Proverbs 23:16-20
Prov 23:16 (KJB)
Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
Reins - Kidneys
One of the greatest joys that a saved parent can experience is to know that their child has come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. In Hebrew, the word for “reins” is symbolic of the joy that goes all the way down to the deepest recesses of the person. Their whole body is in a rejoicing mode when they see their child who has become saved, beginning to gain more wisdom and understanding in the things of the Lord. When parents lead their children in the right direction and they become saved, that is really successful parenting. That is something Dr. Benjamin Spock knew nothing about.
Prov 23:17 (KJB)
Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.
This is a strange phenomenon in the Christian life. When a person is a new Christian, they have their eyes focused on the Lord and their zeal prevents them from being concerned with the things of the world. Then as they grow, they join a church, and their zeal begins to wane and then they start looking at the guy who drives up in a Mercedes and the guy who wears a Rolex, and suddenly there is a diversion from the focus of the Lord and that diversions now forms a dichotomy, whereas the Christian, who was focused on the Lord, is now focused on the Lord and material things which cause him to start compromising his Christian zeal. The reason I brought up other Christians is because in churches, many Christians come in contact with those who have much material goods but when the missions offering is taken, they give $2. Younger Christians might be envying them and thinking it is a Christian’s right to own many material goods. This passage teaches us not to envy sinners because of their prosperity and we can do that if we stay in the fear of the Lord, that is, not to redirect our focus to material goods but we constantly look to the Lord for our spiritual focus. We seek Him for our needs and we do not envy others who have more than us. The fear of the Lord would be to seek and to trust God for all our needs. We must never look at what others have simply because it will cause envy and that envy could lead us astray.
Prov 23:18 (KJB)
For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
Thine expectation - Your hope
If anyone is envying the prosperity of the wicked or is facing very hard times because the wicked are in authority, God encourages us by stating that there will come an end to all of this. First, the wicked should not be envied simply because of their end. (Psa 73:17 KJV) Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. It is when we begin to divert our eyes from the physical to the spiritual, is when we regain our spiritual insight. We know that on Judgment Day, the wicked will lose everything including their own souls. Do we envy that part of their life? The answer is no. (Rev 10:6 KJV) And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: God assures us in Revelation 10:6, that there is going to come a day on earth which will begin in time and end in eternity because time will be no more. The hope of the righteous is not cut off like the riches of the wicked. Our hope continues into eternity when the faith shall be sight but for the moment, our sight is by faith. God assures us that our day is coming when all sin shall be eradicated and we shall get new bodies and be in Heaven forever more.
Prov 23:19 (KJB)
Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.
Hear - Listen, understand, and obey
Isn’t it amazing how many times in Proverbs we have been given the admonition that we are to hear? The reason for that is, first of all, we tend to treat glibly what we are most familiar with. For those of us who have been saved for many years we tend to turn a deaf ear to the more elementary teachings of Scripture and by doing that we are basically stating that we don’t need to hear it. Sometimes it is good for us to hear the basics of the faith every once in a while. The second reason we are admonished to listen is because there are many voices out there today. (1 Cor 14:7 KJV) And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? The Apostle Paul uses the symbol of pipe and harp, and both of them have a distinct sound, if there is no distinction in the sounds, then we will never know which instrument is being played. This is why the verse admonishes us to be wise and guide our heart and we do that by careful listening so we may know we are listening to the true Gospel. Then when we know we are listening to the truth, we understand it because it bears witness with our spirit. Then we obey what we hear, since we know it is the truth. There are many false gospels today with just enough truth to sound good but when they are carefully compared with the true Gospel, then the distinct sounds begin to surface.
Prov 23:20 (KJB)
Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
Among winebibbers - Among drunkards of wine
Riotous eaters - Gluttons
Solomon was admonishing his sons here for the purpose of saving their lives. If they would keep company with those who get drunk and are gluttons, they will learn the ways and under the law, they were to be stoned. (Deu 21:20-21 KJV) And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. {21} And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. If you notice Solomon is speaking directly about the sins listed in Deut. 21:20. This admonition is not only for Solomon’s time but is definitely for our time. As Christians we must never keep company with drunkards or gluttons. When I became saved, my friendship circle was changed by the Lord as he started to introduce me to other Christians of like mind. I am writing this on 12/31/09 and on 1/1/10 it will be exactly 29 years since I had an alcoholic drink. No longer do I associate with the crowd I got drunk with, I now associate with those who are on the way to glory. Associations are very important because they say much about us without speaking one word. In Solomon’s time, under the law, the winebibber and glutton were punished by death. In our times, it can be a slow death. Cirrhosis of the liver, heart attack, stroke, and other things associated with alcohol and gluttony or it can be a fast death. A car hitting a telephone pole. He who has ears to hear! I know I do not want my Epitaph to read, “Here lies a Christian who ran with drunkards.” Instead I would rather have it read, “Here lies a Christian who witnessed to drunkards.”