Here are three more sayings of the wise men, from that collection of 30 proverbs that begins at chapter 22:17.

The first is a warning against excessive living, particularly with regard to food and drink (19-21). There are practical reasons for self-restraint. If you go down the route of over-indulgence it will take your money and sap your strength and health. Again, we marvel at the down to earth wisdom of the Bible. If only the world heeded it! This could have saved a lot of people a lot of problems over the Christmas season. ‘’Don’t drink too much wine and get drunk; don’t eat too much food and get fat. Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row, in a stupor and dressed in rags.’’ The Message. Live like that for too long and you may well end up featuring in a documentary about obesity or binge-drinking! Perhaps both!!

The second proverb concerns honouring father and mother throughout life, and bringing joy and delight to them (22-24). Live in a way that will make your parents proud, if at all possible. The writer envisages doing this by obeying the ‘’truth’’ (23) taught by parents. For him, this will mean the truth that is in God’s Word, or in agreement with it. This is an important word to us all. Whatever God our Father has shown us we should cling to tightly, and live it. ‘’Buy truth – don’t sell it for love or money.’’ The Message. ‘’Do not sell the truth at any price…It costs something to live by the truth, but it costs even more to abandon the truth.’’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.429. (See also Proverbs 4:7)

The third is about the danger of falling into sexual immorality and adultery, and the destructiveness of such behaviour (26-28). This is a repeated theme in ‘Proverbs’. The ‘fruit’ may look delicious on the tree, but once eaten it is found to be poisonous.

How many lives and marriages could be saved by this Bible passage alone!

Prayer: Lord, let your Word spread through all the earth, and cause men to hear and heed its wise truth. Thank you Lord that ‘a fence at the top of the cliff is better than ‘an ambulance at the bottom.’ Thank you for your ‘fences’ – lovingly put in place to protect us; not to ruin our fun!