In this verse Proverbs continues the theme of “riches" (wealth NASB) (implied, not in the Hebrew at this point). At first I thought this was a simple point. It seemed we were reflecting on the importance of our focus, where our “eyes” (5869) are “set” (5774a). I thought we were dealing with the issues of priorities and to what we are really committed. Then I looked a little deeper.
That is the problem with Bible study. It doesn’t always tell you what you want to hear. I first looked to see some pithy meaning to “set” (5774a). I was totally confused when I saw it meant “fly.” “Fly?” Since I am limited in my knowledge of Hebrew I looked at some other translations.
(Proverbs 23:5 Douay) Lift not up thy eyes to riches which thou canst not have: because they shall make themselves wings like those of an eagle, and shall fly towards heaven.
(Proverbs 23:5 CEV) Your money flies away before you know it, just like an eagle suddenly taking off.
For riches can disappear as though they had the wings of a bird! (NLT)So in a backhanded way it is saying keep your focus on the things of God. It is warning us not to let our eyes fly away and focus on the secondary.
It is so easy to get distracted. As I write this Christmas is just a few days away. We are surrounded by the aggressive attacks of commercialism that perpetually tries to drown out the message of Christmas. Gift giving is a wonderful part of Christmas but the guilt that goes with not finding the “right” gift can blanket the joy of knowing the open secret of God’s gift. Time with family can draw us away from time with God.
I am wallowing in the season. I love it, but I am also keeping my focus on Jesus. Galatians talks about the fullness of time. John talks about the Word becoming flesh. Don’t take your eyes off the incarnation and the atonement to focus on the tree.
At this point I realize the passage is dealing with wealth, but that is okay because the real point is to keep our eyes on Jesus.
So? Enjoy the season. Joy to the world not only because the Lord has come but because the Lord “is” come. And He is still with us. Remember that when the tree takes on wings and goes to the dump. Remember that when the decorations become as rare as eagles and are hidden in the closet. The Lord is.