• Joshua Kristine

Proverbs 23

Going Deeper

Proverbs 23 (7-10-21)


Proverbs 23:1-8 speaks of the demise of pursuing temporary things over eternal things. There are many things in this life that look good and pleasing, but they only prove to be fleeting and temporary. We must be discerning as to what we should truly devote ourselves to. Jesus spoke of this in John chapter six. Let’s turn to one key verse in John’s Gospel to help us go deeper into the truths of this Proverb:


John 6:27 “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”


Let’s break down what Jesus is saying here:

John 6:27a “Do not work for the food that perishes …” This is a direct warning. Work equals labor, long for, aim for. “Food that perishes” is highlighting the temporariness of it. Everything you have—every meal, every dollar, item or treasure, house, car, ability, every relationship—is temporary. It is not lasting. It is a provision by God for you to steward in this time for His holy purposes. So, we “Do not work for the food that perishes.” It is not our aim, our joy, our hope, our reason for living; instead, we steward the food that perishes so that we can work for the food that endures to eternal life! If we are to stop living our days for temporary joys, or wins, or provisions, then does that mean we are to simply stop working? Stop living? Stop persevering? Stop stewarding these things? No! Instead, He says to work, live, persevere, and steward these things for the eternal.


John 6:27b “but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”

We are to pursue eternal things, lasting things. So, while we are not to check out of this world and its temporary engagements, we are to learn to engage them rightly with the eternal as our aim in all we do.


Paul will say this later in 1 Corinthians 7:29-31: This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.


What Paul is saying here is that we must have a right view of this life in the shadow of the eternal life that is before us. Only God can give us a radical evenness of temper regarding the things of this temporary life we are now living. When we understand what Paul is saying here and have a right view of God and our eternal standing, we will have a radical evenness of temper in good and bad times. In trouble or hard times, those who are truly trusting in Christ say, “I am sad, but this is not my bottom line. So, I am not crushed by this. Nothing can touch my bottom line. My bottom is Jesus.”


The same is true when we experience great success. Someone who is truly trusting in Christ says, “Settle down heart! This is nice. This is cool, but it is not my greatest joy. It is not the most important thing. Christ is the most important thing. Jesus is my greatest joy.”


So, if the eternal is our aim and our focus, where does one get this food? Jesus says, “the Son of Man will give to you.” Only Jesus can give us lasting satisfaction for eternity. This is a clarity Jesus is making again and again and again. John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”


Jesus says this in John 5:23b-24: “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”


Jesus is preaching the exclusive hold He alone has on the greatest thing we could ever have. Jesus is continuing to highlight the failure of trusting our lives to the temporary and to our sinful and selfish desires and instead is pointing to the only true and living hope we have which is trusting in Him alone.


John 6:27b “but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”

How does Jesus have the authority to say these things? He is God. He is sent by God the Father to complete this work. He is the authoritative word. He is the life giver. He is God! Look at what He says:

John 6:27c “For on him God the Father has set his seal.” This is validation of the authority Jesus has as the divine deliverer.


Before we focus on what we “must” do, do not miss what Jesus is highlighting. First, the longing of our hearts sinfully will only be for the temporary and what we want, but righteously, it will be for the eternal and what God wants. Second, He commands us to not work for food that perishes, but food that endures to eternal life. He is drawing the eyes of those who will hear Him off the sinful idol and onto the glorious God.

He is helping us see through our veiled sinful perspective and to call us to labor for what is eternal.


John 6:27b “for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”

See the danger: because eternal life is given to you because of the blood of Jesus, you stop working. You just receive it and then focus only on the temporary. But the Bible says what we do here affects us for eternity. And I would say, what we do here is our chance to invest into eternity. Not just the moment. Not just this momentary life.


When Paul says, “I press on towards the prize,” he is saying, “This is how I keep my eyes on Jesus.” Because if I let my flesh lead, I will look around at how the world lives, and what other people have, and I will be tempted, I will be jealous, I will lose my grip and conviction and sight for the eternal. This is what Jesus is saying: WORK “for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you” (John 6:27b).


God showed me this in His word during one of our family devotions. Together, we read from Haggai 1:1-6

“In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.” Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.”


God asked His people how they could live in luxury when His house was lying in ruins? The same question applies to us: How can we choose to prioritize our lives with the things of the world when we have been welcomed to dine and live in the kingdom of God? The harder the people worked for themselves, the less they had, because they ignored their spiritual lives and what God set before them to do for His glory. This can easily and quickly be us.

You have a few short years in this life, and then you have forever either with or without God. The reality is we don’t know. We might not have until the end of the day or week. We are not promised tomorrow in this life. “As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered’” (Romans 8:36).


James 4:13-17 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.


We can long for and focus on and cling to and work to build up only what is temporary, or we can long for, focus on, cling to, and work on what God has prepared in eternity for those who love Him.


1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT) ... “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”


Hebrews 13:14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.


I pray today’s study helps you take some inventory for what you are pursuing. May we joyfully give up the temporary for the eternal. May God be glorified in and through us as we mature in this critical area of daily life. I am praying for you all worldwide! May God do His mighty work in and through us all.


By His grace and for His glory,

Joshua “Shepherd” Kirstine

Soldiers for Jesus MC

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