Pro 15:16 Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
Pro 15:17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
In our verses yesterday, Solomon had told us that a cheerful spirit would make even those who have little of what the world offers, have a continual feast. Today we'll look at his formula for that feast. In verse 16, he instructs us that we need holiness, and in verse 17 he says we need love. Let's get out our magnifying glass and check this out, OK?
A little of this world's goods, if we are good stewards of it, and enjoy it in reverence of the Lord, may be far more comfortable and enjoyable to us than if we had great treasure. In previous studies, we've noted that those who are wealthy, who have abundant treasures, often have great trouble with it --- it's quite the opposite from making their life easy. It increases their cares and worries, and even can affect their sleep! Hey, I bet Solomon knew about that first hand.....the Scripture notes all of his vast wealth. It is human nature when one is wealthy, to trust in that wealth, and not in God; so it is far more desirable in my book, to have a little of the world's "gold," to live by faith, and to enjoy God's providence and care. I recall an old hymn that George Beverly Shea sang many times: "I'd rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today."
In the next verse, Solomon contrasts a simple meal of herbs with a huge banquet - a stalled ox was one that was penned up and allowed to get fat. (We all know what no exercise will do, right?!) So, a stalled ox was a key component to a sumptuous meal for the well-to-do. But you notice that this wealthy king tells us that if you don't have love, it just doesn't cut it! He says a simple meal of herbs would be better than the incredible meal --- if there is love there. If there's no love there, a person doesn't feel comfortable, or welcome, or, or, loved! (Wonder if he's speaking from personal experience here, too? I bet that among that huge number of wives he had, there were some who nagged, or were just generally not so nice!)
So, tell me what you think about Solomon's formula --- he says holiness, reverence for God, and love, if you mix them all up together, will make you feel like you are at a feast, no matter what your situation. Wonder if this is what Paul meant?
"for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Phil 4:11b