Hunger for the Right Path

What is it that you hunger for?

Proverbs 23:19-21

19 Listen, my son, and be wise,
    and set your heart on the right path:
20 Do not join those who drink too much wine
    or gorge themselves on meat,
21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
    and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

At this very moment, what is it that you hunger for?

Depending on the time of day you’re reading this, it might be some breakfast to start the day. Perhaps you’re waiting for a coffee to arrive to your table, or perhaps you’re looking forward to a beer or a glass of wine to finish a hard day.

Food and drink are wonderful gifts from God – and we’re designed with noses, taste buds and hunger to make us salivate for the next meal or beverage. Food and drink are important to us socially too – they become the centre point around which we catch up, celebrate, and do life.

The Book of Proverbs has much to say about food and drink, especially in relation to gluttony. These words in Proverbs 23 are a prime example of this. First is a command to be wise – and for the reader to set their heart on the right path. And, in verse 20, we see that wisdom is found in not joining in with those who drink too much wine or eat too much meat.

Is this a command to not fellowship with those who make getting drunk a weekend priority? Or to avoid all-you-can-eat Brazilian meat buffets (which, I very much enjoy)? The warning is that drunkards and gluttons become poor.

You might read the warning of becoming poor and jump to the perils of splurging cash on food and drink – Brazilian buffets are expensive, after all – but perhaps there is more to the picture. Food and drink, which are God-given gifts to enjoy, can become idols that take us away from God. We can hunger for the short-term pleasures and make that our goal that we work toward, rather than remembering the giver.

There is wisdom in hungering for the right path – and that is finding satisfaction in Jesus. He chooses to dine with us, and reminds us that he is the bread of life – the one that truly satisfies (John 6:35).

Head: Read through all of Proverbs 23 and consider what it has to say about food and drink in light of the above reflection.

Heart: Ask yourself: What does your heart hunger for? Consider your longings and attitude toward food and drink. Do you rightly appreciate the sights, smells and tastes, and give thanks to the giver? Or does your longing go further, to the point that food and drink is an idol in your life?

Hands: Proverbs 23:19-21 shows the right path for our hearts to follow – and the way is one of self-control. What habits can you change to help stay on the right path?

Prayer: Father, thank you for the vast array of food and drink in this world, however help me to hunger for what truly satisfies. Through your Spirit, change my desires and set my heart on the right path to hunger for you alone.

A song to listen to: Sweetness of Freedom

Sam Robinson