Proverbs 25:16

Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

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Moderation in all things. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Extreme use of anything is abuse. God and Solomon want you to maximize the use of things in life by not overusing any of them. This is an important rule of wisdom and success for your life.

God created honey as a sweet gift for taste, and it is good for your body. Yet too much can overwhelm your senses and make you sick. When you find something pleasant, use it prudently for its intended purpose, lest it be a snare to your soul, or you end up hating it.

Every man’s honey is different. What is sweet to your taste but tempts you to overindulge in it? What is your honey? It is your duty to identify those pleasures that captivate you the most and be temperate with them (I Cor 9:25). What is your honey? Eat only a little.

Honey is good and pleasant (Pr 16:24; 24:13). Honey is not forbidden; it is God’s gift. Be thankful for it. But too much is not good (Pr 25:27). How can something so good make you vomit? By proving that excess is bad! Excess, which is too much, shows good things have limited uses. Use them until sufficient, to their intended purpose, and not beyond.

God richly gives His children all things to enjoy (I Tim 6:17), but all those things must be used in moderation (Phil 4:5). He is not watching from a distance to see how we treat His gifts, as many imagine. The Lord is at hand. He made man upright and gave him gifts, but he has sought out many inventions (Eccl 7:29). And one such invention is excess!

This generation loves excess. They are proud to be X-treme! Christians should avoid any immoderation. God’s gifts of food and drink have been abused to destroy souls. Gluttony and drunkenness overcharge men’s stomachs and hearts (Lu 21:34). Young men gorge until they vomit; drunkards do the same and sleep in it. They sin against this proverb.

The wisdom here is mainly moral and spiritual, yet it also contains nutritional advice. Honey and other simple or refined carbohydrates are a principal cause of obesity and other maladies affecting health. When prosperity supplies an endless variety and amount of sugars and carbohydrates, an excessive society can gorge to a diabetic epidemic!

Consider other pleasant gifts of God to grasp the lesson. God gave bread to make hearts strong (Ps 104:15), but overeating bread, cereal, pasta, cookies, cake, chips, crackers, pizza, and other grain products destroys the heart. God gave wine to make hearts glad (Ps 104:15), but drunkenness is a sin of excess that can cause horrible heartache (Eph 5:18).

Solomon commended eating and drinking for strength, rather than pleasure. There is pleasure in eating, but it cannot dominate. And he commended nations with policies and examples of temperance (Eccl 10:16-17). The all-you-can-eat buffets may be a nice blessing for variety, but they are a curse for the man given to appetite. You should eat to satisfy hunger and promote health. Can you believe, “Enough is as good as a feast”?

What about marriage? It is a great gift from God for companionship and love, but you should live without it consuming your life (I Cor 7:28-35; Ps 73:25-26). What about hobbies and entertainment? They can be pleasant diversions, but too much emphasis and they bring poverty and waste precious time (Pr 21:17; Eph 5:16).

What about bodily exercise? It has a little profit, but extremes will cost you your soul by leaving more important matters undone (I Tim 4:8). What about righteousness and wisdom? Can you have too much of these things? Yes, indeed, when misapplied! The Preacher warned against excesses of either, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day (Eccl 7:16).

Consider sex. It is one of life’s sweet pleasures – tasted and enjoyed in marriage only, and then only within godly constraints. If it is emphasized out of place, its desires will consume the single person, and it will distort a marriage into selfish practices. The wonderfully pleasant expression of love can easily become a painful ritual of bitterness.

The proverb may also be applied to friends (Pr 25:17). Too much of even friends is too much! If you are obsessive in relationships, you will lose friends, because they cannot bear or keep up with your excess. The good gift of friendship pressed to excess will turn to hatred, and then you have ruined another precious blessing by your overindulgence.

Excessive indulgence in any pleasure dulls the appetite and enjoyment of that thing, so that you need greater and greater amounts to give you the original pleasure. The more fine food you eat, the less you enjoy that special dinner out. The more you travel for business, the less you enjoy the getaway with your wife. It is a simple lesson of experience that too much of anything steals much of its pleasure (Pr 27:7).

Viewing women other than your wife, which is a sin, will reduce pleasure from your wife. It will not enhance her or your appreciation of her. Once you start this sin, you will need greater stimulation to get the same pleasure you once easily had with her. Having dulled your senses and enjoyment, you must then dip deeper into the sewer of excess and drink longer to find the original sinful pleasure. Sin lies, as it takes you down to hell.

Christian reader, what is your honey? In moderation it is good, but in excess it is sinful? Is it eating, family, drinking, working, marriage, hobbies, exercise, sex, or something else? What is it? You will have the greatest temptations to be intemperate with those things that are sweet and pleasant to you. What is your honey? You must identify these weights or sins, so you can lay them aside to successfully run your race (Heb 12:1-4).

Once you identify your honey in life, how much pleasure should you seek in using it? Until you are sick? Oh no, you have gone way too far. Godly temperance and moderation avoid excess, so you must stay safely back from the sinful line. In fact, sincere persons will consider metaphorically cutting their throats, cutting off hands, or plucking out eyes in order to avoid even the temptation to excess (Pr 23:2; Matt 18:8-9).

There is honey for the Christian that has no limit, and it is free, and you may delight in its fatness (Is 55:1-5)! It is the wonderful facts of the gospel. Lady wisdom also offers bread, wine, and a furnished table (Pr 9:1-5), and there you will not be sick or disappointed by eating as much as you can. Fill yourself today with both the gospel and wisdom.

You should also seek to be filled with all the fullness of God, in which there is great blessing (Eph 3:14-19). You can also in good conscience desire the best gifts in the church and serve better than any of them (I Cor 12:31)! Choose good honey. O Lord, fill me with your Spirit, until I am filled to overflowing, and then give me a little more.