Category Archives: food

Peace and Strife

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife. -Proverbs 17:1 KJV

The last time I wrote on this verse, I talked about the families of close friends of ours who had lived with my wife and me.

Once again, I am going to talk about a friend who had lived with us.

This (grown and middle aged) friend had a girlfriend with grown kids of her own. Naturally, he was over at her house regularly. Both of them are devout Christians and attend church regularly.

However, her children pursue very worldly lifestyles, and when living at home were quite selfish, lazy, and confrontational when their wants and needs were not met to their expectations.

Our friend began telling us that he almost hated going over there. Rather, he liked coming into our home, because there was an air of peace that he did not feel when her kids were around.

We did not always have the greatest food, but he could sit in peace. We set high expectations with grace, but still with firmness.

Which home describes yours? Is your household one the promotes peace or one full of strife? Do you tolerate worldliness in your home or combat it with biblical teachings?

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Fast(ing) Food

The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want. -Proverbs 13:25 KJV

Teenage boys can certainly seem wicked with the way they treat each other and can seem selfish. The proof, based on this verse, would seem to be that their bellies are always wanting more food!

Obviously, this is not what this passage is about.

Recently, a new round of studies was released again confirming the benefits of intermittent fasting. And what does the Bible teach? Fasting, as a way to draw nearer to God and seek His direction, is expected of the faithful.

Those who regularly fast tend to appreciate food more appropriately. They typically eat healthier, because coming out of a fast properly matters. And when it is known food will not be consumed for a time, they want good food in them before and after to remain healthy.

They may also be more appreciative of the food they receive.

But there is purpose.

They tend to be seeking God, even when eating.

But wicked people may not only think fasting is stupid but mock those who do. Or they think those who fast are either judgmental or legalistic.

And, instead, their stomachs become their gods. (Just look at the number of restaurants, eating fads, and TV shows about food in our Western culture.)


Appreciate What You Have

The following are three different translations of the same verse:

The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious. – Proverbs 12:27 KJV

A lazy hunter doesn’t roast his game, but to a diligent person, his wealth is precious. – Proverbs 12:27 CSB

Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find. – Proverbs 12:27 NLT

However you look at it, according to this verse there are two types of people in this world: those who don’t care about what they have and those who do.

The slothful or lazy hunter – lazy people in general – are so often the most blessed people in the world. I mean, seriously, isn’t it the case where so often they have more than they need, more than enough to make something of themselves, yet let it all rot?

People today are so far removed from those of “the greatest generation” that they have no idea how good they actually have it. The poorest people in America are richer than many of the wealthy in other countries, and what they can waste on a daily basis is proof positive.

But to the diligent person…the person who works hard…the person who doesn’t expect a handout, but understands the value of persistence…the one who knows that tomorrow’s hunt might not go as well…the one who is grateful for what he has…what he has is precious, because he appreciates what it took to possess it.

Remember that “the LORD your God gives you the power to gain wealth” (Deut. 8:18), and whatever you collect in the hunting trip of life is ultimately a reflection of the mercy of God. Don’t take it for granted, and for heaven’s sake don’t waste it.


Sustaining the Righteous

The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked. -Proverbs 10:3, KJV

Several other translations write this verse to say that God will not let His people go hungry, but He denies the cravings and desires of the wicked.

We can see this as the same kind of promise Jesus gave:

“Look at the birds, whom God feeds. Look at the flowers, whom God clothes better than Solomon in his great clothes. How much more does the Father want to take care of you?” (Matthew 6:25-34)

My wife and I have been through much in our relatively short nine years of marriage, times when there was not enough money in our bank account to pay all the bills, let alone to buy basic necessities. But God took care of us during those times.

However, Jesus started this section of scripture by saying, “Isn’t life more than food and clothing?” (Matthew 6:25)

What, then does God’s Word promise us, if we cannot trust that we will always have enough food to feel full?

In John 4, Jesus was talking to His disciples, immediately after the Samaritan woman by the well left Him, when He said, “I have food you do not know about … to do the will of the one who sent me.” (vv. 32-34)

Back in Matthew 6, He says to seek first the Kingdom of God, and everything else will be given to you (v. 33).

Therefore, the KJV certainly says it best in today’s verse, for it is implied that God takes care of His people, but the deeper and more obvious (based on the plain reading) meaning is this:

God fulfils the spiritual needs of His people, saving and nourishing their souls, but He ultimately removes the wicked, casting them into Hell.


Give Them Wine

Proverbs 31:6-7

“Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”

Debate Addressed 

Chris Jordan did an excellent job of dealing with 31:4 and 5. With wisdom and tact, he expressed both sides of the alcohol debate, ultimately showing that “under the new covenant of grace, all things may be lawful for us, but not all things are beneficial.”

My Baptist upbringing was one that left little room for debate on this subject. It was only after a lengthy (before computers) study of the word “wine” as used in the Bible did I begin to realize that there may be more to the debate than a simple black-and-white, drink-or-not-drink argument. Even king Lemuel’s mother understood there were times when alcohol could be useful (and not just in cough syrup).

The Perishing

Just today, not more than a few hours before writing this, I stood beside the hospital bed of a man in pain, a man dying. Cancer had taken over his body, his breathing and heart rate were rapid, and his mouth was dry. The family was standing around crying as they waited for the inevitable.

As I stood beside him, a nurse came in with a sponge on a little stick and placed it in some ice water, then put it in the man’s mouth. At that moment one family member said, “What he really wants is a milkshake.” Then the man’s sister said, “He should get whatever he wants.” Had he wanted a shot of Jack Daniels, they should have given it to him! He will be dead long before you, the reader, read this.

If alcohol was a sin (not just the consumption of it), then it would have been wrong for Lemuel’s mother to suggest giving strong drink to him that is “perishing.” But the king’s wise mother understood that when a man is at the end of his life or even the ends of his ropes, something that will ease his pain, or lift his spirit, is perfectly appropriate in moderation. But is to be used as a temporary remedy, one that can help one deal with his situation, not completely hide from it.

A Giving King

But there is even a deeper message in all this. What kind of king keeps hoards his wealth when his subjects are suffering? What kind of leader draws comfort from his cellars, while the poor search in vain for relief from their heavy hearts?

“Look at all you have,” Lemuel’s mother might say. “You have more than you need, and you don’t even need what you have. Therefore, open up your wine cellar; give to those who are perishing; lift the spirits of those who are discouraged; and lead your kingdom with clarity and compassion.”

Wouldn’t it be great if more kings, queens, presidents, and politicians would think less about what makes them happy, less about their own ambitions, and more about the needs of others? Most are drunk with the wine of power, forgetting the law and perverting judgment, while the powerless suffer.


The King’s Beverage

Proverbs 31:4-7

“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:  Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.  Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”

Teetotaler?

As a life-long Baptist, I know that I am treading on thin ice when I tackle this passage. There are many within my denomination who are what we call “teetotalers,” which is a term for those who will never touch a drop of beverage alcohol. And because of this, if I say anything positive about alcohol I am likely to be censured.

On the other hand, there are whole denominations within the Christian faith that have no problem with drinking beer, wine, or whatever suits their fancy, even purchasing wineries with tithes and offerings. For the record, I don’t approve of going that far.

However, I do feel that there is more to the subject of drinking alcohol than totally abstaining or totally imbibing. Wisdom is the key. And that is why, as we look at the verses above, we can see that king Lemuel’s mother was evidently not a proponent of “teetotalism” (total abstinence), but rather a developer of wisdom in a son who was destined to lead.

Not for Kings

There are several things this godly mother warns her son about in the first part of this chapter, but much of her focus is on the use of alcohol. Why is that? Could it be that alcohol is a dangerous, mind altering, inhibition-destroying drug? Could it be that even though it may have its uses, a leader worth his salt is wise enough to avoid it?

Plenty of men and women from all walks of life have been able to drink alcohol with little or no adverse consequences. However, the gutters of history are strewn with the carcasses of leaders who drank away their kingdoms. The broken hearts and ruined lives caused by drunkeness are innumerable.

I can envision a young prince Lemuel, his mother’s hand on his shoulder, as they walked by the equivalent of a modern bar. As they peeked in on the raucous behavior brought about by the effects of wine and strong drink, she may have whispered in his ear the words he later penned: “It’s not for kings, my dear Lemuel, it’s not for kings; nor even when you’re just a prince.”

Proper Place

Even though a king, a man whose decisions carry so much weight, should avoid strong drink, king Lemuel’s mother, and thereby king Lemuel himself, knew that there was a time and place for it. You see, wine has the dangerous ability to make one “forget law” and “pervert judgment,” but it also has the ability to lift a heavy heart, to numb the pain.

Warnings against wine are plenty, but king David declares that God creates the “wine that maketh glad the heart of man” (Psa. 104:15). The key is to not only know its proper place, but the proper place of the one who must choose.

Wisdom should be the king’s beverage of choice.


Anyone for Dessert?

Proverbs 27:7 

The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
A person who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry. (NLT)

Really Hungry?

The longest I have been without food was during a hospital stay for abdominal surgery. I wasn’t allowed to eat before going into hospital, and it was about eight days after the surgery before I was allowed to look at food again. I don’t remember that I was particularly hungry at this time, as I had been connected continually to a drip since the surgery and received sustenance in this way. The first meal I was given was soup followed by ice cream. I often tell people that the ice cream was warmer than the soup! Did I enjoy this meal? No! I guess if I had been really hungry then anything would have tasted good, even bitter food or warm ice cream.

Room for Dessert

raspberry profsDespite the hospital experience I don’t think I have ever experienced true hunger. I am fortunate to live in a part of the world where there is more than enough to eat. As I get older I find I eat less, and while often tempted, I am usually unable to find space for dessert after a good meal in a restaurant. This is difficult as I have a sweet tooth and I love dessert.

Hungry for What?

The challenge that this proverb throws at me is not really one of absence of food or a desire for dessert, but a question about my hunger for God. Is it possible to feed on God so much that it is impossible to consume any more of Him? Is it possible to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that I can barely stand? I think back to an incident in the Temple when two people had their hunger for God satisfied. Simeon was described as a righteous and devout man who was eagerly waiting for the Messiah (Luke 2:24). When he set eyes on Jesus he took the Child in his arms and praised God.

Anna, a prophet was standing nearby earwigging. A widow of eighty-four, Anna had remained in the Temple for many years worshipping God day and night with fasting and prayer. Her delight in Jesus was so great that she couldn’t stop talking about Him to everyone she encountered. Anna fasted but her hunger was not for food but for more of God. Simeon had waited his whole life for his hunger for Jesus to be satisfied, having been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until He had set eyes on the Messiah. While we don’t have to wait for Jesus, the irony is that Jesus spends most of His time waiting for us to recognize our hunger and come to feed from Him. As I write these words I am overwhelmed by a sudden and urgent hunger that food will never satisfy. I need more of Jesus.