Proverbs 25 Devotional
By Pastor Lawrence
“Enough is enough!” we sometimes say to others when we want them to stop doing something that bothers us. But how much is “enough”? The answer to that question is somewhat relative depending upon the person and his or her particular needs. In verse sixteen of this chapter, Solomon says, “If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill and vomit it.” But how does one know if he has had enough? That seems to be a matter of wisdom that often comes through age, experience, and an understanding of one’s own limitations and weaknesses. Certainly, most young children would never know if they had had enough until after experiencing the bitter consequences of having too much at some point in time. But even adults sometimes have a hard time knowing when enough is enough, particularly during the holidays when sweets are more than plentiful.
It is truly a blessing from God that not all food tastes the same. Eating could have been merely a commandment given by God for our good in order to sustain our life, and, perhaps, the wise man would remember to eat whereas the fool would not always take it into consideration and suffer the consequences. But like many other good things in life, the Lord has added both beauty and taste to this very common need. Not only has he given us the imagination and the science to create such sweet things ourselves but has even graced flying insects with the ability to produce such sweet things in the wild. And when an individual finds such a sweet surprise, he should relish it with thanksgiving as well as moderation.
Of course, there is nothing evil in an overabundance of good things, for God is the one who at times causes the cup to overflow and the basket to be filled with multiple leftovers of bread and fish. Unlike socialistic governments that seek to ration out the “proper” amount of food and money for everyone alike, the Lord gives us the freedom to discover for ourselves when enough is enough. But with this type of freedom comes the potential for abuse, especially for those whose god is their belly, as the apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:19. Seeking their happiness in the things of this world rather than God causes them to pursue these created things as if they were a god, as if these things could fulfill the deepest desires of their hearts and not just their bellies or their wallets. But what about the rest of us who seek to walk with God?
When Elijah challenged the prophets of the Baals on Mt. Carmel, he said to the crowd of God’s people gathered on the mountain, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” Our problem is not bowing down to statues or images of foreign deities but we still waiver between the worship of the Lord and worshipping created things. And when we make ourselves sick, literally, from pursuing the things of the earth, it shows us something of the bent of our own hearts. It may not be honey or money, that we worship, but there are a whole host of things that we can’t get enough of if our hearts aren’t in the right place, and like Mick Jagger, we “can’t get no satisfaction,” even though we try, and we try, and we try, and we try.
Although the Law of God was given to steer us away from the things of this world that would immediately damage our relationship with God and others, the wisdom literature in the Bible was given to help us to see how even good things can become evil for us when God isn’t the center in our lives. In these situations, we might eat but never have enough, drink but never have our fill, and accumulate money only to lose it a moment later. The only way that we can truly enjoy the things of the earth is if we first enjoy the one who created all these things. Notice in Psalm 19 that David desires God’s word more than fine gold, and yearns for his commands more than the drippings of the honeycomb. Likewise in Psalm 4:7 he says, “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” For although honey is sweet and wine gladdens the heart of man, and money seems to answer everything, only the Lord can truly satisfy our souls. We were made for a relationship with God, and it is only when that relationship takes priority that we can see the things of earth in the proper perspective, not only enjoying these created things, but through them also tasting something of the joy of heaven.