There are three things which are too wonderful for me, four which I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the middle of the sea, and the way of a man with a maid. Proverbs 30:18-19
In today's proverb of the day, I want to expound on what the Bible teaches is the perfect way to understand a woman. This is especially the case when a guy is trying to woo the woman to be his. There are a set of inescaptable rules and things you have to do - and if you do them - you will win any woman you approach. Those who have not yet detected the dripping sarcasm in this first statement on today's proverb - I need to let you in on the fact that I am not using dripping sarcasm - I am using sarcasm that is running like the Mississippi River at full flood stage. Any man who has gained any wisdom on the topic of women and how to understand them perfectly knows that such a body of information does not exist. If it did - and the women of our world learned of its existence, they would immediately change their behavior in such a way as to make the author of that book truly look ridiculous.
Today's proverb uses a common Hebraism of relating a series of things together that have a common thread. It was common to have people speak of three things that had common elements - and use them to relate to the fourth, which is the true focus of the proverb. Here, we see that the true focus of this proverb is that of a man with a maid. What the writer is telling us is that the way of love between a man and a woman is something that at some level will have to be left as a mystery. The typical, "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus" mentality that overflows from our societies' bookshelves, will break down eventually. Regardless of the number of degrees held by a psychologist or psychiatrist, no one knows everything there is to know about relationships between men and women.
God tells us through this writer that there are three things on earth which were wonderful to him - and even four which he does not understand. The science of our day would proudly announce that they have solved these mysteries by explaining the flight of the eagle by a sophisticaled grasp of Bernoulli's Prinicple. They would equally pride themselves on an understanding of neuromuscular and skeletal activity to explain to us ignorant pleebs the way of a snake on a rock. They might laugh at our utter simplicity and stupidity by explaining to us the principle of water displacement that allows such a heavy ship to float in the middle of the sea - and would enlighten us as to how to harness the power of the wind and sails to propel the ship through water.
I am very grateful for the things that investigation and the disciplines of science have helped us to understand. But for all the wonderful discoveries that I do enjoy - the one thing I have come to despise is the arrogance of scientists who seem to think that the whole concept of wonder either doesn't exist any longer. Or they feel that those who express poetic wonder, as the writer of proverbs does here, are simpletons. That I've grown to hate - because a world without wonder, awe, and mystery is a world that overflows with the overbearing pride of fools who no longer realize that though they were to pursue it for a trillion lifetimes - they will never fully grasp all that there is to understand about the universe. Honestly - it is not just the universe they will misunderstand - but the joy of life itself - which they will want to reduce down to a formula or two.
The eagle flies on the wind - and can rise and fall with it for hours having never to flap its wings. Its ability to do this while staring at the sun (with special eyelid covers which keep it from going blind) ultimately is a wonder and a mystery to me. The way of a serpent on a rock - its seemingly safe and sedate look - which can instantly turn deadly in a moment. The fact that something so deadly - cannot survive without heat - and how it draws it from the rock as it bakes in the sun one moment - and the next the snake hides in its shade to avoid being dehydrated and burned to a crisp is wonderful to me. To see a massive boat - even those in our day that are made of mutiple thousands of tons of steel (which doesn't have the capacity to float on its own) sit in the ocean, bobbing up and down in the water which would sink it within minutes were the hull to be pierced - is still amazing to me. And all these principles that men have discovered and proudly named after themselves - who designed the world so that these things would be true? Ah, to have mystery is to still live in a world of color and astonishment.
Now to the way of a man with a maid. I've discipled enough young men and women to know that this is something I'll never fully grasp. How the most logical young man I've ever known can pretty much lose his mind and all of his logic because of a young woman who captures him with a single glance from her eyes - yeah, there's a formula for that! Love is something science has tried to quantify - even measuring pheremones and electro-magnetic impulses - but has failed miserably in trying to do so. These things are for the most part unexplainable - and wonderful. There is wisdom that will guide us in them - but not to the point of missing the creativity and glory of God in the process. There are principles that we should follow in pursuing a young lady - and others that the young lady is wise in maintaining as she runs just long enough and slow enough for the young man in pursuit to catch her (but not until he wins her and commits to her for life). The thing is that in the midst of the principles - in the midst of the pursuit - we don't ever need to lose the wonder and joy of a blush - of a heart that is ready to explode from emotion - or of a heart-sickness in having to be away from the one we love. To lose those things would be to lose our humanity. A wise man knows that losing that means losing something that mere science can never replace. God meant for some things to simply inspire wonder, awe, amazement - and honestly - a sense of God and His glory in this world.
As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. Proverbs 5:19
In talking about moral sanity we come to a passage that almost makes you a little uncomfortable while reading it, yet it is the very essence of moral and sexual sanity itself! In commenting on this verse I want to take a moment to speak against the moral and sexual insanity that reigns in our society today.
It is a sad thing that we read verse 19 and get a little uncomfortable. The joys of married love and sexual union are one of the wonderful gifts that God gave us when He made our bodies as He did - and introduced us to marriage at the very foundation of this world. There is a purity in what is said here - not impurity. There is a very real joy that we should have in experiencing sexual union with the wife of our youth. Unfortunately sin has so skewed things in our minds that we squirm a little when God paints a somewhat vivid picture of the truth.
God desires for a man to enjoy his wife. He tells us here that her breasts should be the ones that satisfy us at all times. The world though has so twisted our minds and hearts that we struggle with reading this - even though all the world around us is doing all they can to capture our attention with the breasts of women other than our wives. There is the perversion - focusing on the beauty of a woman who is NOT your wife. Television, movies, magazines, and the internet are being used to draw our attention to other women. I see pretty much every day when I go to check my email that the most popular searches on the internet tend toward women whose beauty is being exploited to draw men into the trap of desiring a woman other than their wife. This is the deception of the world - and it is used daily to draw us away from the Lord. That is why I get so frustrated when believers don't want us to read or comment on passages of Scripture that promote healthy biblical sexuality. It is not that we want to start a sexual round-table by doing this - but it does put the real and the true before us. We want to be wise in discussing and commenting on such passages - not turning to gutter language and sexually explicit comments. But the Bible is very clear in what it is saying here.
The second part of this admonition from father to son is that the son be intoxicated by the love of his wife. Usually the New American Standard does a wonderful job of directly translating such things, but my how weak they are on this verse. Exhilarated is NOT what the dad is saying to his son. He is telling him to be utterly intoxicated with the sexual love of his wife. There are not many things God says we should be drunk on - but when it comes to the love of our wife - God says to drink up all the love we can.
That is the essence of sexual sanity dear friends. God wants us to enjoy our sexuality in marriage. He has written an entire book, The Song of Solomon, to exult in the sexual love enjoyed in marriage. He instructs us in that book - as well as in this passage - that it is a good thing to enjoy sexual union and lovemaking with our wife. It is one of the reasons why he gave us a wife and set up marriage the way He did. That is why it is so important that as fathers we have such a talk with our sons. We can guide them away from the raging rapids of sexual immorality - and toward the safe waters of sex within marriage. If we do not tell them - I can promise you the world will warp their minds with tales of sexual exploits that are nothing more than the deception of whoremongers and fools.
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered. Proverbs 28:26
One of the phrases I hear all the time is that I need to trust my heart in order to make a right decision. I know that this is popular - and that it makes for a good wall plaque (you know, Laugh, Love, Trust Your Heart), but it is unwise counsel for us to follow from a Biblical worldview. This is because one of the pillars of a Biblical worldview is the fall of man and the subsequent damage that has done to our ability to reason wisely. Our hearts are not trustworthy - and any decision based on what is in them is going to be an unwise one most likely.
Before we move on I want to review the state of the human heart for us. Since we live in a worldview that says that we are basically good, it is wise for us to do such a review. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us, "The heart is deceitful above all esle, and is desperately wicked, who can understand it? After the fall of man in the garden the world was plunged into sin. By Genesis 6:5 we read the following summation of the human race. "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." David helps us understand our hearts when he writes in Psalm 51:5, "Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me." Our condition - and the state of our hearts - is that of being sinful and rebellious toward God. Just one last Scripture to bring this truth home. Romans 3:10-12 has a very damning endictment toward the human race. We read the following there. ". . . as it is written, There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understand, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one." It doesn't get any worse than this for us - and this is simply a biblical conclusion to what Paul had been teaching for three chapters in Romans. So, to trust our hearts - without conversion - without the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us - without Scripture - is very foolish.
The one who does this is called a fool. He is a fool because he walks and thinks with utter self-dependence. He lives apart from input, counsel or wisdom from others - and most importantly independent from God and His Word. As always, the fool here only wants to air what is in his own heart and in his own mind, thinking, and reasoning. He will consistently make decisions that are silly, stupid, and foolish. These kinds of decisions will actually cause great harm if they are followed fully.
Solomon warns us that it is the one who walks wisely that will be delivered from the harm that comes from foolish thinking. If you are wondering what we would need to be delivered from - here are a few examples.
- Samson trusted in his own heart - and rejected God's counsel on moral purity and sexual sin. In time his foolishness is truly astounding. Each night after a sexual romp with Delilah, she would probe him for information on where his strength was - and each night he would lie to her. He would not get that whatever he told her would happen to him - and he would be awakened by her to find men ready to harm him. Did that deter Samson and bring him to repentance? No - he continued to trust his heart and his romantic (more like lust-starved) feelings. In the end - he was NOT delivered - and it cost him his eyes and a radically different hairdo - which, by the way, cost him his strength.
- Saul trusted in his own heart - and therefore let his jealousy run rampant. He distrusted David, thinking that he wanted to overthrow him and take his kingdom. That jealousy so warped his mind that he killed 70 priests and put to death an entire village because he believed a lie. In the end, he was not delivered. He trusted his own heart - which eventually led him to inquire of a witch what to do in battle. That was the last straw for God - who allowed Saul to die in battle the next day.
- David trusted in his own heart - which was led astray by his loins when he saw Bathsheba naked as she bathed on a rooftop. His own heart decided to hatch several lame plans to cover his tracks when his adultery led to her pregnancy. The ultimate foolishness was having ordered Joab to act foolishly in battle so that Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, would be killed in battle. David was not delivered from the destruction his adultery would bring to his family. Two sons were killed, a daughter and 10 concubines were raped, and a two costly rebellions killed thousands as a result.
- Peter trusted his own heart - that he truly did love Jesus more than all the other disciples. That kind of foolish arrogance led him to follow Jesus - but only at a distance. Jesus warned him that denials - three to be exact - would come from him before others. But Peter knew better than the Christ - he trusted his own heart and strength to stand. He was not delivered as he heard a cock crow after his third denial. He was restored later by God's grace - but he never forgot what trusting his own heart cost him.
Hopefully these four examples will help seal the deal for us in believing this Proverb. I know that I have far more than four exmaples of what trusting in my own heart has cost me. It is a foolish thing to do and one that always ends with a disaster. Walking wisely means walking in dependence on The Lord. Walking wisely means first coming to salvation by God's grace. Then it means walking in continued daily fellowship with God as we read His Word and desire the work of His Spirit within us. May God bless you and help you to walk wisely - and never do something so foolish as trust your own heart.
Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied. Proverbs 27:20
This is what I would call the iPhone 5 proverb. Now, before you think that I've become a sellout to the Apple Corportation, let me explain myself. This proverb has to do with the fact that since the fall of man there has been a condition called "sin" that radically affects man. One of the conditions from which we suffer is the "lust of the eyes." That is the specific thing this proverb addresses.
Let me start from the back side of this proverb first. We read that the eyes of man are not satisfied - in fact we see that they are NEVER satisfied. Now let me return to the iPhone 5. This was released within weeks of this post - and I believe was greeted with over 2 million people who wanted it as soon as it was released. The vast majority of these people had bought the iPhone 4S, which was an upgrade from the iPhone 4, which was an improvement over the iPhone 3. I hope you can see what is happening here. We are never satisfied with what our cell phones can do. We want something else - and all it takes for us to stand in line for the next upgrade is for Apple to dangle a few "exciting" changes before our eyes. When they do this, we are soon hooked - and just "have to have" this newest phone. Want to know why? It is because the eyes of our lusts are never satisfied. There will always be another "new and improved" that will command our attention - command our lusts - which will command us to lay down another several hundred dollars so that we have the latest. This is the case until the latest becomes outdated by the new latest, which is bound to come within a year of the last "latest" we had to have. Thus I have explained, I hope to your satisfaction (or possibly conviction) the iPhone 5 proverb. Next year, I'll have t rewrite this post to be the iPhone 6 proverb. By the way, the post will be new and improved, and will contain words that you will just have to read in order to be truly satisfied and fulfilled.
How strong is this desire of our eyes? That is where the opening part of our proverb comes into play. We read that Sheol and Abbadon are never satisfied. To the extent that these two are now satisfied - that is the extent to which we won't be either - at least in what we want to see. What are Sheol and Abaddon? They are two Hebrew names for the place of the dead - and the place of ultimate punishment. If we were to truly translate these two words they would be translated, "Death and Hell." One would think that after thousands of years of consuming mankind and all of nature that Death would be satisfied. (Note that these two - Sheol and Abaddon - are personalized. They are not just a state of being - they are almost humanized so that we feel we are dealing with an actual entity.) Death is not satisfied with the billions that he has. He consumes daily those who join his ranks. Wars, disease, violence, and old age swell the ranks of those in his grasp. He consumes kings and paupers and everyone in between. Yesterday he consumed thousands - and yet today his appetite for more is not satiated.
Abaddon is also placed before us. Many Hebrew scholars consider this to be the "second death" which is equivilent to hell. Whereas death consumes mankind in general - hell consumes the wicked of mankind with the same voracious appetite. No matter how evil man is in this generation - there will be more in the next. And just as the previous generation was consumed by the judgment and by hell itself - it seems that the next does not heed the warning, rushing headlong into the same eternal destruction. Does hell ever reach a point of being satisfied with his latest meal of the wicked and the ungodly? Contrary to the thought, hell wants even more men and women - never being satisfied with the last batch of fools who ignore God's call to their eternal damnation.
It is truly fascinating that God chooses to compare our unsanctified and uncontrolled eyes to both death and hell. So many wind up with a liberal harvest of death and hell because they never learn to submit what their eyes see to the will and Word of God. Lives are consumed, marriages destroyed, fortunes lost, and families disintegrated all because the eyes of men run wild.
So what is our response to such a terrifying proverb? It should be to come to God and to cry out for grace to redeem our eyes from their natural course and uncontrolled desires. We need to call out to God for His work of salvation - that we would be saved from the sins of our eyes. We need to also continuously call out to Him for His work of sanctification - that He would purify our eyes and keep us from having them be a starting point for all kinds of wicked thoughts and actions. Here is a promise of God for all of us. Jesus says to come to Him - all of us who are weary and heavy laden and He will give us rest for our souls. We do not have to be lead by our eyes into every sin - and every new iPhone - that comes our way, or is dangled before our eyes. We can take His yoke upon us and learn of Him - of a life satisfied with the only thing that will bring fullness to our souls. We were made for God - and anything but Him will never satisfy us. When we do this - we will no longer be driven by the deathly and hell-bent desire of our eyes, which only want something new to see and to lust after. We will learn, in participating in our Lord's life, that there is rest for our souls. Who knows - if we learn to look at Jesus, realizing that true fullness of life is found in Him - we might even find ourselves manifesting enough self-control and satisfaction to resist the iPhone 6.
The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, For his hands refuse to work; All day long he is craving, While the righteous gives and does not hold back. Proverbs 21:25-26
The wrong kind of desire in our lives can kill us according to this proverb. It is the desire of the sluggard that puts him to death. That seems strange because my first take on this would be that it is the lack of desire that would be his demise.
The word for desire here is the Hebrew word "ta-awah" and it means to crave greedily. It indicates something that is attractive to the eyes - and therefore is desirable to the person who sees it. In the second verse of our proverb we are told that all day long the sluggard is craving. The literal here is that he is "desiring desire." So what is going on here that is so dangerous for the sluggard? The second word used for "craving" here means to be coveting - to strongly desire something that someone else has. Thus, we see from both verses that the sluggard is filled with a desire and a covetous craving for things.
What kills the sluggard is that he is content with desiring and craving. He has plenty of desires, he just does not do anything to actually fulfill them. Consumed with desire, lust, and greed - he "craves" himself to death. Let's look at this a little closer.
We read first in verse 25 that the sluggard refuses to work. This one is a dreamer - but not a worker. In fact he refuses to work or give hismelf to the kind of labor that would eventually cause him to prosper and succeed. When he "refuses to work" there is a rebellioin present in his refusal. This word was used of Pharaoh's rebelliousness toward God in refusing to let Israel go. Thus this is an outright rejection of work. And as he refuses to work - he begins coveting what others have who do work. His desires continue to grow - even while he does nothing to solve his situation. In the end his own desires are his demise. He is consumed with longing and with desire for things - but will never attain them. He sits in his chair longing - ever longing - but never doing. Thus he dies of intense desire and want - but will never lift a finger to get the things he desires.
We are told at the end of this proverb that the righteous has a fundamentally different way of living than the sluggard. The righteous gives and does not hold back his generosity. He is not one ever filled with longing - but with a desire to bless others. The wicked, slothful man holds back his desire to give - because he wants all he has for himself. The strange thing is he has nothing because he won't work for it. The righteous works hard for what he has - and yet does not allow desire to kill him. He is looking for ways to give to others - to bless others - and to invest in others. He will not only know physical life - but he will also know spiritual life too. He will be a life-giving rather than just a stuff-wanting force on earth. He will not hold back his desire to bless others - and will be overjoyed and fulfilled again and again as he does.
Desire realized is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to turn away from evil. Proverbs 13:19
One of the key things that will lead to a happy life is when we realize godly desires in our lives. Today's proverb gives us some very wonderful counsel when it comes to realizing the desires that will truly bless us. Let's take a look at this - because it truly is a very important principle when it comes to living a contented, happy life.
Desire realized is sweet to the soul. This easily could be misinterpreted to mean that we are to run after whatever desire rises within our hearts. We know this is not true because we know that our struggle to be godly and to please God has much to do with putting to death the desires that rise out of our flesh - and surrendering ourselves to those which are giving to us by the Holy Spirit. Also the second half of our proverb warns against the man who will not turn away from evil. Therefore we know that these "desires" have boundaries set for them to keep them from being dominated by our flesh.
If all we ever do is dream - and those dreams are not realized in any kind of fulfillment, we will be a miserable soul indeed. God made us so that we have the function of desire - and also that we would dream of things far beyond ourselves. But only a lazy man will dream alone without any kind of fulfillment of those dreams that make his heart burn within him. It is given to us to dream and desire so that we will be moved to action to see those desires fulfilled. Such desires motivate us to DO something. Often the doing is the undoing of many desires and dreams. We are unable or often unwilling to put the effort and the steadfastness into our dreams to see them become reality. Oh, but what sweetness is ours when that desire is realized. Let me illustrate in a couple of examples.
Ever mow your lawn? I dread the start of mowing my lawn. If there was not the reward of a freshly mowed and manicured lawn at the end of that process, I might never address the grass that grows around my house. But when I am finished, I love to stand and look at a lawn that looks good. There is something very sweet about that particular desire realized that seriously motivates me to take up that task. As a pastor I am constantly starting up various projects that we do as a church. There is the desire to see something done that starts the process. Then there is the nuts and bolts work of doing that particular task. Often the details and the work is where we get bogged down in this process. But as we apply ourselves as a fellowship, we are blessed with the desire realized in the end, which is sweet to all those who have given themselves to the task. This is life - and those who follow these paths from the desire stage to the accomplishment at the end know the sweetness of which Solomon speaks.
The second half of our proverb tells us that it is an abomination to fools to turn away from evil. Most projects that are undertaken are for good purposes and plans. The fool though knows nothing of this kind of lifestyle. He thinks too highly of his comfort to actually work toward a goal. The fool is both lazy and undisciplined. For him to realize a desire of his would require him to get up off of his duff and do something. He finds such things an abomination. He would much rather do his own thing - which is usually nothing. The other fact about the fool is that he loves his evil too much to allow God to guide his desires into something positive and helpful. The vast majority of his desires are in a close orbit around himself. Therefore he despises the rebuke and leading of God to break out of a self-centered orbit to explore the vast recesses of what true selflessness could accomplish. Unless he get some sort of selfish pleasure that immediately placates his own love of self - he is not interested. Therefore much of his life is spent either in a short-term immediate pleasure that leaves him empty later - or in wanting things he in no way will be disciplined enough to actually do.
Misery follows the fool wherever he goes. His life is spent wanting much for himself - but gathering realitvely little. The wise man's journey is much different thnough. He spends his life seeking the heart of Another. In seeking the heart of God he finds himself drawn into activities and dreams that both bless others as well as glorifies the One Who placed the ideas and dreams into his heart in the first place. He has the sweetness of desire realized because the One Who put them into his heart also empowers him to see them accomplished. Ah what blessedness lies in that wise path that first receives from and then relies upon God to bring about those things which glorify His great name as well as bless the heart of man.
The desire of the righteous is only good, But
the expectation of the wicked is wrath. Proverbs 11:23
What do you want? That is a pretty general question - but it is the one that is addressed in today's proverb. The thing is that we are looking at what people want from the perspective of God, not just what people or the "market" wants.
From God's standpoint we are oing to watch Him put boh the righteous and the wicked man into the balances, weigh them and their choices, and state what each deserves. First we see that God places the righteous into the scales. He says that the righteous man's desires are only good. This coincides with what Jesus says in the Beattitudes. In Matthew chapter 5, we read the following, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." God not only is pleased with those who hunger and thirst for what He says is right - He promises wonderful levels of satisfaction for those who do. There is also another statement made in the Psalms that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. It is so important to know that when we are living for righteousness and pursuing what is right - God cuts us loose to enjoy as much as we want. That is why He says here that these kind of desires are "only good."
The wicked, though, have no sch guarantee. We read that the expectation of the wicked in wrath. It is helpful for us to see that word "expectation" here. The reason it is so important is because often what the wicked desire will give them an immediate positive feeling. The person who abuses alcoholic drinks has an immediate positive response as he feels better and is much more free in his expression of himself. But he can expect problems later. Having been a drunkard before I was saved I can concur with God's statement here. The expectation of the drunkard is only wrath and bad consequences. There is the hangover that comes in the morning. There is also the realization that the supposed freedom that you felt the night before took away your natural defenses against saying something stupid. Can't tell you how many times a Friday night bender led to a whole week of consequences with friends and aquaintences. Another area I want to address here is that of sexual immorality. The person who is sexually immmoral loves the immediate pleasure provided by it. Unfortunately, the crisis pregnancy, the positive STD test, and the broken relationships are not so pleasurable. The pornography may give us a temporary high feeling and sense of thrill as we look at it, but later the bondage that results, the pull into deeper perversion, and the way it leads people to treat the opposite sex as an object can be devastating.
The Word of God speaks of God's "judgments." These are things that God has said concerning certain behaviors in life. When we choose to disobey God and embrace our lfleshly lusts we do so because of the promise of pleasure and immediate satisfaction. The problem is that God has said what His response will be to such things. These are His judgments. He says that problems will result - disasters are on the horizon - and blessing will be forfeited. These judgments WILL COME upon those who choose to disobey regardless of what God says. They can expect the wrath of God when they rebel. God has made this very clear when He said in Romans chapter 1, "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness ofmen who suppress the truth with their unrighteousness." God's attitude and actions toward ungodliness and unrigteousness have been settled from eternity past. Those who reject Him and His Word need to know that He has amply published the results of such behavior - and it has never been good. Therefore the truly wise man knows that blessings await those who embrace righteousness - but for those who chose a wicked lifestyle - only wrath awaits them.
A sated man loathes honey, But to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet. Proverbs 27:7
This proverb is about much more than just when a person likes and dislikes honey. It is about hunger - first physical hunger as the physical meaning suggests - but it is about much more than just physical hunger. It is about how we walk through life - about worldliness and about knowing and walking with God.
The physical picture painted for us is very clear. When a man is sated he loathes honey. To be sated means that you are stuffed. This is like when you have eaten too much at a meal and you are miserable. It wouldn't matter what someone offered you - you would not want any part of it. This is why the man loathes something as sweet and enjoyable as honey. He is too stuffed with food to enjoy anything. The opposite is also true though. A famished man considers any bitter thing sweet. The famished man is truly hungry. He has not eaten all day long - and as a result he is ready to eat anything. Even something which others might consider bitter is sweet to him. He will take it up and eat it grateful for anything to help him with his hunger.
Beyond the physical picture shown to us are great spiritual truths for us to glean. A man sated with the world will look at the Word of God and loathe it. He is filled up with the daintes of the world and as a result has little or no spiritual hunger. 1 John tells us that everything in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life comes not from the Father, but from the world. When we fill our hearts and souls with whatever our eyes desire, whatever our flesh demands, and with a heaping helping of boasting in this life - we will not have any desire for the Word, which is sweeter than the honey or the honey comb. The glories of God and what He has in store for us seem like nothing when we are glutted with worldliness and selfish pursuits. This is why it is so hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. He is so filled with what "this world" has to offer - that often he has no room left for the things of God. We need to see the danger of feasting on the world, the flesh, and the fast food of the devil. When we do - we will despise and loathe the things of our Lord.
Then there is the famished man. The man who knows that the things of this world and this life are temporary. They are fleeting pleasures - what the Bible calls lying desires. They lie to us because they constantly promise fulfillment - but in the end they do not satisfy. They don't provide contentment - they do just the opposite. They eye is never filled with seeing - the flesh is never satisfied with food - and when we set our sights on wealth and riches, they take flight and soar to the heavens, always just a little beyond our ever grasping hands. Knowing these things - he seeks God for his "daily" bread - and asks not for riches. He knows that often the man with them forgets his God. Thus he wants something more. He has heard of this One Whose Spirit within is like a spring that rises up to heaven and salvation itself. He has heard of One Whose bread of life actually fills. He seeks the One Who offers rivers of living water - not a river outside of himself - but one that God puts within that overflows out of him to bless others. He is a famished man when it comes to worldliness and sin. He is a famished man when it comes to the religion of the eyes and flesh. He knows that boasting in this life provides him nothing in the end. Therefore he hungers and thirsts after God. He has heard from One that blessed is he that hungers and thirsts for righteousness, for he will be satisfied.
This hunger makes it to where any bitter thing is sweet to him. Where the worldling is constantly receiving but is never satisfied, this one receives everything from the hand of God - good and bad - and it all works together for good in his heart and life. Whereas the worldling ever complains that it is just not enough - the spiritually hungry one has eaten of contentment itself in the presence of God. Having his spirit filled to overflowing - he knows that all that God allows in his life (whether sweet or bitter) is working on his behalf. He even knows that the light and momentary discomforts, disappointments, disconcerting events - are working toward an eternal weight of glory that cannot be ascertained. God is at work in this famished man's heart - thus any way that God's providence and sovereignty designs his circumstances are going to be satisfying for eternity.
When you look at this proverb - and the truth that it represents - you come away with the paradox of God's work in this world. The filled go away hungry - while the hungry are deeply satisfied. The difference between seeking this world - and the world to come - is the difference between knowing contentment and fulfillment in hunger - or just walking through life empty even though you are sated with the world and all it offers. Truly, blessed are the poor and destitute in spirit - for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.