Proverbs 17:1

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.

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What could the wisest man on earth charge per hour for specific advice for your life? $500 an hour? $5,000 an hour? But here is God’s inspired wisdom by King Solomon free of charge! What a glorious blessing, if you will consider and learn from this true proverb.

As in many proverbs, the parallelism contrasts two things – the right against the wrong. A dry morsel could be saltine crackers and a house full of sacrifices a filet mignon dinner with all the trappings. Since some sacrifices, the best of their flocks and herds, were eaten by the people, Solomon described here the very best food in great and free abundance.

Quietness is not noise level, but rather lack of trouble, fighting, travail, and vexation. It is contrasted with strife. It is a state of calm, peace, rest, and security (Pr 1:33; Judges 18:7; II Chr 20:30; Job 3:13; 21:23; 34:9; Ps 107:28-30; Eccl 4:6; Ezek 16:42). In a sister proverb, the contrast is between love and hatred, which helps explain this one (Pr 15:17).

The Preacher Solomon taught that saltine crackers in a calm and peaceful home are superior to a filet mignon dinner with a tense and unhappy family. Here is wisdom to direct your priorities. More emphasis, time, effort, money, and value should be placed on peace and love in a family than the securing of food and things for the family. But this choice runs totally contrary to this carnal, covetous, greedy, and materialistic generation.

Profane Americans say, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But your Creator tells you, “He who lives a godly life content with what he has wins” (I Tim 6:6; Heb 13:5). Here is a choice – do you follow the profane American to hell or God to heaven? Do you live the life of vanity and vexation of spirit this society promotes? Or do you choose the wise man’s priority, knowing he had already tested both ways by divine providence?

Two people in love can be happy, peaceful, and contented sharing peanut butter crackers, as dating couples know; and two people can be miserable in the middle of luxury when differences and bitterness have crept in. Will you work to save your relationships?

What causes tension, stress, and trouble in a home? An overbearing woman is one of the greatest culprits (Pr 7:11; 9:13; 12:4; 19:13; 21:9,19; 25:24; 27:15-16; 30:21-23). She talks too much, criticizes too much, corrects too much, argues too much, suggests too much, and all in all turns life into hell. Every godly woman must hate these tendencies in herself and others; and every husband must rule and train his wife to be free of them.

Scorners will ruin a home’s peace (Pr 16:19,28; 22:10; 26:20-21). What is a scorner? A haughty fool who arrogantly despises correction and disrespects authority. They should be corrected with the rod and reproof or removed from the home (Pr 26:3; 22:10; 24:9).

A fool in a home will ruin its peace, because that filet mignon meal will only fuel his foolish thinking and talking (Pr 31:21-23; Eccl 10:12-15). How many parents have had their peace stolen by foolish children (Pr 10:1; 17:25)? Foolishness is bound in the heart of children, but the rod and reproof will surely and always correct it (Pr 22:15; 29:15,17).

An angry person who presses issues ruins the peace of a home (Pr 15:18; 26:21; 29:22; 30:33). So the rule of ending all wrath before sunset must be followed and enforced (Eph 4:26). Let every man and woman be slow to anger (Pr 14:29; 15:18; 16:32; Jas 1:19).

Bitterness will ruin a home’s tranquility, for it is from hell and the source of confusion and every evil work (Jas 3:14-16). The commandment is clear – put away all bitterness, especially husbands (Eph 4:31-32; Col 3:19). For godly wisdom from heaven is peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, and loves to make peace (Jas 3:17-18).

Discontentment creates perpetual frustration, so that even a filet mignon dinner cannot bring peace and calm. The covetous and greedy man is always looking for more, and he is in a constant state of agitation thinking about it (Eccl 5:10; II Sam 13:1-2). And even if he were to get more, he would still wish and grieve for yet more in just minutes!

A family with a moody parent (or worse yet, two of them) is doomed, for such weak and wicked people set the tone in the house and at dinner by whatever foolish mood they have allowed to overwhelm their soul (Pr 25:28). Joy is a command (Phil 4:4; I Thess 5:16)!

A good man can destroy all these enemies of a peaceful home, for he will be a godly example of peace and joy, and he will enforce peace and joy on the rest of the family. What a blessing for a wife and children to have such a man ruling their home! May the Lord raise up such men in this effeminate and frustrated generation!

Paul gave an excellent summary of the love and peace that ought to characterize the lives of Christians, and he gave the means to obtain them (Col 3:12-15). With such peace and joy as the basis, life can be a perpetual feast, regardless of what is on the table (Pr 15:15).

You must remember success is not more things, but contentment with the things you have (I Tim 6:6). Save yourself from a generation deceived by the lie that gain is godliness and happiness. You can learn to be content regardless of the fare at dinner (Phil 4:11-12).

Where will you put your emphasis, time, effort, money, and value? On things? Or on godliness and contentment regardless of things? Now train your children to do the same!

This proverb applies as well to the church of Jesus Christ. A church at peace, regardless of circumstances, is superior to a church with strife, though basking in luxury or growth. It is your duty to endeavor to maintain church unity in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3).