Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 25:16
"Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, that you not have it in excess and vomit it."
The ideas in this verse about moderation are almost completely lost on this generation. We are a generation of excess and indulgence. We do not know how to say “enough.” When a person does not know how to say enough before a physical limit is reached, they are broadcasting that they are not fit for abundance. Usually God will not leave them in a position of abundance for long.
There are many pleasures and joys in this world but moderation is required with each one. One of the most difficult things to embrace is that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. This is what the proverb is teaching us.
Honey is the Hebrew word debasand occurs fifty-three times in the Old Testament. Honey, in that day, was an extremely valuable commodity. It was the sweetener for all baking. Honey was also a refined product. It had gone through a "distilling" program with the bees. Honey, in this proverb, represents the most refined of the pleasures. When you find these pure intense pleasures, you must make sure that you do not indulge yourself. You won't be able to handle them. It is too much.
Honey, then, stands for every pleasurable high and intensely enjoyable activity and thing. Honey is compared to praise in another proverb – Proverbs 25:27.
Solomon is trying to tell us that we must build in self-imposed limits on pleasurable intake so that we do not become addicted to it or sick from it. Unfortunately, as a society we have become people with no willingness to limit ourselves. If some is good, then more is better.
One of the main reasons why we have a moral breakdown in our culture is because no one wants to recognize the limits of selfishness. No one wants to be told “no.” And no one wants to be the one who says “no”.
eat only what you need that you not have it in excess and vomit it
There is a sickness from too much pleasure. There are natural limits to the ability to enjoy pleasure. Pleasure will become pain and sickness. In some previous generations there has been such an understanding of this idea that there was even an aversion to pleasure as though to have intense joy and pleasure was bad.
Eat only what you need is a very interesting phrase in that it states that pleasure is a God-made product to be enjoyed by His creatures. If you have found that which brings intense joy and the enjoyment of it does not cause pain or loss to others in the enjoyment of it, then by all means enjoy it. But do not overindulge.
This phrase eat only what you needstates also that we, God's creatures, need a certain amount of pleasure. It is not okay or the perfect will of God for His creatures – His children – to have no intense pleasure and only routine, only pain, only work. This is not God's plan.
Think about the righteous forms of intense pleasure and enjoy them within the boundaries of righteousness and moderation: friendship, enjoyable activities, food, T.V., drink, physical intimacy, etc. It is okay for Christians to have intense pleasure.
The question that screams from this proverb is: Have you developed the ability or self-discipline to push away from an intensely pleasurable item or activity before you overindulge? If your only limit is sickness, lack of money, or others limiting you, then take stock of yourself and realize that you are not being wise. Develop the self-discipline to push away from these intensive pleasures before they damage your life.
If we are not careful, we can become addicted to the feelings of pleasure that come from certain things and activities as masks for the pain in our lives. This is how an addict is created. Do not hide from the wounds and hurts and pain. Face them as God gives you strength. Enjoy the pleasure that God also gives – within moderation.