Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Proverbs Chapter 23
Metaphysically Interpreting Proverbs 13:24-30
23:1When thou sittest to eat with a ruler,
Consider diligently him that is before thee;
23:4Weary not thyself to be rich;
Cease from thine own wisdom.
23:8The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up,
And lose thy sweet words.
23:10Remove not the ancient landmark;
And enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
23:11For their Redeemer is strong;
He will plead their cause against thee.
23:13Withhold not correction from the child;
For if thou beat him with the rod, he will not die.
23:18For surely there is a reward;
And thy hope shall not be cut off.
23:20Be not among winebibbers,
Among gluttonous eaters of flesh:
23:25Let thy father and thy mother be glad,
And let her that bare thee rejoice.
23:26My son, give me thy heart;
And let thine eyes delight in my ways.
23:29Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions?
Who hath complaining? who hath wounds without cause?
Who hath redness of eyes?
23:32At the last it biteth like a serpent,
And stingeth like an adder.
23:34Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea,
Or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
23:35They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not hurt;
They have beaten me, and I felt it not:
When shall I awake?
I will seek it yet again.
August 24, 1947: Prov. 23:10-11
Can anyone oppress the defenseless (“enter ... into the fields of the fatherless”) with impunity? No. The divine law balances accounts by taking out of the character of the oppressor the priceless traits of justice, kindness, righteousness, and love, so that he is left poorer by his disregard of the undefended rights of others.
December 13, 1896: Prov. 23:15-25
Jesus of Nazareth taught that God is Spirit, and that man is a son of God; and thus it follows, as a logical deduction, that man is Spirit, of the same Divine substance as his father, capable of manifesting in his own body and mentality the high characteristics of his father, thus demonstrating that he is Divine: “God manifest in the flesh.” “All that the father hath” he can claim as his own by reason of his sonship, and prove it by bringing these Divine qualities into manifestation.
15. If, then, God is Wisdom, the son should manifest that quality or characteristic of his father; he should be wise. And the joy and satisfaction experienced in the demonstration of wisdom will find a responsive approval at the Divine center of consciousness, symbolized by the “heart.”
16. While the “heart” is the seat of the consciousness, the “reins,” the “abdominal brain,” or solar plexus of nerves, situated in the region of the navel, is the seat of the emotions. Therefore by speaking words of Truth and Wisdom from an understanding heart, you may awaken the emotion of joy and satisfaction, which starts a thrill or vibration of delight from this navel center, extending through the entire body, bringing the harmony of health to every organ.
17. Very naturally, then, it is not the part of Wisdom to “envy sinners,” because the emotion thus awakened would, from the same life center, by the same law, start a vibration of discord, sending depression, disease and death to every organ. To have perpetual health Wisdom requires us to be in the love (“fear”) of God continually.
18. “For surely there is a reward” for the wise, thinking an absolute certainty, that unvarying law will bring into manifestation harmony and health, as the legitimate fruit of wise and righteous thinking.
19. Therefore, Wisdom requires this external man to listen to the gentle voice of Intuition, which will “guide thy heart in the way” of True Wisdom.
20. It is not the part of Wisdom to cater to the gratification of any sensual appetite, because he, who lives in the sensual, is not living the true life of Spiritual Wisdom. “Winebibbers and flesh eaters” are “bondsons” of the “bondwoman” and not free sons of the “child of promise.”
21. “They shall” both “come to poverty”, poverty of conscious Spiritual Good. Intemperance and gluttony overload the arteries and lymphatics with cumbersome, clogging impurities, beclouding and darkening the finer sensibilities and spiritual perceptions, producing an utter destitution of the good of Wisdom (“shall clothe a man with rags”); “our righteousness is filthy rags.” But temperance in all things, and abstemious habits purify the blood and the lymphatics, thus increasing the capacity for purest emotions and clear spiritual thought, bringing to the consciousness wealth of spiritual Wisdom in realization.
22. Wherefore, “hearken to thy father and thy mother,” the Divine voice of Wisdom and Love, for these are “thy father and thy mother” mature (“old”) in understanding.
23. Learn a lesson in Wisdom by every experience in life; “buy the truth,” “for the merchandise thereof is better than the merchandise of silver and the gain thereof than fine gold.” (Prov. 3:14)
24-25. The teaching of these verses is if you have been instructed in Wisdom and Truth by the inner voice of Intuition, until you are consciously wise in thought and act; you will receive the Joyful approval of your Inner Consciousness, your Divine self. This Divinity you thus find is both male and female, the “father and mother” of your manifested, individualized conscious self. The Joy and satisfaction, consequent upon righteous living, finds its counterpart of rejoicing at the center of Being. “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.”
- UNITY magazine
September 19, 1920: Prov. 23:19-21
What is the real cause of intemperance? The real cause of intemperance is the soul's craving for a fuller manifestation of spiritual light, life, and freedom. Reaching out for that, with which to satisfy this inner hunger, rather than turning within to the one Source, causes the unbalanced condition on both the physical and mental planes, known as intemperance.
Do the things of Spirit, for which the heart longs, belong to man? Yes. Man is created in the image and likeness of God and, according to the law of God, joy, satisfaction, and abundance are his in their fullness.
August 17, 1947: Prov. 23:19-21
What are some of the chief benefits derived from abstinence from intoxicants? We gain self-mastery and dominion, and progress becomes easier. When we follow temperance in eating and abstinence from injurious habits, we can realize dominion. What other forms of abstinence are desirable? Abstinence from anger, hasty speech, critical thinking, judgment by appearances, and all forms of ill-considered action.
What is one help in abstaining from intoxicating liquors? The avoidance of company that indulges in drinking. “Be not among winebibbers.” It is easier to make other friends than to try to keep our ideals while associating with those whose ideals and habits are not in harmony with ours.
Why should one keep one's mind clear and alert? Because wide-awake persons make the most of life. “Drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”
July 25, 1943: Prov. 23:20-21
Why does intemperance, whether in thinking or in personal habits of eating and drinking, lead to more than one form of poverty? It leads first to poverty of thought through the stupefying of the mind with excessive food or intoxicating drink. Stupor or drowsiness makes clear, consecutive thinking impossible, and with poverty of thought comes poverty of life in general.
August 3, 1947: Prov. 23:22-26
Truth, wisdom, instruction, understanding: these are an inspiring list of “lights” to be lighted in the mind. As we progress in them we learn to delight in them, and, as our hearts are enlisted in the undertaking, living aright from day to day becomes a joy. “Let thine eyes delight in my ways.”
SUNDAY. SEPTEMBER 19, 1920: Proverbs 23: 19-21,29-35
Subject - The Evils of Intemperance
What is the real cause of intemperance? The real cause of intemperance is the soul's craving for a fuller manifestation of spiritual light, life, and wisdom. Reaching out for that with which to satisfy the inner hunger, rather than turning within to the one source, causes the unbalanced condition on both the physical and mental planes, known as intemperance.
Do the things of Spirit, for which the heart longs, belong to man? Yes. Man is created in the image and likeness of God, and, according to the law of God, joy, satisfaction, and abundant life are his in their fullness.
Why does man often try to lay hold of these deep things of Spirit in the wrong way? Because he has not been trained along the way of the Silence, and does not know how to draw from the God Mind the living, intelligent Substance from which the real, lasting Good originates. Instead, he often takes that into his stomach which will, for a short time, emulate the natural powers of soul and body to a fuller expression of these qualities.
What is the result? This stimulating process is followed by a reaction, which depletes and tears down not only the body, but also the faculties of the mind.
When one Works according to Spirit what results? The soul and body are purified, uplifted and made beautiful. The mind becomes strong, buoyant and alert, readily seeing a solution to every proposition, and keen and active to carry out the light it receives.
What change in appetite lakes place in one who has freed himself from the bondage of drink and has learned to demonstrate according to Spirit? He no longer craves false stimulants, even the desire for flesh food loses its hold upon him. He finds that high living and plain and wholesome vegetarian diet go hand in hand. He is a new creature in Christ Jesus.
All false appetite in me is changed into that living desire to know the freedom of Spirit in its fullness, and nothing less will satisfy. My mind is open to the inflow of the uplifting, energizing, redeeming powers of my indwelling Christ, and I am nourished on the true spiritual Substance. I abide in the conscious oneness with Spirit, and I joyously welcome the forthcoming of the fruits of the Spirit, peace, purity, satisfaction into my life.
March 19, 1933: Prov. 23:29-32
Was the nation's tryout of prohibition a success? Why not? No. The removal of the saloon did not solve the problem of intemperance, because the legislation that brought this about did not take effect in the minds and hearts of men. Prohibition became a thing to be enforced, not an ideal to be pursued and realized.
What would have made the enforcement of the Volstead Act a greater success? Had our zeal for temperance taken the form of a desire for a temperate thought life for moderation in all things, we believe the enforcement of the Volstead Act would have met with a greater degree of cooperation at the hands of our citizens.
What national traits have hindered the development of a higher standard of American citizenship? Our national thirst for wealth and power and our ambition for industrial supremacy all point to a preponderance of material desire over the thirst for spiritual understanding. This has had its effect upon the people of our nation and to a certain extent has retarded the unfoldment of the higher qualities of manhood and womanhood.
How did the writer of Proverbs consider the drunkard? The writer of Proverbs considered the drunkard a man of woe and sorrow, full of wounds and complaints.
June 28, 1942: Prov. 23:32
The chief prerequisite to the temperate life is the disciplining of the mind. We train our domestic animals and harness the forces of nature, yet we let our will run wild. No one can be the perfect man he idealizes until he disciplines his mind and takes control of his thinking. With his thoughts in order and his ideas in harmony with the ideas in Divine Mind, he is on the way to the realization of his ideal. The perfect society, the ideal civilization, the kingdom of God on earth, awaits the adoption of a disciplined ideal by men and women, the ideal of the highest good of all mankind. This is the new order that is to make the earth and its fullness a fit manifestation of the divine. No order, however new, that rests on oppression and that permits one people to trample on the inherent rights of another, has in it the qualities that make for permanence. The enduring things are those of universal application.
March 25, 1906: Prov. 23:29-35
The subject of temperance cannot be comprehended in the mere abstinence from strong drink. This is the usual meaning and use of the term temperance, however, and nearly all those who make this reform their specialty, confine their efforts to methods that will remove the temptation, and control the appetite. These methods are usually the exercise of will and the recourse to external laws.
Intemperance has a cause lying deeper than appetite; the soul is yearning for something, and this outer craving but indicates the inward lack. So long as there is dearth of soul satisfaction the craving will continue. All reforms that do not go into this subjective side of the question are temporary. Many a man has been healed by mentally saying to him, “Your soul is satisfied with the love of God.”
The soul that has no knowledge of the inner source of life is like one who has great treasures in vaults he has forgotten. When his mind is freshened by one who is familiar with the true law, he begins to look for his supply [and] he finds it. Then he is living according to the law of his being, and the vague craving, that led to outer sources of satisfaction, is done away with.
The intemperance of appetite in many of its phases is healed through this simple recognition of the Law. Intemperate eating is accompanied by a craving for stimulants. Excessive meat eating and heavy drinking go hand-in-hand. But the word of the Spirit opens the thought to the living substance at the very heart of the trouble and man forever loses that gross desire, built up by trying to get satisfaction from matter and material things.
March 28, 1909: Prov. 23:29-35
The “woes” of intemperance are so evident, that it is unnecessary to describe them. The important thing is to learn how to avoid intemperance, and how to heal those who have fallen under its delusions.
There are many kinds of intemperance; the one here meant is intemperance of appetite. The cause of this kind of intemperance is a perverted taste. The first question that presents itself is, What caused the taste to become perverted?
Appetite is the most material aspect of taste, which is a quality of mind. By means of taste, man selects intuitively and groups the things that harmonize in the manifest world. Appetite is the fleshly incorporation of this higher sense, and is necessary to bodily growth. When under control of wisdom, taste is good and serves man well, but, when cultivated in ignorance, it makes slaves of the other faculties and finally destroys the body.
In Divine Order appetite is under direct control of mind and is lighted with the higher wisdom. Christian metaphysics proves that “Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word proceeding out the mouth of God.” The words of mind are really nourishing and they are necessary to the harmonious up-building of the body.
When the Spiritual Word, or Thoughts of Divine Mind, are ignored and man tries to live on material food alone, the body is not nourished and it subconsciously cries out for its natural stimulant, this Living Word. Then man in his ignorance seeks a material stimulant and sets on fire the delicate tissues of his stomach and throat, and the burning flames up to his brain and blinds his reason; thus men put that in their bellies which steals away their brains.
The one sure remedy is a fulfillment of the natural law, a union with Divine Mind, and an appropriation of these words, that feed the body and satisfy it.
Begin the healing with a study of Truth, at the foundation of which is the understanding that man lives in an omnipresent Life and Substance, which is drawn into his consciousness through his thought, then every thought that conveys an idea of this Omnipresence is soul-food. Say often to yourself or your patient, “Your soul seeks the Living Substance of the Divine Word and you are satisfied; you are satisfied in mind and body.”
Those who have long been slaves to appetite are under mental condemnation, which should be denied, and the forgiveness of Christ declared. “There is now therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”
In addition to the mind treatment, discrimination in food should be inculcated. Physiology teaches that the major part of the “juicy” roast or beefsteak is what is politely called “ura”, [uric acid?] otherwise urine. This “ura” inflames the mucous lining of throat and stomach and an unnatural thirst is created. Mothers, through flesh-eating, are cultivating false appetites in their unborn babes. Vegetarians are never drunkards. Give your husbands, your sons and even your daughters a vegetarian diet and they will not easily be led into bibulous ways.
September 19, 1920: Prov. 23:29-35
Why does man often try to lay hold of these deep things of Spirit in the wrong way? Because he has not been trained along the way of the Silence, and does not know how to draw from the God Mind the living, intelligent Substance from which the real, lasting Good originates. Instead, he often takes that into his stomach which will, for a short time, stimulate the natural powers of soul and body to a fuller expression of these qualities.
What is the result? This stimulating process is followed by a reaction, which depletes and tears down, not only the body, but also the faculties of the mind.
When one works according to Spirit what results? The soul and body are purified, uplifted and made beautiful. The mind becomes strong, buoyant and alert; readily seeing a solution to every proposition, and keen and active to carry out the light it receives.
What change in appetite takes place in one who has freed himself from the bondage of drink and has learned to demonstrate according to Spirit? He no longer craves false stimulants; even the desire for flesh food loses its hold upon him. He finds that high living and plain and wholesome vegetarian diet go hand in hand. He is a new creature in Christ Jesus.
November 4, 1923: Prov. 23:29-35
In what state of mind originates the desire for alcoholic stimulants? When the life forces have been unwisely dissipated and the proper contact with Spirit ignored, man longs for more vitality. This condition results in an unnatural thirst, which he attempts to satisfy with the spirits: alcohol.
Is the desire for stimulants good, and can it be satisfied? Yes, the desire for stimulants is good. We all desire more life, more vitality, energy, enthusiasm. A proper understanding and contact with the spirit within will satisfy this innate desire of man for the vitalities of life of Spirit. “I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.”
Does food have anything to do with the stimulation of sense appetite? Yes. Meat, especially juicy beefsteak, inflames the delicate tissues of the mouth, throat, and stomach and creates a desire for liquids.
How may the drunkard heal his appetite alcohol? In overcoming sense appetite, first realize that it is innately good, seeking satisfaction. The next step is to deny that satisfaction can be had through sense expression; next use an affirmation stating that only spiritual life and spiritual substance satisfy.
Give a metaphysical treatment for the healing of false appetite. “I am Spirit. All my desires are founded in Spirit and I know that they must be expressed spiritually.” I desire life more abundant and that desire is now satisfied by a great flood of spiritual life and substance, which cleanses, purifies, and fills me.”
October 31, 1926: Prov. 23:29-35
What is the source of appetite, and how should appetite be regulated by Christian metaphysicians? Appetite has its source in a spiritual desire for the life and substance of Spirit. Appetite should be governed by the divine understanding, that arises from the activity of spiritual ideas of judgment and satisfaction.
When man in spiritual understanding begins the discipline of appetite, does he give attention to the manmade laws governing food and drink? One in spiritual understanding sees that all laws made by man have the good of man for their object; therefore he observes them both in the spirit and in the letter.
In disciplining and refining the appetite, should one leave the Work wholly to Spirit, or should he cooperate with Spirit? One who desires to fulfill the law of Spirit in all things should seek diligently to put himself under the divine will, and then he should unfold within his own consciousness according to his perception of that supreme will. An example of such spiritual cooperation is given in the first chapter of the book of Daniel: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's dainties, nor with the wine which he drank.”
Does one who is quickened of Spirit get any benefit from taking alcohol into his system? No. Alcohol supplies a counterfeit of spiritual energy. It gives a false stimulation to the bodily functions, and the reaction is always depressing.
Can an acquired appetite for strong drink be overcome through the power of Spirit? Yes. All drunkards can be healed through the power of Spirit. Many who had been slaves to the liquor habit and who have been healed by the spoken word testify that their desire for strong drink has disappeared, and that they have found that their real desire has been for the joy of spiritual life.
Is the desire for strong drink enhanced by the eating of certain kinds of food? Yes. Meat and all animal products that are used as food stimulate the appetite and cause one to crave strong drink. A false stimulation is also caused by the use of condiments, such as salt, pepper, and so forth.
Are vegetarians ever drunkards? No. It is found that the elimination of meat from the diet is followed by the desire for only those liquids that are produced by nature without fermentation or adulteration. Daniel said to the prince of the eunuchs: “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the youths that eat of the king's dainties; and, as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he hearkened unto them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer, and they were fatter in flesh, than all the youths that did eat of the king's dainties.”
May 23, 1943: Prov. 23:29-35
Is the excessive use of strong drink the only sign of unwisdom in those who are addicted to it? No, any use of intoxicants as beverages is harmful to the body, especially to the nervous system. The habitual “moderate drinker” experiences a negative reaction in degree as surely as the confirmed drunkard does.
What are some of the negative reactions felt by those who “tarry long at the wine”? Woe, sorrow, contentions, complaining, wounds without cause, redness of eyes. These are only a few of the effects of unwise indulgence in alcoholic stimulants.
How do alcoholic stimulants affect the mental faculties? They dethrone reason and judgment. “Thy heart shall utter perverse things.” The impossible appears easy and natural. “Thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, Or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.”
What two faculties by their failure contribute to the inebriate's downfall? Will and desire. When desire for sense gratification is strong and the will too weak or undeveloped to check it, there is little hope of a change for the better. “When shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.”
August 17, 1947: Prov. 23:29-35
Are the effects of indulging in intoxicants all negative? They are. Among them are “woe, sorrow, contentions, complaining, wounds without cause.” Nerves, brain, and muscles all show negative reactions from drink.
In what sense is wine “a mocker”? The exhilaration that follows indulgence in it is short-lived, leaving dullness instead of keenness.
What is represented by the king referred to in the text of this lesson? A king represents the will, which must be called into action by all who wish to overcome the drink habit.
What is the worst effect of intemperate drinking? Loss of conscious reason and judgment. The drunkard sees no inconsistency in his hallucinations and undertakes to do impossible or harmful acts that sometimes end disastrously.
April 22, 1917: Prov. 23:29-35
A number of young men were one day sitting round; the fire of the waiting room of an English railroad, talking: about total abstinence societies. Just then a policeman, came with a prisoner in handcuffs. He listened to the young men's conversation, but did not give any opinion. There was also in the room a minister who, hearing what the young men were saying, stepped up to the policeman and said, “Pray, sir, what have you to say about temperance?” “Well,” replied the policeman, “all I have to say is that I never took a teetotaler to York Castle Prison in my life, nor to Wakefield House of Correction, either.”
Every officer in the world could doubtless testify likewise, yet saloons are licensed nearly everywhere, every day. Why is it that men are making so easy of cultivation the tendency to indulge in intoxicants, and opening doors in the most public places where men, women and even children can get the poison that brings upon them the woes and sorrows of the drunkard? Mammon can answer this question. The money god is in invisible attendance at every city council and dictates the votes.
But the enormity of this crime is at last getting the attention of fathers and mothers. They are beginning to realize that a traffic that brings such dire results upon their children should not be tolerated and a great wave of suppression is sweeping over the land. The liquor traffic is doomed and with the eradication of the saloon will go one great avenue of sense culture and dominance.
Alcohol stimulates the appetite and those who drink also eat to excess. Wine drinking and meat eating go hand in hand. “Be not among wine-bibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh.” Strong drink stimulates the animal in man and the beast appears instead of the angel.
But the removal of the saloon will not wholly solve the problem. There is a demand in man for stimulant and he will find it in the other material element, unless he is educated in the right way. This education begins the moment he is shown the dominion of the spiritual over the animal and the necessity of maintaining this dominion. A teacher once gave a lesson on the power of spiritual man to one who was a slave to tobacco. He afterward told how he sat down, smoking, in a park and laid his cigar in front of him and talked to it. He said, “So I am your slave? You cause me to be nervous and filthy; you are slowly filling my system with a poisonous nicotine, and you make me believe that you are necessary to my comfort. Have I, the Son of God, come to this abject servitude? No! henceforth I am master and I now crush you and your power out of my life!” With this declamation he threw the cigar on the ground and crushed it with his heel, and he never smoked again, nor had any desire to smoke.
Fear and the belief in the power of evil paralyzes the will, and man is weak, because he does not know the omnipotence of his word. Let there be a clear understanding, that man is spiritual and has dominion over every emotion, function and appetite. Let all condemnation for sin and weakness be forgiven and mentally denied by everybody interested in the case, and a unanimous thought of the presence and power of Spirit affirmed. Remove all fear by denial of the besetting sin and all condemnation of self, sensual appetites and lustful passions.
This simple and absolutely true way of handling false appetite has healed thousands and will reform the most hopeless case, when faithfully applied by either the individual for himself, or with the help of a spiritual healer.
- UNITY magazine.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 10-28-2013