1 ¶ When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: 2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. 3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.
Again, here is some practical advice in layers. One would be to be on your guard when asked to sit at dinner with a powerful person. Don’t relax and feel secure and easy, because you are being watched. Another would be in the realm of the wickedness of human power. Don’t be envious of the luxuries and ease of living of the rich and powerful because that food is deceitful.
By the way, the word “meat”, in the Bible, often means “food”. Note how it’s used here not as flesh.
Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Be careful if you find yourself eating with rulers: powerful men, magistrates, or the wealthy, particularly if the purpose of the banquet is political, as Dr. Ruckman points out. A man was murdered at a banquet in 2Samuel 13:28. King Saul nearly murdered his own son during a meal in 1Samuel 20:33 and Haman’s visit to a banquet put on by Queen Esther resulted in his execution in Esther, chapter 7.
Psalm 141:4 Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.
Daniel 1:8 ¶ But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
For the Christian, one might go further and say to be careful about the approval of the powerful and mighty. Their delicacies, their dainties, are deceitful food. You will not be able to maintain your witness as a Bible Believer in front of the powerful. The place of the prophet is in front of the palace warning men not to go in and convicting of sin. It is not seated at the table with the wicked and the mighty, partaking of their sins with them.
Billy Graham, before William Randolph Hearst elevated him, had said in the late 1940’s that the two greatest dangers facing the world were Roman Catholicism and Islam. By the 1960’s he was receiving an honorary degree from a Catholic college. It’s strange what sitting at meat with rulers will do to an evangelist or a preacher.
When we lust after the delicacies of the wealthy and powerful we cannot lust after the things of God. If you find yourself at home watching the “covet box” and wishing you had “that” house or “this” car that someone in the elite has then you do not covet the things of God because God does not approve of our coveting things we don’t have. If you watch the doings of the politicos in Washington, the Royals in London, or the “gods” of the silver screen in Hollywood and wishing you could be in attendance you are either not a Christian or you are a carnal one at best.
If you are a person given to that appetite it is best to turn the “idiot box” off and do something else for entertainment. The dainties of the rulers are deceitful meat. Their delicacies are lies and intrigue, exploitation and abuse, and their end, in all too many cases, is a lake of unquenchable fire. Your testimony for Christ can only be harmed by your association with them. When you sit at meat in a Governor’s mansion, the White House under any president of either party, a palace in Europe, or a place like the Vatican you are sitting in Satan’s lair because he is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the Christian has no place there.