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Life’s Deadly Follies: Gluttony, Proverbs 23.19-21.

Esterhazy Baptist Church.  September 24, 2023.


Call to Worship: Thank God because he’s good, because his love never quits. This is the very day God acted— let’s celebrate and be festive! Thank God—he’s so good. His love never quits!” Psalm 118:1, 24, 29 (The Message)

      The book of Proverbs is not just a collection of snappy sayings to repeat to your children, it offers us God’s wisdom for navigating life.  Because of this, it deals with subjects which may make us uncomfortable, yet they are things we will have to make decisions about.  That is the purpose of Proverbs, careful self-evaluation. So, let’s examine our own hearts for any sinful tendencies, which we must then choose to reject. 

      In Proverbs 23:19-21, the wise father warns his children away from joining with people whose behaviour will lead to poverty: Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path: Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” Proverbs 23:19–21 (NIV).  The father warns his son away from those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat: drunkards and gluttons.  While the church has been vocal about the danger of allowing alcohol to control you, gluttony tends not to be something to be concerned about.  Yet, the Bible is clear, allowing anything, to take priority in your life over God is wrong, even if it is just food.

      As men, many of us have or have had the belief that a missed or delayed meal could be fatal!  As a result, we can get very particular about food; its quality, quantity and variety.  Also, most of us have eaten when we weren’t really hungry, for various “therapeutic” reasons – boredom, companionship, loneliness, happiness or sorrow.  Food can be a great friend or a controlling taskmaster.

      While the abundance of the good, safe food we have in Canada is a blessing, the super-sizing of current generations suggests something more than alleviating our hunger is at work in our love of food.  small girl who was showing a bathroom scale to a playmate was heard to say: “All I know is you stand on it and it makes you angry.…”[1] Let’s be clear, while obesity is a major health concern in North America, gluttony does not equal obesity.  There are many medical reasons for obesity.  Pastor John Piper defines gluttony as “a craving for food or drink that masters you.”  That’s the key, who’s your master?  You can tell by where you turn for consolation or by what occupies your thoughts, passions and time, “have you heard about that new restaurant? They say the food is to die for! I can’t wait to try it.”  Philippians 3:19 warns of those whose god is their stomach.  These people are living to eat, rather than eating to live. Here’s an extreme example from history of being mastered by food:

      Thomas Costain’s history, THE THREE EDWARDS, described the life of Raynald the third, a fourteenth-century duke in what is now Belgium who was grossly overweight. After a violent quarrel, Raynald’s younger brother Edward led a successful revolt against him. Edward captured Raynald but did not kill him. Instead, he built a room around Raynald in the Nieuwkerk castle and promised him he could regain his title and property as soon as he was able to leave the room.

      This would not have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of near-normal size, and none was locked or barred. The problem was Raynald’s size. To regain his freedom, he needed to lose weight. But Edward knew his older brother, and each day he sent a variety of delicious foods. Instead of dieting his way out of prison, Raynald grew fatter.

      When Duke Edward was accused of cruelty, his answer was: “My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave when he so wills.” Raynald stayed in that room for ten years and wasn’t released until after Edward died in battle. By then his health was so ruined he died within a year. . . a prisoner of his own appetite.[2]  Imagine not being willing to control your appetite for your own good.  The Bible has examples of this as well.

      In Genesis 25:29-34 Esau felt that filling his empty stomach was more important than keeping his birthright, so he sold it to his twin brother Jacob for a pot of stew.  Esau is an example of living for the moment and not thinking about the future consequences of your current choice: Hebrews 12:16 says: “Make sure that no one… is as concerned about earthly things as Esau was. He sold his rights as the firstborn son for a single meal.” (GW).  

      In Numbers 11:4-6, God’s miraculous provision of heavenly manna to sustain the Israelites wasn’t sufficient.  They began regretting they left Egypt (Num. 11:20), as they longingly remembered the fish and vegetables they had to eat there.  Need I remind you they weren’t holidaying in this Egypt they longed to return to – they were slaves there!  Talk about allowing one’s stomach to become one’s god!

      In Proverbs 23:1-3 the father tells his children practice moderation and self-restrain, using memorable language to help them remember: When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.” Proverbs 23:1–3 (NIV).  It may be that this is a test of your character.  Proverbs 25:28 likens a lack of self-discipline to a city with no protective walls: “Like a city that is broken into and without walls So is a person who has no self-control over his spirit.” (NASB 2020).  When you have the use of the company expense account, can you show restrain or do you feel entitled to indulge yourself with it? This is the test in Pr. 23:1-3.

      Gluttony, at its root, is the sin of selfishness and self-worship – pleasing myself is all that matters, so I don’t care about the needs of others.  In Amos 6:1, 4-7 the prophet spoke God’s judgement on those with this sinful self-entitled attitude: 1 What sorrow awaits you who lounge in luxury in Jerusalem, and you who feel secure in Samaria! You are famous and popular in Israel, and people go to you for help.” “4 How terrible for you who sprawl on ivory beds and lounge on your couches, eating the meat of tender lambs from the flock and of choice calves fattened in the stall. 5 You sing trivial songs to the sound of the harp and fancy yourselves to be great musicians like David. 6 You drink wine by the bowlful and perfume yourselves with fragrant lotions. You care nothing about the ruin of your nation. 7 Therefore, you will be the first to be led away as captives. Suddenly, all your parties will end.” (NLT)

      Gluttony breeds the allusion of self-sufficiency and independence from God: Luke 12:16–21 16 Then he (Jesus) told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ 21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”” (NLT)

      Jesus continues in Luke 12:22-34 to tell his followers to make their priority seeking God’s Kingdom, because God is worthy of their trust, and knowing their needs will provide: Luke 12:29–31 “29 And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” (NLT).  Food is not bad, God provides it for our life and wellbeing, yet we need enjoy it with healthy moderation and not let our cravings dictate our behaviour.

      How can I conquer my gluttonous tendencies to serve my wants and desires rather than seeking after Jesus and his kingdom?

1) Confess it as a sin: 5 I made my sins known to you, and I did not cover up my guilt.  I decided to confess them to you, O Lord.  Then you forgave all my sins.” Psalm 32:5 (GW). 2) Go to Jesus to satisfy your longings, he is the living water and the bread from heaven. 

3) Submit to the directing of the Holy Spirit of God rather than your own spirit.  Galatians 5:22–23 tell us: 22 …the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control…” (NLT). Self-control will result as you submit to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. 

      Battle the tendency towards gluttony and self absorption by responding to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to share with others.  “The generous man enriches himself by giving, the miser hoards himself poor.” As God’s stewards, we are managers of his estate.  Be at peace, he is providing for us.  Acknowledge him as your provider and Lord, and allow him to bless others through your giving, looking for opportunities to be a blessing with your time, resources and presence.

Hymn: #371 “Have thine own way Lord” (vv. 1,3,4)

BenedictionMay the Hero of all history talk personally to you. May you find in Jesus the answer to the deepest needs of your life. May you remember your highest privilege: you are known by God and cherished by heaven. – Max Lucado

[1] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 332). Bible Communications, Inc.

[2] Galaxie Software. (2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.

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Proverbs 10.6-14, 18-21, 31-32.  Wisdom with words.

Sept. 17, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.


Call to worship: “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.” Psalm 89:1–2 (NIV)

     The book of Proverbs covers many subjects: listening to and following wisdom’s direction, work, riches, and sexual promiscuity.  It may surprise you to learn that the book of Proverbs has more to say about our words than anything else it addresses in our lives” [1] The book of Proverbs recognizes the importance of our words by addressing this subject approximately 150 times in 915 verses (one-sixth of the book).[2] 

      Proverbs 10:6–14, 18-21, 31-32 (NLT). “6 The godly are showered with blessings; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions. 7 We have happy memories of the godly, but the name of a wicked person rots away. 8 The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces. 9 People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed. 10 People who wink at wrong cause trouble, but a bold reproof promotes peace. 11 The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions. 12 Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses. 13 Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding, but those lacking sense will be beaten with a rod. 14 Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.” 18 Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool. 19 Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. 20 The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless. 21 The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.” 31 The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice, but the tongue that deceives will be cut off. 32 The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.

     1 Corinthians calls us to glorify God with your body, the wisdom of Proverbs tells us that begins by controlling your tongue!  Proverbs 18:21 in The Message Translation says: “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”  Aldous Huxley said: “Thanks to words, we have been able to rise above the brutes, and thanks to words we have often sunk to the level of the demons.”[3]  As we look applying wisdom to our words, it is not surprising that sometimes Proverbs tells us to:

1.  Shut Up

     It is said that a young man came to the great philosopher Socrates in order to be instructed in oratory.  The moment the young man was introduced he began to talk, and there was an incessant stream for some time.  When Socrates finally got a chance to speak, he told the young man, “I have decided to charge you a double fee.”  “A double fee, why is that?”  The old sage replied, “I will have to teach you two lessons.  First, how to hold your tongue, and then how to use it.” [4] 

     Proverbs 10:19 in the NIV says: “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” The NLT says: “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.”  Knowing when to speak and when instead to keep silent is a gift of wisdom, for both the speaker than those around them! My father used to tell me, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Proverbs 11:12 “Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.” (NIV)

Proverbs 17:27 “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.” (NIV)

Proverbs 19:11 “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” (NIV) 

     Proverbs warnings about words include dwelling on others failures (17.9), spreading lies (10.18) and gossiping (26.20-22).  Think before you speak, because, as they say: “a word and a stone cannot be called back.”[5] Yes, words can be hurtful, however, words can also be helpful.  Proverbs tells us to use our words to:

2.  Build Up

Proverbs 10:11. “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.” (NIV).  Proverbs 13:14. “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.” (NIV)  

Hebrews 10:25 tells us to encourage one another. William Barclay in his commentary on Hebrews says about encouragement: One of the highest of human duties is that of encouragement… It is easy to laugh at men’s ideals, to pour cold water on their enthusiasm, to discourage them. The world is full of discouragers; we have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.[6] 

     Generally speaking, how do you use your words?  Are you an encourager or discourager to those around you?  Which category would King Solomon put you in based on your words – among the wise or the fools?  Do you need to make some changes on how you approach life and use your words?  Only the Lord God can truly help you with that.  Ephesians 4:21-24 & 29 says: 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 (NLT). Who around you are in need of encouragement?  Everyone will benefit from someone appreciating a positive quality within them, especially those facing life’s challenges.

     There’s a time to shut up, hold your tongue and not let that word of sarcasm or criticism out of your mouth.  There is also a time to use your words to build up, to come along side and encourage someone who feels discouraged.  Finally, there is a time when, if you see something which needs to be addressed, you must:

3.  Speak Up

Proverbs 31:8–9. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (NIV)

     T.R. Glover said: Four words destroyed slavery, “For whom Christ died.[7] The Lord God has always wanted his people to speak up for the oppressed and forgotten.  In Deuteronomy 10:17-19 he reminded them: God, your God, is the God of all gods, he’s the Master of all masters, a God immense and powerful and awesome. He doesn’t play favorites, takes no bribes, makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly, takes loving care of foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing. You must treat foreigners with the same loving care— remember, you were once foreigners in Egypt.” (The Message).

     We are to speak up and share our faith when we are prompted by the Lord.  Dr. Theodore Ferris tells of a young Presbyterian minister who was in charge of a large city church. The most active and generous member was a woman whose wealthy husband never attended. With the passing of the years, the young cleric felt impelled to do something about it. He finally made an appointment with the industrialist. The businessman seemed even more austere as he sat quietly behind his great desk. Awkwardly, the young man came to the point of his visit. In very simple language he set forth the Christian proposition and then added, “I think you ought to do something about this one way or another.” The man did not answer. Carefully the minister reiterated his conversation. Again there was silence. A third time the preacher rephrased the claims of Christ. Finally, the well-to-do man reached for his memo pad and scribbled this note: “I am so deeply moved that I cannot speak.” The minister was the first person in years to challenge this giant to confess Christ. He became a member of his church and was an effective Christian.[8]

     An old saint wisely observed of himself and his peers: “Many of us are like a pair of old shoes—all worn out but the tongue!” —B. G. Bosh.[9]  Talking is something we can do so easily, sometimes without thinking and without care! There is a verse in a children’s song which we all need to remember: “O be careful little lips what you say.”  We all need God’s wisdom to guide our words, regardless of our age.  Proverbs 15:3 says: “God doesn’t miss a thing; he’s alert to good and evil alike.” (The Message).  Jesus said that the true condition of our hearts is seen by what comes out of our mouths: Matthew 15:11 & 18-19 says: “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” “…the words you speak come from the heart; that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.” (NLT).  

     Wisdom with words begins by paying attention to what’s coming out of your mouth & the impact those words are having. I’m careful of the words I say to keep them soft and sweet. I never know from day to day which ones I’ll have to eat.[10] Proverbs 26:20 says “Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.” (NLT).  

     We are each responsible for our words, don’t blame others for upsetting you or “starting it.”  Having wisdom with our words comes as we submit to Jesus as Lord, ask the Holy Spirit of God to guard and guide out lips, and obey when he corrects us: “O be careful little lips what you say.”  Proverbs 10:31a & 32a The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice…The lips of the godly speak helpful words…” (NLT). Eph. 4:29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (NLT).

Hymn: “Let it be said of us.”

Benediction: “May the words from my mouth and the thoughts from my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my defender.” Psalm 19:14 (GW).


[1] Ortlund, R. C., Jr. (2012). Preaching the Word: Proverbs—Wisdom that Works (R. K. Hughes, Ed.; p. 132). Crossway.

[2] Newheiser, J. (2008). Opening up Proverbs (p. 136). Day One Publications.

[3] Huxley, Aldous, Adonis & the Alphabet as quoted in An encyclopedia of compelling quotations by R. Damiel Watkins, p. 783, © 2001 Hendrickson Publishers Inc.

[4] Zodhiates, Spiros, Illustrations of Bible truths, pp. 264-265.  AMG Publishers ©1995.

[5] Fuller, Thomas, Gnomolagia as quoted in An encyclopedia of compelling quotations by R. Damiel Watkins, p. 783, © 2001 Hendrickson Publishers Inc.

[6] Barclay, W., ed. (1975). The letter to the Hebrews (pp. 122–123). The Westminster John Knox Press.

[7] Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 89). Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[8] Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 87). Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[9] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 1424). Bible Communications, Inc.

[10] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 1425). Bible Communications, Inc.

Sermon podcasts:
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Sermon podcasts:
Esterhazy Baptist Church Podbean

Dial-A-Sermon – 1-306-985-9001
 (Note: this is a Regina number and long distance charges may apply)


Proverbs 5.  Warning against adultery.

Sept. 10, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.

Call to Worship: Psalm 111:1–2, 9-10. “Praise the Lord! I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them.” “He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has! Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!” (NLT)

      One of the benefits of preaching through a book of the Bible, is you know what text you will be preaching on next week, as you take things in sequence.  An addition benefit is that the Bible deals with topics we might tend to avoid.  Since last Sunday was the Labour Day long week, it made sense to skip ahead to chapter 6 and talk about the hard-working ant.  However, since all of chapter 5 & 7 and half of chapter 6 talk about sex and warns against adultery, wisdom is clearly showing us not to avoid this topic, rather we are to stop, listen and learn.

      Today, as we look at Proverbs chapter 5, I’m going to use an outline from Raymond Ortlund’s Preaching the Word Commentary, Proverbs, wisdom that works.  As we’ve seen, much of Proverbs uses the format of a father sharing his wisdom with his children.  The problem for us as sinful, fallen humanity, is that we have rejected God’s guidance and authority over us.  We want to “do it my way” and have cast off the fatherhood of God[1] and his right to speak into our lives.  Today, hear your loving heavenly Father drawing near for a heart-to-heart conversation with you.
I.        5:1-6 – It’s time we had a talk.
My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.” Proverbs 5:1–6 (NIV).

      In this introductory section, the father calls for our attention as he begins to deal with the reality that we WILL face sexual temptation, it is all around us.  Pastor Russell Moore in his book Tempted and tried: Temptation and the triumph of Christ, shared this experience:

       So there I was, standing in a hotel lobby with a strange woman, a throbbing heartbeat, and a guilty conscience. In most ways it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looks typed out on this page. But in lots of ways, it was even worse. I didn’t really do anything wrong—and certainly didn’t set out to do anything wrong. But that was just the problem. Before I knew it, I was scared at how mindless I was about the whole scenario.
       I’d gotten here kind of accidentally. My family and I were driving—through the state of Tennessee, when one of those sudden rainstorms had emerged… Even though we hadn’t gotten nearly as far as I’d hoped, the rain just wasn’t letting up. I pulled the minivan off the highway and left my family in the vehicle while I ran in to check for a vacancy in a chain hotel whose sign we’d seen through the storm.
       I waited in line at the front desk. I was exhausted and irritated, mostly because of the rain and the almost Hindu-like mantra coming from the backseat—“Dad, he’s hitting me”—repeated over and over and over again. My thoughts were clicking around as I waited to check us in, moving from sermon ideas to budget numbers to parenting strategies.
       The clerk, a young woman, gave an artificial pout and then a wink and a half smile, indicating she could tell it’d been a trying day. “Well, hey there,” she said, and as soon as she said it, I noticed she reminded me of a friend I’d known back in college. She had dimples in her cheeks, and she tossed her hair back, holding it there in her hand for a minute as she checked on whether two adjoining rooms, one for my wife and me and one for the kids, would be available that night. When she called me by my first name, I felt a little jump in my stomach… I started to ask, “How do you know my name?” before I realized she was reading my credit card.
       As this woman waited for the credit card machine to rattle out my receipt and punch out my automated key, we talked about the rain outside and about how traffic was bad because of the ball game at the high school stadium down the road. She laughed at my little quips. She teased me about my soaking wet hair from running through the stormy weather. I felt like I was in college again, or maybe even in high school. I didn’t have to judge between disputes over who had whose toys or explain how predestination and free will work together in the Bible. I didn’t have to pay a mortgage or tell a faculty member he couldn’t have a raise. And I liked it.
       Just then I heard a word I never thought would terrify me, but it did, just that once. I heard “Daddy.” And then I heard it again. “Daddy!” my three-year-old son Samuel cried out as he rode through the lobby in the luggage cart being pushed by his two older brothers. “Look at me!”  I did look at him and wiped a bead of sweat from my forehead as I realized I had completely forgotten that my family was waiting outside for me in the van. As I signed the credit card form, I noticed that my voice and body language toward the clerk had suddenly become a good bit more businesslike.
       I felt as if I’d been caught doing something wrong, and it rattled me. As I pushed the luggage cart onto the elevator (“Benjamin, don’t swing from that”; “No, Timothy, you can’t have that 40-ounce Full Throttle energy drink from the vending machine”), I mentally reassured myself that everything was okay. I hadn’t done anything; not even close. But for some reason I had paid attention to that woman, and worse, I hadn’t noticed myself paying attention to her until my kids interrupted me.
       Now on the one hand nothing happened. I hadn’t, to use the biblical language for it, “lusted in my heart” for her. I’d just engaged in a minute of conversation. I’m afraid you’ll think of me as some kind of leering, pervert like preacher when, although I don’t know all my own weaknesses, I don’t think I’m particularly vulnerable at this point… Moreover, this woman’s interest in me was nil. If she read about this, she would, I’m quite sure, not remember it. And if she did remember it, she would probably say, “You mean that little guy who looks like a cricket? Well, bless his heart.”
       But it scared me. I was scared not by what actually happened but by a glimpse into what could have happened. What if I hadn’t been on a road trip with my family, but on a business trip alone, as I often am? What if she’d been interested in me? For a moment, just a moment, I’d forgotten who I was, who I am. Husband. Pastor. Son. Christian. Daddy. I was struck by the thought, It starts like this, doesn’t it? It starts as a series of innocent departures, gradually leading to something more… It scared me to think of how something like this could so seemingly naturally happen.[2]

      Sexual temptation may come in a face-to-face meeting, or on the internet or in a text message; filled with flattery and sweet talk, promising to quench the empty sexual longing within you – but don’t fall for it!  The promised pleasure will be short lived, the honey covered bliss (v. 3) will end up hurting and poisoning your life (v. 4).  Remember, the wise father has seen others destroyed by this temptation, so he warns us not to succumb to it! Ray Ortlund says: “Honey is sweet. So, whatever leaves a bitter aftertaste in your mouth cannot be honey. Don’t be fooled. Don’t judge by the appearances of the moment. The lasting impact tomorrow and thereafter reveals the truth about the present moment.”[3]  Our heavenly Father wants us to wake up to the fact that we are vulnerable to sexual temptations all around us, so he offers us wisdom on how to face it.  In part two of this chapter the father says:

II.       5:7-20 – Listen: Here’s what you need to know.

A – 5:7-14.  Husbands: Keep your hands off every other woman. Wives: Keep your hands off every other man.
1)   5:7-11.  Face Reality: The results of adultery.
Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you lose your honor to others and your dignity to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich the house of another. At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent.” Proverbs 5:7–11 (NIV).
      What are we to know?  Verse 8 – keep your hands off, stay away, don’t go near!  The father warns us not to dapple, not to think we can handle a little “harmless flirting,” or sharing a bit of our heart with someone of the opposite sex other than our spouse – keep away from that!  Verses 9 & 10 describe the “bitter gall” (v. 4), that the honey of momentary passion, covered. Sin always has awful consequences, for you and others.  In today’s terms, strangers who feast on your wealth to enrich themselves, would include black mailers and divorce lawyers – don’t go there!
2)   5:12-14.  There is a way to healing: humility.
You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction!  I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors. And I was soon in serious trouble in the assembly of God’s people.”” Proverbs 5:12–14 (NIV).
      Like the prodigal son (Lk. 15:11-24), look at your life, see how far you’ve fallen, and remember you still have a father, and a home, so why stay where you are?  In humility, return home to your heavenly father, he is waiting for you, watching for you and will not humiliate you, but receive you and rejoice over you.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NIV).
B – 5:15-20.  Keep you hands on your wife/husband.
Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers.  May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?” Pr. 5:15–20 (NIV).
      Water satisfies thirst, and in these verses, water is a metaphor for sexual desire. The father is telling his son to enjoy a deep sexual relationship exclusively with his wife, enjoying it together, looking nowhere else.  The answer to dealing with sexual temptation is not suppression of the urges, or adultery.  God made us male and female and wants us to enjoy sex to the full, safely in the context of a monogamous marriage relationship between a man and a woman, and he blesses it (see vv. 18-19).  Ortlund summarizes this chapter by saying: Sex is like fire. In the fireplace it keeps us warm. Outside the fireplace it burns the house down. Proverbs 5 is saying, “Keep the fire in the marital fireplace, and stoke that fire as hot as you can.”[4] “…God’s remedy for your thirst for sex is sex, overflowing sexual joy with your wife.”[5]  Husbands and wives, we are to be there for each other, to meet each other’s need for physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy, leaving no desire to look elsewhere to have these needs met!  How are you doing in protecting your marriage?  You are God’s plan to meet your spouse’s sexual needs in a healthy and beautiful way – talk about it and stay engaged!
III.  5:21-23 – Now you must decide!
      The father has had a heart-to-heart with his children about the dangers of adultery and the way to avoid its temptation.  Now we have a choice to make, what we are going to do.  As we consider the choice before us, we are reminded of the consequences of rejecting our father’s wisdom, and that nothing we do is ever done in secret from him!  “For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.” Pr. 5:21–23 (NIV).
      What can you do?  Decide to obey your heavenly Father, he loves you immensely.  In humility return to him and submit to his leading in your life and receive his forgiveness: 1 John 1:8–9 says: If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (NLT)

Hymn: #504 “He touched me” (vv. 1-2)

Responsive Closing Prayer:

L: Eternal God, today is a day of new beginnings.

C: On the first day of the week, you began your work of creating life out of nothing.

L: On the first day of the week, you raised Jesus, and began the work of creating new life from death.

C: On the first day of the week, you sent your Holy Spirit, and began your work of creating new life in your church.

All: Help us to live today as people who have begun again – to live every day with the new life which comes to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

[3] Ortlund, R. C., Jr. (2012). Preaching the Word: Proverbs—Wisdom that Works (R. K. Hughes, Ed.; p. 90). Crossway.

[4] Ortlund, R. C., Jr. (2012). Preaching the Word: Proverbs—Wisdom that Works (R. K. Hughes, Ed.; p. 90). Crossway.

[5] Ortlund, R. C., Jr. (2012). Preaching the Word: Proverbs—Wisdom that Works (R. K. Hughes, Ed.; p. 93). Crossway.


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Wisdom at Work.  Proverbs 6:6-11.
September 3, 2023.  Esterhazy Baptist Church.
Responsive Call to WorshipPsalm 57:7–10 (CSB)
My heart is confident, God, my heart is confident. I will sing; I will sing praises.
Wake up, my soul! Wake up, harp and lyre! I will wake up the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your faithful love is as high as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches the clouds.

      Wisdom is not about how much knowledge you have stuffed in your head.  Some of the wisest people I’ve known never finished Junior High.  That wasn’t because they didn’t have the ability – some lacked the opportunity, others felt there was more important matters to attend to, like helping support their families or fleeing dangerous situations.

      Wisdom involves applying Godly knowledge, what you’ve learned and seen working, in ways that honour God and promote those things that God has commanded us to be doing.  Wisdom starts on the inside, yet becomes visible in our day-to-day decisions.

      Today being Labour Day Sunday, we are going to consider Proverb’s wisdom regarding work. “30I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. 31I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down. 32Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson: 33A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 34then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.” Proverbs 24:30–34 (NLT).  The slide from a functioning vineyard to weed covered rubble, occurred one delayed moment, day, and month after another.  Eventually it became too much trouble to bother with.  One of the traits of a wise person is that they pay attention and learn from life, especially noting the consequences of actions.  In other words, the wise learn from the experiences of others, rather than the fool who says, “yes, but that won’t happen to me!” 

      The father figure in Proverbs wants his children to learn that consistency and effort in work will bring benefits throughout their life. Yet he doesn’t expect them to just take his word for it, he calls them to observe how life works.  In Proverbs 6:6-11, he uses the little ant as an example of the value of discipline and hard work, finishing with the same ode to procrastination that we saw in Pr. 24:33-34.  “6Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! 7Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, 8they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. 9But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? 10A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 11then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.” Proverbs 6:6–11 (NLT).

      We are being called to learn common sense from the ant. Without the need of prodding from manager or boss, it understands the value of hard work by preparing for the coming winter!  The lazy person, on the other hand, lacks initiative, prioritizes comfort, procrastinates and ends up with nothing, at the very time hard work produces the greatest rewards!  It is not that the person who enjoys leisure doesn’t want a better life, they just don’t want to follow the ant’s example: “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” Pr. 13:4 (NLT).  “Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work.” Pr. 21:25 (NLT).

      Jim Newheiser in his commentary “Opening up Proverbs” says: “God disciplines sluggards by allowing them to experience the consequences of their folly with the desire that they will learn wisdom through their poverty: ‘A worker’s appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on’ (16:26). You subvert God’s purpose and ultimately hurt the sluggard by enabling his sin. The same issue is raised in the New Testament when Paul says, ‘If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either’ (2 Thes. 3:10b). Sluggards who live off the labour of others are thieves (20:4; Eph. 4:28). Old Covenant charity was given to the deserving poor who generally had to work for what they received, as in the case of Ruth, who gleaned (Ruth 2).”[1]

      The wise father of Proverbs wants his children to realize that hard work is not bad.  As you work to provide for your family you also earn respect for your efforts. Proverbs 22:29 says:Observe people who are good at their work—skilled workers are always in demand and admired;they don’t take a backseat to anyone.” (The Message). The Good News Bible translates this passage as: “Show me someone who does a good job, and I will show you someone who is better than most and worthy of the company of kings.” Proverbs 22:29 (GNB).

       A young fellow was overheard making a phone call: “Sir, could you use a hardworking, honest young man to work for you?” After a pause he said, “Oh… you’ve already got a hardworking, honest young man? Well, thanks anyway!”  The onlooker was so taken aback by the young man’s smile after he hung up, that they had to ask: “How can you be so cheery? I thought he told you they already had someone and didn’t want to hire you?”  The young fellow answered, “Well, you see, I am the hardworking young man. I was just checking up on my job!”  If you called your boss, disguised your voice, and asked about your job, what do you think would be your boss’s answer? [2]

      As important as a healthy attitude towards work is, it must not become your sole focus, you must maintain balance.  Your work must be placed under God’s lordship, “Wisdom begins with respect for the Lord,and understanding begins with knowing the Holy One.” Proverbs 9:10 (NCV). “Depend on the Lord in whatever you do,and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3 (NCV).  As you place your work under the lordship of Almighty God, see him as your true boss.  If the Apostle Paul could expect Christian slaves to adopt this mindset, then we. who are paid or volunteers must choose this attitude as well: “22Slaves, you must always obey your earthly masters. Try to please them at all times, and not just when you think they are watching. Honor the Lord and serve your masters with your whole heart. 23Do your work willingly, as though you were serving the Lord himself, and not just your earthly master. 24In fact, the Lord Christ is the one you are really serving, and you know that he will reward you.” Colossians 3:22–24 (CEV).

      Our lives, including our work, is an opportunity to glorify God through what we say and do (Mt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:12).  Today we gather to remember the extraordinary, underserved gift which our Lord Jesus gave us, in coming, not for what he could get out of life, but to give, give his life for ours!  “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” Matthew 20:28 (NIV).

Hymn: #333 “His way with thee” (vv. 1-3)

Benediction: “Death’s power to hurt is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But we thank God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.So my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Do not let anything move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your work in the Lord is never wasted.” 1 Corinthians 15:56–58 (NCV).


[1] Newheiser, J. (2008). Opening up Proverbs (p. 111). Day One Publications.

[2] Swindoll, Charles R. Active Spirituality. A non-devotional guide, pp. 108-109.Word Publishing ©1994.