5 October 2021

Proverbs 23:6-8

Do not eat the food of a begrudging host,
    do not crave his delicacies;
for he is the kind of person
    who is always thinking about the cost.[b]
“Eat and drink,” he says to you,
    but his heart is not with you.
You will vomit up the little you have eaten
    and will have wasted your compliments.

We come back to the table of verses 1-3. The host, be he a ruler or not, is also observing you. He gives the impression of being generous but is not. He is calculating how much you are costing him. He says to eat and drink, but he is taking note of how much you actually are. He is seething that you are taking him at his word. He thinks you should know better, or else he is risking (in his mind) that you are worth the investment. For that is how he perceives you – a risk investment. He is hoping that his “generosity” will pay off and that he will get back from you more than he has had to put out.

Perhaps you will prove to be a good investment and end up doing favors that you find you cannot get out of. Perhaps you will be a poor investment, thinking that mere expressions of appreciation are enough, only to find you are no longer welcome in his house.

How do you know whether a man is truly generous or inwardly stingy and calculating? You have to do your own share of observation. You cannot let displays of wealth blind you. Observe the man. Observe the way he is with his servants, with his family. Are those who are constantly around him happy and at ease? Are they generous? A truly generous man will rub off on those around him, just as a truly stingy man will do so.

Be discerning. This is what all the proverbs are about. Look beyond yourself and pay attention to what is going on around you. Be a good listener and a good observer. Don’t let delicacies cloud your seeing and impair your hearing. Don’t let sensual pleasures befuddle your discernment. See through to the giver. Observe him. From him judge whether the delicacies are to be truly enjoyed or turned away. It is the giver, not the delicacies who makes the feast.


Psalm 77

I cried out to God for help;
    I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
    at night I stretched out untiring hands,
    and I would not be comforted.

I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
    I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.[b]
You kept my eyes from closing;
    I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
    the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
    My heart meditated and my spirit asked:

“Will the Lord reject forever?
    Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
    Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
    Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”

10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
    the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

13 Your ways, God, are holy.
    What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
    you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

16 The waters saw you, God,
    the waters saw you and writhed;
    the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
    the heavens resounded with thunder;
    your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
    your lightning lit up the world;
    the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
    your way through the mighty waters,
    though your footprints were not seen.

20 You led your people like a flock
    by the hand of Moses and Aaron.