She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet. She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
Proverbs 31:20-24The wise and godly woman here knows the taste of success. When it says that she "senses" her gain is good - God uses the word for tasting something. She works hard, which we see consistently in the previous verses. But more than that, she tastes that what she is doing it good. The things that she sells to the merchants brings her gain - it helps her to earn money. She knows and tastes the success that hard work brings. It is important that people experience the fruit of their labor. I am not one who believes in the economic systems of socialism or communism. Those two systems tout a false idea of community goods that are shared by all. The problem is that such systems kill the benefits of hard work and labor for the individual. In the end, the collective works only as hard as they want to - and since they receive nothing but the same allotment for their labors - they are not motivated to excell at them. The result of tasing the fruit of your labors will be far less labors. When we are allowed to taste that sweet fruit, we are motivated to labor harder, smarter, wiser for the good of our own benefit - and by that for the good of our family and others around us.
This godly woman knows that her gain is good. Here we have another confrontation with the current thoughts on economics. In our world gain is bad! How dare Capitalists relish the fact that they are making a profit. We wrongly call them evil - yet it is their "so-called profit that allows so many others to enjoy benefits. This godly lady knew in her heart that hard work would yield good things - and would bless her - bless her family - bless others who bought them - and eventually would bless her community. When governments try to "equalize" the playing field - what they mean is that they are going to promise everyone the same outcome - because that is what they say is fair. What is amazing is that they want an equal misery for the masses - but for themselves luxury. Every socialist and communist leader has evidenced the sin nature. They talk a certain egalitarianism among others - but they themselves will have the most. They will have the best of everything. What they deliver to the people is equal poverty and misery.
It is self-interest that will drive men and women to their best efforts. They must receive some reward for hard labor - and once they taste this fruit - they will want more. This results in hard work - work ethic as it is called. This woman knows that. Because she tastes that her gain is good - she works hard. She labors into the night as her lamp can testify. She stretches out her hands to make clothing - which is what the terms distaff and spiindle indicate. This is because she is working toward her own self-interest. In this case that means her own clothing - the clothing of her family - and clothing that can be sold to others to earn more money for the welfare of her home. This is the kind of work God encourages - and blesses. May He give us wisdom to reject the false philosophies that promote powerful government officials who speak of equality and egalitarianism - but who only deliver a corporate misery to the masses as they live high on the hog themselves. May we instead see the value of hard work, frugality, and wisdom in taking what God gives us and using it for the benefit of our families. The fascinating thing about this kind of life is that as families (Which are the basic unit of society in God's economy) multiply with these views, a village, city, region, and even nation is blessed and prosperous as a result.
Verse 21 introduces us to the way that this woman is generous toward her own household. She does this by knowing of their needs. She lives in a climate where snow and cold affect her children and family. Therefore she labors to make sure that they are clothed with scarlet. The imagry here is that of seeing the heaviness of the clothing she provides for her family. She makes sure that they are warm when it is cold outside. The word household even goes a step further. This word also referred to the servants one might have in and out of their home. She is gracious and kind enough to make sure that even they are warm and well taken care of especially when it is cold outside and they need warm clothing.This next verse may seem strange to us - but she also provides for herself. This indicates her frugality, as clothes made by her own hands would cost less than those made by others. But it also indicates that she cares about her appearance. Her clothing is fine linen and purple. These are expensive and fine fabrics she uses and it indicates that her household (who are all clothed in this fashion as well - from verse 21) are dressed as those who are proud of their appearance. This is not because they are clothed in the latest fashions from Gapstein, Eyptian Eagle, or Old Testament Navy. These are clothes their mother produced by the labor of her own hand. There is class here - but not class that arises out of buying things from others. It is the class that arises from quality made at home. In this way she blesses her children, her husband, and even herself.
The excellent wife is generous toward her husband as well. We find it said that eh is known in the gates and sits among the elders of the land. He is successful and wise. Working with and for him and her family is this godly woman who takes great joy in seeing her husband respected. That takes for granted that she herself respects him - and respect for him grows in concentric circles from what men see in her heart and actions. When a man's household is in order and respectable - men want him to rise to other positions of leadership where he can do the same. The wisdom and discretion they see in his choice of a wife makes them want him to lead them. His wife, in this way, is his crown (Proverbs 12:4).
We see this attitude in Ruth - who delighted in seeing her husband Boaz honored in the gates of the land. She was indeed an excellent wife, even though she was a Gentile. Those who saw and experienced her wisdom and servant heart praised her to Boaz - and spoke to her mother-in-law of how she was better to her than seven sons. To bring honor to those around us by the way we carry ourselves is a high task. Too many live only for the honor brought to themselves - and are content with the compliments being spent there. The true servant and generous person is the one who gives of herself with no thought of herself. She is content to receive praise by seeing those she loved praised. Truly that is a generous person.
The excellent wife is generous even in business with others. Her skill is such that she is not just able to make garments for her own family - but she makes them for others. The quality of her work creates a demand for what she makes. She sells garments she makes to others who desire them for their beauty and quality. Even the tradesmen want her products. This is quite a compliment because a tradesman is one who offers quality merchandise. They learn their trade and perfect it over years. What we have here is a woman of excellence - who makes garments excellently so that those who know excellent merchandise want it when they see it. She is generous even to them for what she makes . . . sells and sells well.
The excellent wife is a generous woman. That generosity moves out in circles blessing first those she loves and calls family. Eventually though, she is so skilled in what she does that the demand for her work is great. Being selfish most often hurts the one who is this way. But being generous will bless the one who is in ways that only someone who is truly giving can understand.
He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses. Proverbs 28:27
One of the things the Scriptures are certain about is the responsibility of the people of God to give to the poor. This proverb relates this responsibility in a way that reminds us of the Covenant God made with His people. That covenant often gets a bad reputation for being all about "thou shalt nots." Some think it is a religious buzz-kill - that only tells us what we cannot do. Those who think this way don't realize that there is great deal in the Old Testament Law that speaks of showing compassion and mercy.
Israel was an agrarian society - and as such there were a number of laws that encouraged them to provide for the poor. One of the things that they were told was to only harvest the land once - and not go over it a second time. This was the case with ground crops as well as things like olives and fruit which are grown on trees. The extra was to be left for the poor. This was one way they gave to the poor - as well as with what were called, "alms" which were specific financial gifts given to care for the poor in society.
God intended for the poor to receive more than just money or food. The church is better equipped morally to help the poor than the government. Governments most often just give out money. Unfortunately this leads to government programs that do more to harm than help the poor. The phrase a hand up - rather than just a hand out comes to mind. Government has made laws that actually award immoral behavior by offering more help to those who have children out of wedlock. These kind of laws may help with the hand out - but they have a bad tendency to lock people into assisted living - rather than help them to eventually become self-reliant and self-sustaining. When the church offers help, they can address immoral behavior in a way that government cannot do. This is the way God desires for the poor to be blessed. He desires for a person's moral choices to be addressed, for often a mroal choice leads to a blight on our financial state.
We are told here that the one who gives to the poor will never want. Another proverb states that when we give to the poor, we are lending to the Lord. When we do this - God will be sure to bless us and meet our needs. The second half of this proverb addresses what often happens when the poor are neglected. We do this by closing our eyes to the problem and to their needs. We simply shut our eyes - and then shut our hearts to their plight. This, according to God's Word, will bring to the one who does it, many curses. First there is the curse which comes from not obeying God's law. That comes with a withdrawal of blessings from God. But there is also a curse that comes from the poor as well. They watch as the rich pamper themselves and ignore their situation. In some situations this reaches a fever pitch and results in revolutions and other violent confrontations. The French Revolution was such a reaction to the abuses of the rich.
God desires for His people - and His church - to care for and love the poor. Because the church has adbicated her role in this - the government has taken over this task. The result of our disobedience in this area is that the government begins to take greater and greater amounts of money to give to the poor. In the end, we are cursed with over-reaching government intrustion into our finances and our lives. We are also cursed with a government which in time realizes it can control the people through ever increasing gifts to the poor. This leads to a curse on those with any level of financial security in society, because the government must increase its revenues to continue the giveaways. This is why God wants His Word to govern such charity - because without something to guide us - our natural sinful tendencies will lead us to use our gifts to secure power or influence.
The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25
God wants His people to be like Him - and that requires that we take a serious look at what it means to be generous. The Lord Himself is extremely generous toward mankind. When you consider that we have sinned against Him, rebelled against His sovereignty and authority, and even gone so far as to deny His existance while blaspheming Him - you begin to grasp why any response other than total judgment is marvelously generous. Yet God has gone far above just showing us a little mercy. He has allowed His justice to fall upon His Son, the Lord Jesus, having Him bear the payment for our forgiveness. Therefore we should honestly consider God's generosity as being infinite.
God says that the generous man will be prosperous. The literal Hebrew here says, "The soul of blessing will be made fat." The idea here is that a person wants to bless others. This men or woman is generous in the very core of their being. Their normal response is to be kind and generous to others. God tells us that this kind of person will be prosperous. Some in the "name-it, claim it" movement states that this means they will have lots of money. But, I've seen over the years people who would not be in any way described as rich - be very generous. They are this way not just with money - but with their time. I've also known these people to be some of the most blessed people in my life. Thus, in defining prosperity, we need to define it not just as monetary prosperity, but also as prosperity of soul as well.
The last aspect of this proverb says that the one who waters others, will himself be watered. This is an allusion to the agricultural world. When someone waters a plant, he is providing much needed moisture to the plant for its health and welfare. The picture here is not of a plant being watered, but of a person being blessed. When we are generous with our time and our ministry to others, we are helping them grow spiritually. When we do this, God lets us know that we ourselves will be aided in our spiritual growth.
The way this works is truly amazing - because so often our fallen nature wants everyone to "water us" rather than to pour into others. At the risk of being prideful, I will use an example from my own life. There have been many days that I have woken up and did not want to do anything. I was filled with thoughts of myself - and all I wanted was to do my own thing - or to just sit and do nothing. Often on these days I feel pretty depressed and useless. But on several of them God began to speak to my heart, encouraging me to get up and actively go out somewhere to bless someone else who needed it. What is funny is that at first when I chose to obey God in this, I was not terribly excited about the whole thing. Usually I did it by accessing what seemed to be the last ounce of strength I could muster (really this was not the case - I just get a kind of dramatic when I am a selfish putz). What is truly astounding though is how I was watered as I went to bless someone else. Eventually the depression would begin to lift - and my attitude would alter radically. By the end of the day I would notice that I had come full circle, being filled with joy over God's goodness in it all. I remember a good friend talking about a friend of his who had a day like this. He chose to get up and go bless someone else. The story concludes with this man stating that it was because this brother obeyed God that he himself was saved. The man he went to bless - was him. He shared the gospel with my friend - and later that evening, at a revival service he invited him to attend, he gave his life to Christ.
Remember this proverb the next time you get into a spiritual and emotional funk. Go do something that will bless others. Choose to be generous - to go out and water someone whose spiritual life is dry and barren. Go out and bless someone else who could never repay you for what you are about to do. When you do this - you will soon learn the truth of this passage. You will be prosperous spiritually - and - you will find yourself being watered by God Himself for your generosity - and by your willingness to adopt His character as your own.
There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. Proverbs 11:24
What does God think about those who are stingy with their time, their talents, and their finances? Here we see two people. The first is constantly scattering what he has. He does not hold it tightly to his chest and consider it his own. He scatters his time to those who need to be encouraged, loved, counselled, built up, and at times rebuked and corrected. He scatters his talents to the church - to the business he owns or works at - to the community when they need him. He scatters his finances as he invests in the kingdom of God and into the needs of others around him. This man is constantly scattering - not just money - but godly influence and the love of God. He is like a man walking through a barren-looking field - tilled - but without anything on it. As he walks he does not see the barrenness, but rather what that field can be if someone sows it properly. His scattering is not just giving away what God has given him. It is planting. It may not look like much as he scatters seed everywhere. But as that seed dies and comes to life first as a seedling, then as a plant, then as a full grown crop, then as a field that is white unto harvest - the man is seen for the wisdom that he had. He has scattered - yet he increases all the more. He will increase in influence - in favor with those whom he selflessly loves - in financial strength as God blesses him for his giving - in favor with God as he gives himself to obey the Lord and follow Him fully. This man will not be poor for scattering what was given to him. On the contrary - according as he has sown - he will reap thrity, sixty, and a hundred fold. He will take his talent and not bury it in the ground. He will invest it - return it to his master - and be put in charge of many things.
The stingy man's end is much different. We read that he withholds what is justly due. There is a pregnant statement if ever there was one. What is justly due? For those of us who know the Word of God - we are to give God a tithe of all that we have and produce. That does not come from the Old Testament Law - although it does teach tithing. It comes from Abraham's example before the Law was given. He gave a tenth of all he gained to Melchizedek. He did so as our example of giving - as well as he is the example of our faith as well. What is due though is everything! We are not just to surrender to God 10% and think we are done. We are to give all that we are and all that we have for God's glory. But the unwise man withholds what is due. He is not just a stingy man, he is a selfish man. Like the unwise farmer he thinks everything is his - to be used as he sees fit - for his own glory and his own selfish ends. When blessed with a bumper crop he does not consider giving some away. He chooses to tear down his old barns and build new ones that can keep all his stuff for himself. He is selfish to his own harm. The wisdom of God tell us that this man only winds up in want. The rich fool planned to keep everything for himself and died that very night. What he gained was nothingness for all eternity. The rich man who disdained to feed Lazarus with the scraps of his table did not die rich. He died selfish and self-centered. He died poorer than Lazarus - for he died and went to eternal punishment in hell. He had everything he could think of in life - but in death he wound up destitute for eternity.
Dear saints of God - learn to be one who scatters rather than one who only gathers and holds tighly. The tight-fisted man will have his hand broken - and his grip crushed in the end. Everything he thinks he holds tightly to will be gone in an instant. He will ultimately lose everything. The generous man who scatters will not lose anything. In fact his sowing guarantees that a crop will come and a harvest 50 times greater than he had before will come. Truly the wise man is the generous man - the giving man - the scattering man. Be that man.
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed. Proverbs 19:17
How can anyone ever lend money to God? That sounds impossible since the Lord owns the cattle on the thousand hills and all the wealth that anyone could ever imagine. Yet the Scriptures make it clear here that when we are gracious to the poor we are leading to Jehovah. Let's take a closer look at this - and at the blessing that comes from being gracious and kind to those who are poor.
When we give to the poor we are being very wise. We are making an investment that will bless us in the end. Lending to anyone is a risky endeavor because lending wisely is based on their ability to repay us. Yet when we are gracious to the poor by giving to them, we are told that we are giving a loan to God. His ability to repay is infinite - therefore this is an investment that will pay wonderful dividends. If there were ever a sure bet when it comes to lending policy - this is it. Being gracious to the poor means showing them mercy. The idea behind this word is that we are showing a kind act to someone in need. Since this refers to the poor, the idea of gracious giving is implied. We read in 1 John that part of the love of God in us is giving to someone who has a need instead of just wishing them well and leaving them to hope for the best.
The promise here is very clear. When we are gracious in lending and giving to the poor, we will be repaid from the Lord Himself. The good deed of giving to the poor is noticed by the Lord. We are told that the man who is gracious to the poor will be happy (Prov 14:21
). The one generous to the poor by giving him some of his food, God promises will be blessed (Prov 22:9
). We are also told that the one who gives to the poor will never want (Prov 28:27
). These are all very clear promises of God that we should take seriously when we face situations where we can either show mercy upon the poor - or close our hearts to them. The rich man in the gospels would warn us that shutting our hearts to the poor like Lazarus who sat at his gate is an act that will cost us dearly in the end. May God give us the wisdom to act on opportunities to provide for the poor. The benefits of such kindness are beyond our ability to comprehend. May we abound with such kindness and secure great blessing!
A man's gift makes room for him And brings him before great men. Proverbs 18:16
When one appears before great men, there is a wonderful Asian practice of coming with a gift. This can be construed as a bribe to some - but that is not how those in Asian culture view it. They view it as wise and right to bring a gift with you when you come to see someone - and - the greater the person, the more important the gift. Over the years I have had the privilege and honor to pastor several Chinese and Japanese Christians. One thing I have seen in their actions is that they will bring me a gift when they come to see me. For me this is a precious thing - and it is also humbling. Their gifts are never something casual or thoughtless. They always take the time to consider what I might enjoy - and they delight in giving it.
This proverb is trying to get us to see the value in being generous with others. We will never be the poorer for genuinely giving gifts of love and respect to others. We will also benefit from seeing the value of letting those in important positions know that we both respect them and value what they can contribute to our lives. This is why we read that this gift will both make room for us and bring us before great men.
An example of this was how the Queen of Sheba came before Solomon. She sought an audience with the king. When she came she brought a huge gift - involving spices, a special type of wood, and other very valuable items. She came with these things to receive Solomon's wisdom - and to see this great king of which she had heard. What is interesting is the practice of the noble men and women who receive such people who come with thoughtful gifts. Solomon first answered all her questions - leaving her breathless as she heard him and saw his court. But we read at the close of the passage that she left receiving more than she had given. The kings and rulers of the East were given to their liberality in response to the graciousness of others. The Queen of Sheba left with more than she gave. This is a type as well for us of how we come before God. We may come giving liberally - but we leave far wealthier than we came. We receive the graciousness of our Lord and King - and the level of blessing which He can grant. That, dear friends is amazing - but often that kind of display is reserved for those who first show respect, honor, and an open hand in how they give to the Lord of all. May our level of giving never hinder us from blessing, but release it gloriously into our lives.
A gift in secret subdues anger, And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath. Proverbs 21:14
Some of the proverbs are instructional while others are observational. In no way is the Bible endorsing giving bribes to subvert justice - but God, the One who has inspired the Scriptures, is also not blind to the observation that bribes do exist and they are used to turn away anger and wrath. In understanding this proverb we do need to focus on the fact that what is being said here deals with the issue of those who are angry and filled with wrath toward another. This is not a proverb dealing with wanting to pervert justice - it is about dealing with those who come to a court situation and who are very angry. It is written with truth that will help those who are wanting to lessen that anger before they get to court. So what is this proverb telling us - and what observation is it giving to us?
When facing anger and wrath from someone - it is helpful in subduing it to offer a gift or a bribe. Bribes do exist - and unfortunately the rich use them to subvert justice. When a situation arises when someone is very angry and they are considering acting in the wrath of the moment - a bribe will help tone down the anger. Is this righteous? Most likely in the case of the bribe it is not. Is it effective in the world? Unfortunately it probably is. But there is another way of looking at the statement that a gift in secret subdues anger.
Those who know of court proceedings know that many cases are "settled" out of court. What is often done is that lawyers offer a "settlement" to make a case or a person's anger go away. The injured person is willing to have a sum of money - a gift given in secret if you will - subdue their anger and move them to drop the suit in court. These settlements usually involve fairly large amounts of money. They are meant to pacify the anger of the one who is bringing the suit or threatening to do so. When this gift is given in secret - the case goes away. For those who know that they are in trouble and guilty, yet do not want a court or a jury deciding the award in the case, a settlement may save them millions of dollars. For the person injured or wronged, it saves them the difficulty of the court case itself - and the risk of getting nothing. In the end, though everyone may not be completely thrilled, it does subdue the anger and settle the dispute.
Remember though, this is a proverb that is observatory. It is observing what happens in life - not dictating what should happen. In this regard it is good to know these things - and to know that God knows too. God knows that often these things will happen - but one thing to remember is that they will never happen at His bar of justice. When we stand before God, there is no amount of money or works that will speak for us subduing His wrath. The only thing that speaks in that day is the blood of Jesus Christ shed to pay for our sins in full. There will be no bribes or gifts passed under the table. God Himself has made the way of payment for sin - but know this - it is the ONLY payment accepted.
He who increases his wealth by interest and usury gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor. Proverbs 28:8
Is God against all lending that is done establishing a level of interest that is charged for the use of the money? Some would look at today's proverb and say yes. But before we decide to level wholesale accusations against the banking industry, let's take a closer look at what God is saying in this proverb.
God says that those who increase their wealth by interest and usury - will only gather it for the one who will be gracious to the poor. What are the principles here - and how do we deal with the wisdom of this in today's world?
First of all, God told Israel that they could not charge interest to their brethren (Exodus 22:25
; Leviticus 25:3
6-37; Deut. 23:19
). They could, however, charge interest to a foreigner (Deut. 23:20
). The question that we need to ask is whether this was in regard to the poor among the people - or in all matters of commerce. The passages mentioned here refer to the poor. The Bible speaks very strongly to the fact that we need to be gracious to the poor. What God is prohibiting is the use of interest to keep the poor mired in their poverty. This was expressly forbidden. The people of Israel were to be kind to one another - especially the poor among them. Thus, what we have here is the prohibition of interest put on the poor in Israel.
If this were not the case, then we would ahve a huge problem in the New Testament in the parable of the talents. This is a story where God is represented as One who gives 10, 5, and 1 talent of money to three different servants. When the third tells him he hid his talent in the ground and is giving it back. The owner calls him a wicked slave - and says that he should have at least taken his money and given it to the bankers so that he woul have received his money back with interest. So what we see is that in regard to commerce interest can be charged for money lent for the purpose of doing business. But even in this regard God is definitely opposed to excessive interest being charged. This does not bode well for our friends at the credit card companies who charge 18-20% or those who give cash advances on people's paychecks at rates sometimes above 50% or more.
God's promise to those who do this is simple. God will eventually take their profits and redirect them to the poor - or at least to one who will lend to them in the way God desires. Know this before you decide to try to get rich with disreputable people. God sees all things - including every business that is getting rich on ungodly principles. Among these are those who get rich on the backs of the poor and disadvantaged. God will even things out one day - and often is doing it without us even realizing it. It is better to make a little less - or none at all - if our other option is to become rich in an ungodly fashion. This is especially true for those who want to bilk the poor out of their money by burying them in debt. Beware - because while burying them under a load of debt - you are burying yourself under a load of judgment.
He who is generous will be blessed, For he gives some of his food to the poor. Proverbs 22:9
Who would have thought that being wise involved the character trait of generosity and how we react to the poor? Yet that is exactly what we are dealing with today with the proverb of the day.
The one who is generous will be blessed. The idea for generosity here is one that comes from the Hebraism. The actual phrase is that this one has a good eye. In Hebrew, to have a good eye is to be someone who is kind and generous. It meant that you looked with kindness on others. It was the picture of a man who was good, gracious, kind, and generous. A man with a bad eye would be one who is stingy and selfish. He would be seen as an evil, ungodly man.
Jesus used these same Hebraisms when He said, "The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness." (Luke 11:34-35, NASB) In the same way Jesus was stating that if our eye is selfish and stingy - if we are tight-fisted and unwilling to give to others - it will yield a darkness in us. We will be selfish, ungrateful, and unkind men. But if our eye is good - it shows that we are gracious and kind as well.
The man here with the good eye - he is generous and blessed. This is seen by the fact that he gives some of his food to the poor. This gracious and good man is concerned about those less fortunate than himself. Thus he takes his own food and gives some of it to the one poorer than himself - to bless them. This is something that is commended from Old to New Testaments.
As early as Exodus and Deuteronomy God told Israel not to forget the poor. In Deuteronomy 15:7
we read the following admonition by God - that sounds like a rewriting of this proverb. "If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother;but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in
whatever he lacks." But there are not only commands to remember the poor, but also promises of blessing to those who do. Proverbs 19:17
reminds us that those who are gracious to the poor lend to the Lord - and God promises to reward those who do so for their good deeds. We even find in the New Testament at the Jerusalem Council that Paul is urged to remember the poor - which he states is the very thing he wanted to do.
God wants so show His own gracious hand through how He leads His own people to be generous as well. That is why we want to be gracious and kind towards the poor. It is absolutely our duty - but it is also an important way that the world around us can see the character and love of our God as He works through us.
Proverbs 23:6-8 (NASB)
6 Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, Or desire his delicacies; 7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, "Eat and drink!" But his heart is not with you. 8 You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, And waste your compliments.
Proverbs lays out for us here three verses that warn us of selfish and greedy men. The term used to describe this men is a man of an 'evil eye.' This term is a Hebraism that refers to a man whose eye is set in a way that he is covetous and very selfish when it comes to his money. This guy has evidently made a promise of a sumptuous meal. To break bread with someone in this day was to offer them a meal. And from what we read here - this man is putting quite a the spread before us. It does not only involve putting food before us - but delicacies. Delicacies here is the Hebrew word "mat'am" and it means a very tasty, delicious food. It indicates soemthing like gourmet food or special tidbits and delicacies that were usually only served to the wealthy and influential person. This meal is provided to catch our eye - but dull our sensest. This is not just a Big Mac at Mickie-D's. This would be an entire meal at a fancy restaurant - including a top shelf dessert as well. Why would this man do this? What is even more important though is that God warns us to stay away - and not eat it - and not to be drawn in by the delicacies! We are warned against the desires that arise in us as we look at te delicacies set before us. Again, one might ask, "Why?" The answer lies with the character and the motives of the man who is providing the meal. He has a reason for what He is doing. And according to this passage - his motives are evil, selfish, and self-centered. Let's look a little further at all this as we seek to get all we can from this warning - as well as how all this applies to what we can face from men in THIS generation that use the same tactics. God now reveals to us this man's heart. The motives of his heart are hidden from us and the only way we know them is when God reveals them to us. This man thinks within himself differently than he is acting outwardly. His outward words say, "Eat and drink!" There is every indication that he is all about his hospitality. There is a problem though. His words do not match his heart. Who he is in his heart is who he really is and since his heart is not with us, we should question his true motives. Why would someone provide a great spread like this - and not have their heart in it? The answer to this question is that greed and selfishness are what motivate him. Ever been to a "free meal" or a "free weekend" at a time share? Yeah . . . that's what we're talking about here. We are provided what seems like an innocent and wonderful gift. Problem is the entire time we are enjoying it we are being set up for the real purpose. The gift is given to get something from us! Before the night is over - before the weekend is over - there is going to be a presentation. The reason for all the generosity is that you are supposed to buy something - commit to something. I've been to a free weekend at a resort - and the term "high pressure sales" is an understatement of what I eventually faced. When my "free" weekend was over, I honestly wished I had just paid for my so-called free vacation. That was one of the longest three hours of my entire life.When someone's heart is not with you in providing that great meal or that wonderful weekend; when someone's heart is not with you in giving you those "free tickets" or that gift card for a free meal, you need to know that a the heart is not set on giving, but greed. You are being lured into a way for Mr. Generous to make money in the end.
We are told that we will vomit up the morsel we thought we enjoyed. There will be a disgust in our hearts when we eat this man's food. That disgust will only be experienced after we find out the real agenda here. He didn't do this for us . . . He did it for himself. Covetousness and profiteering were the real reason this for Mr. Generosity's gift. In the end you feel like a fool for being tricked into doing something you "normally" would not do. You curse your desires that deadened you to the warnings of the Holy Spirit. Remember my time share story? Oh, how embarassingly this ended. I told myself that I would not buy anything! I was going to be strong - and say NO to everything. Then I'd enjoy the rest of my free vacation and go home. Remember the "high-pressure sales pitch?" Well, in the end, we didn't buy a time share. Instead we paid a ridiculous price for a promised "future" vacation - actually three were promised. I'm not stupid enough to fall for just one! Of course the promised triple play did not quite work out like it was mapped out for us. In fact the entire sitaution was a debacle. In the end - I vomited out the vacation we took - and wished I could take back my compliments about what a "great deal" I had just gotten! Remember this . . . when a selfish, greedy man "gives" you something, he has every intention to more than double or triple what he invested. At least that is my story - and my savings (or lack thereof) is sticking to it! In the end - you feel like a fool for complimenting the generosity of your host. You look at what was provided - and you think that it is wonderful. But the cost in the end - oh the cost in the end - makes you feel like a complete idiot for ever accepting his invitation. You kick yourself for ever getting involved. There are plenty of evil-eyed men out there in the world. They have their plans and their purpose for their pseudo-generosity. But remember that we've been warned by a wise God - and a wise man who walked with God - that there are subversive plans in this pseudo-generosity. The plans of these heartless givers are laid out like a trap for the unwary and the unsuspecting to step into. They want to catch your eye with their delicacies - and keep you from seeing the long-term plan in their ruse of free provision. Believe me when I say that their intention is to make far more than they have given. The truly wise man will see this ahead of time - and avoid even a meal provided by one whose eye is evil - and whose plans are selfish and filled with snares.