I have been an active participant or member on Facebook for just over a year now. I don’t know that “member” is the proper term – because it seems that for some people word should be “slave.” I hope that you are all my “friends,” even though you may not think that I am particularly “friendly.” Rarely do I post things on my personal page; most of my activity, what little there is, is on our church page, which out of necessity is linked to my personal page. What I try to do is post church events and a devotional every day – but I am not very consistent.
Please don’t think that I am trying to criticize your use of Facebook, because this is certainly not true of you. But it seems to me that many people post nothing but what is self-congratulatory or self-gratifying. A picture taken from the top of Mt. Spokane might encourage someone else to enjoy the drive. But to post a picture of what someone had for lunch does not edify anyone. Also, there is a difference between my wife announcing my 70th on social media and if I posted it. “For men to search their own glory is not glory.” Self-promotion is not particularly glorious. But it is so common today that we who are guilty, aren’t as quick in recognizing its true nature as perhaps our grandparents once were.
That is my introduction to the second half of this verse, but let’s begin again.
“It is not good to eat much honey.”
The operative word here is “much” – “It is not good to eat (too) much honey.” “It is ALSO not good to eat too much ice cream, too many potato chips, or to drink too much coffee.” But for our stomach’s sake to take a little ice cream, a few potato chips and a cup of coffee may be good things. Solomon has already told us in Proverbs 24:13, “My son, eat thou honey because it is good, and the honey comb which is sweet to they taste.” The Holy Spirit has made honey a simile for the Word of God, and the Word of God is essential nutrition for our souls. We cannot have too much of God’s Word – but – too much bee’s honey is not good.
I usually glance at three commentaries in preparation for these devotionals simply because they are right there in my computer. Last week, I pulled out half a dozen books out of my library and looked at them. But usually I confine myself to Matthew Henry, John Gill and the commentary of Jamison, Fausett and Brown. JFB, usually supplies only a half dozen thoughts on any of these Proverbs, and that was the case with v. 27. But this time their first statement was the inscrutable – “satiety surfeits” – “sa-teye’-ety sur-fits.” The other commentaries used derivatives of these words, but not so concisely – “sa-teye’-ety sur-fits.” I even had to ask my computer how to pronounce those words – “sa-teye’-ety sur-fits.” “Sa-teye’-ety” is the condition of being “satiated” – a state of being full – completely full. “Sur-fit” speaks about being so full there isn’t room for anything else.
To eat too much honey will remove any desire for more honey, and perhaps of anything else. Proverbs 25:16 – “Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” Most of you have heard the story about my lack of enthusiasm for watermelon. It applies here, so I’ll give you the short Reader’s Digest version once again. When I was a child, on a very hot day, I ate too much watermelon and got sick – I vomited – and I’ve never been fond of it since. And I’ve also told you but my experience with t-bone steak while working in Wyoming. I had the offer of free t-bone steak every night – night after night, and I took full advantage of it. But after two weeks of steak every night, I had enough. I still eat steak – even t-bones – but for a while it wasn’t on my preferred menu. Most of us can think of something – usually some kind of food – for which our body says there is a limit. How about Nanaimo bars? One is not enough for me, two is definitely sufficient – three seems almost lethal. When it comes to Nanaimo bars “satiety definitely surfeits.” If you’ve never had one, tell us when you’ll next be here and I’ll try to get my wife to fix a plate.
But – far worse than too much honey or Nanaimo bars is too much glory – or inappropriate glory.
And to seek for that glory is even more poisonous than honey to a baby.
“It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.” The Hebrew word translated “glory” is also rendered “honour.” “For men to seek out their own honor is not honorable.” We might substitute the idea of “praise” although that is not one of the translations of the word. “For men to search out their own praise is not glorious.” In fact, it is often repulsive – until we become so conditioned to it we can’t smell its stench. This search for self-glory is as common today as pine needles all over our church parking lot at this time of year.
Proverbs 27:2 – “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth. A stranger, and not thine own lips.” Has there ever been a man worthy of self-glory? That is a trick question, because there has been such a man – the Lord Jesus Christ. But listen to what He says in John 5 – “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” That is – most thinking people don’t listen to other people’s self-praise – one’s own testimony of himself. Even if the Lord Jesus blew His own horn, people would eventually ignore the music. But Christ went on, “There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth…. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me…. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (But) ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men…. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”
Following that, the Lord made a different application – “How can YE believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” As long as people seek their own glory, they will never come to God in repentance and faith, glorifying Him. As long as people believe the press-clippings of their great accomplishments, they may not ever see their need of salvation. “For men to search their own glory is not glory.” I suppose it is good and helpful to encourage our children, pushing them to be their best at what they do. But it is a disaster to praise them for things which are not praise-worthy, leaving the impression they are better than they really are. Children are all sinners in need of the Saviour. It is to God’s glory we should seek.
II Corinthians 12 deals with this subject to some degree. Paul says in verse 1 – “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory.” We used that word “expedient” last Sunday – it is not fit, it is not appropriate – it is not beneficial. When it is truly appropriate, it is good to praise another person, but when there is no reason to praise, then we should be quiet. And it certainly is not beneficial to anyone to hear people glorify themselves. As Paul went on in that chapter he spoke of his vision and his visit to heaven where he saw and heard things which are not lawful for mere humans to repeat. Some people would take great pride in that sort of divine blessing, but Paul knew that “It (was) not expedient for him to glory in those things.”
Can you imagine one of the 5,000 people whom the Lord miraculously fed with bread and fish, to be boasting about how satiated he was that day 12 or 14 years earlier? What is the point of such self-praise? Praise the Lord for the miracle, yes. But to praise yourself for having been fed is ridiculous. Later in II Corinthians Paul confesses, “I have become a fool in glorying.” “For men to search their own glory is not glory.”
In fact it is just the opposite of glorious – it is foolishness. Because in truth, we have nothing about which to glory in ourselves. “As it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” – I Corinthians 1:31. And the preceding verse says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” II Corinthians 10:17-18 says, “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” Humility is one of the keys to God’s commendation.
I’ll close with what Matthew Henry said about this verse – “Two things we must be graciously DEAD to – to the pleasures of sense and to the praise of men.”