I. Prayer to enter the Lord’s presence:
Be still for a moment. “Lord, I give the day that is now past to you. It is yours. I give the day that is to come to you; help me to see where you are working and to join you there. Speak to me during these moments. I commit them and myself to you.”
II. Prayer of Confession:
“Lord, you are faithful to forgive me and cleanse me of my sin when I confess it to you. I confess my sin(s) of ______________. Thank you for forgiveness.” (1 John 1:9)
III. Prayer of Thanksgiving:
Choose to be thankful, speak out loud of what God has done.
“Thank you, Father, for _________________. Fill my heart and my mouth with gratitude throughout this day.”
IV. Scripture Reflection
Read: Proverbs Chapter 23
1 When you sit to dine with a ruler,
note well what is before you,
2 and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to gluttony.
3 Do not crave his delicacies,
for that food is deceptive.
Reflection: It’s easy to be wowed by someone of influence and power. Imagine getting a call from the President, a famous entertainer, or someone in a position of power, how would you respond? I think if we’re honest, we’d have to admit it would be pretty easy for us to get caught up in the idea of being noticed by them. There may even be a sense of self-importance that comes over us. Honestly, it would be a big deal, and it could be easy for us to be enamored with all the prestige, so it would behoove us to think through how we should act and respond. So let’s go back to the question, how would you respond? In all the excitement, would you just throw caution to the wind, indulge yourself, and live it up? Sadly, I think many would take this approach, they’d decide to eat it up because they’re running with the Big Dogs. Come on, you only go around once! Right? But this approach would be a mistake.
You see, this proverb is a warning for us to be self-controlled, to be humble and restrained, and actually use the dinner as an opportunity to manifest the type of self-control that demonstrates wisdom.
How might we do this? First things first: don’t lose your wit! Don’t allow yourself to leave the path of wisdom. Doing so will set yourself up for an attack from the enemy. Continuing to walk in wisdom’s path would lead us to question who it is before us and why we’re there. Wisdom helps us to maintain a proper perspective. In this proverb, rulers weren’t in the habit of just inviting anyone, there was always a reason. The same is true today. So, it would be good for us to understand why we’re there.
The second thing is not to let go of your appetite. Again, keep your wits about you. Remember that we are fallen and sinful people. Exercising restraint would be wise. The writer uses some strong language—hyperbole—to drive his point home when he says to put a knife to your throat. He understands the damage an unrestrained appetite can do to us.
The third thing we should do when allowed to dine with rulers is not get caught up in all the delicacies. I like to think of this as not only food but their riches as well! All of this can work at our appetites. A right perspective helps us to hold those appetites in their proper place, it allows us to enjoy the delicacies with wisdom guiding our mind and behavior. Wisdom keeps us from giving ourselves over to a pursuit of such a lifestyle.
There is only one we should be enamored with—Christ Jesus—the wisdom of God. No matter where life takes you, even if it’s at the table of rulers, determine to stick to the path of wisdom.
V. Prayer for others:
Pray specifically for the concerns of your life and the lives of others.
VI. Prayer of commitment:
“Lord God, I commit to love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength and with all my mind and to love my neighbor as myself. Empower me today to love you and others with everything that I am.” (Luke 10:27)
This Week’s Scripture Memory:
Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech: “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?