hope in the Lord. Did Sarah give birth and nurse with a smile long after menopause (Gen 21:5-8; Heb 11:11)? How much was Joseph a tree of life to Jacob, when he discovered him alive and on Egypt’s throne (Gen 45:25-28)? How many children did Hannah have for loaning her long-desired son to the LORD (I Sam 1:19-28; 2:19-21)? And Israel was like them that dream after being recovered from captivity (Ps 126:1-3)!

Yet there is a greater illustration of fulfilled hope! For 4,000 long years, the sons of God waited for the arrival of the Seed of the woman to deliver them from sin, death, and hell. The desire of all nations did come. The angels shook the countryside with the announcement. Simeon rejoiced to see Him before His death. And His disciples believed not for joy, when He had risen gloriously from the dead. Christian, hope in God today.

Reader, if you are committed by faith to Jesus Christ, then you have a blessed hope, an impregnable hope, a glorious hope. You will be raised from the dead to an incorruptible inheritance in heaven, where it is reserved for you (I Pet 1:3-9; Acts 23:6; 24:15, 26:6-7; 28:11,20). Believest thou this? If you have this hope, it will purify and sanctify your life (I John 3:3). And it will be an anchor for your soul in the storms of life (Heb 6:18-19). None that put their trust in Him shall be ashamed or confounded (Rom 10:11; I Pet 2:6)!

Children can be taught to hope in the Lord when they are very young (I Sam 1:28; Ps 22:9; Eccl 12:1). By building a foundation for their lives on the ability and faithfulness of God, they will never be driven to depression or despair about life (Ps 27:13-14; 37:7; 42:5,11; 43:5; 71:14). How is this accomplished? By building faith and hope through constant instruction from the word of God (Ps 78:1-8; 119:81,114; Rom 15:4).

True love comforts others by building hope and taking away despair. Since hopelessness is one of life’s greatest evils, you should be faithful in all your dealings to keep others from losing their hope. God specifically commands you not to discourage those under you (Col 3:19,21; I Pet 3:7; II Cor 2:6-11). After edifying others by your faithfulness, you should then comfort them with the blessed hope of the gospel (I Thess 4:13-18; 5:11).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 13:25 The righteous eat to their hearts’ content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry. 

Here is wisdom for a fulfilled, happy life. Will you submit to the Preacher, King of Israel, and his lesson about God’s providence and your contentment? Attitude is more important than quantity or quality, and God’s merciful favor makes a difference among men.

A righteous man is a godly man; a satisfied soul is a contented man. Godliness with contentment is great gain (I Tim 6:6). Believe it! True success is a choice you can make from reading this proverb. Choose now to rise above this dysfunctional, unhappy world.

God provides for righteous men, and He punishes wicked men. What the world pursues with all their might, God supplies to the righteous by His might (Matt 6:33). The assumed lesson here is God’s providential care for godly men (Pr 10:24,29; 11:6,8,19,21,31; etc.).

A righteous man eats sufficient for his needs, of whatever is before him, and finds it a feast. The wicked gorge on excess, wishing the fare was different, and cannot be satisfied. The one is contented and fulfilled; the other is discontented and frustrated.

One curse of man’s sinful existence is discontentment and worry. Solomon noted that the world’s rich are often kept from enjoying their abundance (Eccl 5:12-17; 6:1-2). But God is able to reverse all that in the heart and mind of the righteous (Pr 10:22; Eccl 5:18-20).

God blesses the righteous in their souls, where the wicked are always troubled (Is 57:20-21). Prosperity alone cannot bring contentment, for silver will not satisfy the man loving silver (Eccl 5:10). Contentment is a state of mind known only by the righteous (Pr 16:8; Phil 4:11), and adding it to godliness is great gain for every man (I Tim 6:6-8). Believe it!

Consider the righteous, who eats sufficient for his needs. He eats and drinks with moderation and for strength (Eccl 10:17). He is not tempted to drunkenness, gluttony, and their consequences (Pr 23:21). He even eats and drinks for God’s glory (I Cor 10:31).

He eats whatever is before him, for he has chosen to be content with whatever God provides (Phil 4:12). He chooses to be content with such things he has, for the Lord is his everlasting portion (Ps 73:25-26; Heb 13:5-6). A full heart is better than a full belly.

He finds a modest amount of anything a feast, for he has righteousness, peace, and love as the staples at his table (Pr 15:16-17; Ps 37:16). Because his heart is merry in the Lord, he has a continual feast no matter what is on his table (Pr 15:15; Eccl 5:18-20).

Consider the wicked, who often gorges on abundance (Luke 16:19). He chooses excess over moderation and pays the consequences (Pr 21:17; 23:29-35). But he cannot rest, even in prosperity, for he has the evil disease of worrying about it (Eccl 5:12-17; 6:1-2).

He always wishes the fare or setting was different, for his heart is covetous and greedy of what others have, and this situation vexes his soul (Eccl 6:9). Ahab, though king of Israel, could not enjoy anything in his palace without Naboth’s vineyard (I Kgs 21:1-4).

The wicked find trouble at the finest table, for there is often strife of some sort (Pr 15:17; 17:1). No matter where he looks, no matter what he does, all is vanity and vexation of spirit (Eccl 2:17; 4:4; 6:9). He is like the troubled sea; he cannot rest (Is 57:20-21).

A terrible thing God can do is fill your belly with this world’s best but send leanness into your soul, as He did to Israel with quail (Ps 106:15). Make sure that He knows you are content with your food but covetous for more of Him (Matt 5:6; Luke 10:38-42).

God guarantees the righteous will be fed (Ps 34:10; 37:3,25); and no matter how meager their provision, they have hearts filled with true and lasting joy. The wicked lose every hope at death and will crave a drop of water through eternity (Pr 11:7; Luke 16:24).