13 Ignore the Word and suffer; honor God's commands and grow rich. (Proverbs 13:13)
Our text this morning offers a pretty somber warning - ignore the Word and you will certainly suffer! It also offers a pretty awesome reminder - honor God's commands and you will grow rich! Okay, don't get me wrong, study of God's Word is not a "get rich quick" scheme! It is actually a pretty orderly, sequential growth process that has many rewards for the one who takes the time to make the investment into taking it in.
Later in this same chapter, the writer tells us that an appetite for good brings much satisfaction. We have many ways of satisfying the appetite we have. If we want chocolate, we purchase a chocolate bar, peel back the wrapper and dig in. If we want a salty snack, we may rip open a bag of peanuts and chow down. The Word of God is often referred to as that which satisfies the cravings, or longings, of our soul. If we want some good "soul food", we need to just open the cover and dig in!
When we neglect, or disregard, what is given to us for our spiritual health and well-being, we soon become "starved" for that which our spirit literally craves. There is a "death" or spiritual "anemia" that occurs when we neglect to have a regular and consistent "intake" of the Word. That is why the writer of Proverbs tells us we will suffer if we ignore it! What is fed grows - what is neglected dies. We sometimes find ourselves complaining, "I am just not growing." Well, are we "feeding" on the right stuff?
A short verse within this same Proverb tells us that the teaching of the wise is a fountain of life with a warning to stop drinking from "tainted" wells. What we allow into our minds affects our spirit. When we are filling our minds with a consistent intake of the Word, we are building our spirits and allowing the Word to reshape us. When we are negligent in regular intake of the Word, we are "shaped" by whatever we are allowing as intake in its place.
We need to learn to be as wise in our spiritual "food" intake as we are in our natural intake. We cannot consistently eat "junk" food and expect to look like beauty queens! We need a balance - not huge portions, just consistent intake. Let's learn to take God's Word in on a regular basis, shall we? It is time to "peel back the wrapper" on what will really satisfy our hungry souls.