Friday after the Feast of the Holy Trinity
Scripture: Proverbs 22:22—23:12 (NKJV)
22:22 Do not rob the poor because he is poor, nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; 23 For the LORD will plead their cause, and plunder the soul of those who plunder them. 24 Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, 25 lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul. 26 Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety for debts; 27 If you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take away your bed from under you? 28 Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set. 29 Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.
23:1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you; 2 And put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite. 3 Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food. 4 Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! 5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven. 6 Do not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies; 7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. 8 The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, and waste your pleasant words. 9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words. 10 Do not remove the ancient landmark, nor enter the fields of the fatherless; 11 For their Redeemer is mighty; He will plead their cause against you. 12 Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.
We have learned much this week about staying away from foolishness, which is hurtful to our soul. Many times it is easy to spot. For instance, we know from the Ten Commandments that we should not steal, lie, or use God’s name wrongly. They all sound very straightforward. But one of our verses today tells us to watch out for something neutral. Verse 5: “Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.” Riches themselves are not sinful, but they can easily become a problem. It is easy for us to get caught up in that vortex, putting riches as a priority where they have no right to stand. Once that happens, it becomes a First Commandment issue. Things that are neutral can easily become a false god if their place as servant is not kept in check. We need to constantly be on our guard, as Satan uses whatever he can to wrest God from being first place in our lives.
So how do we combat this nasty temptation? Verse 12: “Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.” Listen and take to heart the instruction of God’s Word. Fill your mind with the pure knowledge that He alone can give. Immerse yourself in Holy Scripture on a daily basis. Be eager to enter God’s House on Sunday. Fill yourself with these good things, and there will not be room for riches or any other false god to enter.