The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Proverbs 23

Pro 23:2

Advice for fellowship meal: If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home (1Co 11:34).

Pro 23:4

DO NOT WEAR YOURSELF OUT TO GET RICH; HAVE THE WISDOM TO SHOW RESTRAINT: "I once heard the saying that no-one ever said on their deathbed that they wished they had spent more time at the office. That is very true. From the deathbed our whole perspective on life comes into focus. Our focus will no longer be on how much money we have in the bank, but on how we have used what we have spent. Or maybe we will wish we had used our time more profitably instead of spending it at the office earning more money. But the proverb has a stronger meaning than just spending time to get money. It tells us not to wear ourselves out to get rich. If getting rich wears us out, then any benefit we would get from our riches will be of no use to us at all. Riches do wear many people out. They work hard, put in long stressful hours and on top of that have the worry of protecting all the 'assets' they have gained. They need insurance, alarms and other protections, and due to the worry involved can die an early death. Riches are not worth the bother. You cannot serve God and riches. So choose God!" (RP).

Pro 23:7

WHO IS ALWAYS THINKING: "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" (KJV). "What we are doing externally is secondary, though important. What we are doing internally is vital: what we are thinking, and what we are thinking about, and what we are thinking about it. What are our purposes and motives for what we do and the decisions we make? Are we just seeking personal self-satisfaction and pleasure or do we want to be a useful part of eternity: something bigger than ourselves?" (GVG).

"These inmost thoughts are necessarily the most effective, for they are with us all the time and they are always genuine. Even the most loquacious are sometimes silent and the most honest sometimes conceal thoughts by words. But the inmost thoughts of the heart are with us in all our waking hours, and possibly even during sleep, and those inmost thoughts are subject to no prudential restraint except the laws we impose upon them for our own good. The momentary act of self-control may have little or no effect upon character, but the continuous and diligent control of deed, word, and thought may have a great effect and indeed mark the difference between death and life" (PrPr 140).

You cannot change your thoughts without changing your life in the process -- either for good or for bad. Immerse yourself in the right thoughts and you will become the person you long to be, just as surely as the planting of an acorn yields an oak tree and not a pine tree.

Pro 23:9

Not everyone can accept the Truth: Mat 10:14; 7:6.

Pro 23:10

See Pro 22:28; Jer 6:16.

Pro 23:12

"Make the total dedication and devotion of your life your sincere desire and goal. Realize clearly that this is the only possible way to either present joy or future life. Do not be discouraged by repeated failures. Just keep doggedly at it, with determination and prayer. Try to make each day a new accomplishment of some kind, and not just a piece of colorless passed time. Try to make each day a little better than the one before. Think big and eternally. Make yourself face and realize the foolishness and emptiness and uselessness of present things. Think! Keep thinking! Keep examining yourself, and what you are doing, and why. The flesh is your enemy, a very deceptive and hypocritical one: promising everything and delivering nothing. Don't mistake it for a friend. There is no real joy and satisfaction except in spiritual things. To realize this in youth is a tremendous blessing. Most realize it too late -- or never at all. Thank God for the light -- and walk in it" (GVG).

Pro 23:13

See Lesson, Prov, parents and children.

Pro 23:23

BUY THE TRUTH: But not with money (Isa 55:1-3).

HAW told the story of meeting a JW, who had for sale a pile of his booklets, with the sign "Buy the truth". HAW approached him, and asked him if he knew what the rest of the verse. He did not!

Pro 23:29

Vv 29-35: See Lesson, Drinking.

Pro 23:31

Wine when it is rich, appetizing, as it pours into the cup.

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