Proverbs 23:1-5
Prov 23:1 (KJB)
When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:
Consider diligently - Discerning, you must carefully discern
This verse gives a two-fold warning concerning the time one is brought before rulers or leaders. Remember 22:29 spoke of the diligent who would be brought before kings. Well here is a situation where a diligent person is brought before the king as he was invited to a banquet. First, the admonition is to discern the food which you have been served. Daniel and his friends refused to eat the kings menu and requested that they be given vegetables for ten days. When one sits down with a ruler, then one should not eat as if it is their last supper. They must show restraint so they would not convey they are gluttons. Secondly, one must discern as to why they were called to the banquet. They must try to assess the reason why they were called and not someone else. They should also know the reputation of the one giving the banquet. Does he have good or evil intentions?
Prov 23:2 (KJB)
And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.
This verse continues the admonition. If you are a person who likes to eat, by eating incessantly you will be showing that food could be a weakness of yours and that information could be extracted from you by a meal. This verse also emphasizes that one should never be to talkative at the table. If they drink alcohol, refuse it, so no secrets will be revealed and any confidential information stays intact. One must realize that food tastes good only in the mouth for a few seconds but it can lead to ruination if one can be bribed with sumptuous food. A person given to appetite is showing they have a serious sin which they must work on.
Prov 23:3 (KJB)
Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.
Dainties - Delicious food or delicacies
Deceitful meat - Food of lies
The warning here is not be enamored of the delicacies which are placed before you. It may show the wealth of the person has the ability to bring out the best in various foods. (Psa 73:3 KJV) For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Asaph warned that we should never be envious of the foolish and their prosperity. The person who invites the man that is diligent may have something or some skill the rich man wants and is trying to bribe him with good food and pretended friendship. This is why the verse states that it is food of lies because it has been prepared for covert reasons known only to the one who is holding the feast. This is why it is so important for a person to use their wisdom and not to interpret the situation by what they see.
Prov 23:4 (KJB)
Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
Labour not - Do not become weary
This verse is not saying that a person cannot become wealthy through hard work and diligence. The book of Proverbs endorses hard work and diligence. The basic theme in this verse is that riches should not be the goal of labor. In fact, if one labors to be rich, they can literally wear out. Laboring to be rich is the wisdom of the world and this verse is saying that we must cease from our own wisdom, that is, the wisdom and principles we learn from the world. Much wealth in the world system is made by illegal means and that is what this verse is trying to protect the Christian from. We must not live by our own natural wisdom but we must live by the wisdom of God as we have found so many times in the book of Proverbs. The wisdom of God diverts the Christian from the evil ways of the world. Our desire in labor is to please the Lord with our diligence and to support the work of the Kingdom of God. With these two motivations in mind, then a person can become wealthy but if not, they should never change their goals to line up with the world.
Prov 23:5 (KJB)
Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
Here is one of the best verses in the Bible which speaks of riches that will eventually be gone. An eagle is able to soar up to altitudes of 20,000 feet because some airplane pilots have spotted them that high. That means just as an eagle soars out of sight and with the same speed, riches can be lost. (1 Tim 6:17 KJV) Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; In 1 Tim. 6:17, the Apostle Paul is admonishing those who are rich not to trust in those riches, he calls them “uncertain.” The Greek word which is translated “uncertain” is used only one time in the New Testament and it carries the idea of “uncertainty” which is the opposite of certainty. The Gospel is considered a thing of certainty which a person can never lose and no matter what their financial state is, they are never abandoned by God. Riches, on the other hand, can be lost very quickly and may never be regained. This is why the true believer must never make getting rich their focus. If God wants you to have a million dollars, do you think He needs the gimmicks of the world to get it to you?