27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.
1. This is the second reference to honey in this chapter.
a. Honey was a good illustration to use because it was familiar to everyone in Solomon’s day.
b. It was their sweetener and their candy: and who doesn’t love sweets?
c. Honey is used in a similar way in both illustrations. It speaks to the fact that while a little might be ok, too much makes one sick!
2. In verse 16, Solomon used honey to illustrate the fact that while going over to your neighbor’s house is good (like honey is good), going over too often can actually make your neighbors sick of you—like eating too much honey.
3. The same concept is now applied to a different situation.
a. In this proverb, Solomon is speaking about men (or women) who “search their own glory.”
b. The point is the same: too much makes people sick!
1. Eating too much honey is “not good.”
a. The word “good” here means beneficial; appropriate; pleasant; agreeable; etc.
b. Eating too much honey is not pleasant; it is not agreeable… especially to the stomach. It can make you sick!
2. Proverbs 25:16 also spoke of this truth, but added more details.
a. This verse states that one should only eat enough honey that is sufficient.
b. Don’t eat too much. Don’t eat MORE than is sufficient.
c. Honey was not intended to be a meal.
d. Eating too much can cause a person to become sick and vomit.
e. Too much honey makes a person sick to their stomach.
f. Thus, verse 27 tells us that eating too much honey is not good. It is not fitting; it is not appropriate; it is not pleasant.
g. It might SEEM pleasant as you are eating it—and the tendency is to overdo something that is so enjoyable.
h. However, after a while, it will catch up to you and make you sick.
i. Thus, the advice here is to eat only as is sufficient.
j. Don’t go overboard—for you will regret it later. You may get sick and vomit it out!
k. Eating honey is pleasant and agreeable; getting sick and vomiting is not.
27b So for men to search their own glory
1. The terms:
a. Search: This term means to seek out; to investigate in order to find.
b. Glory: Honor; glory; wealth; that which is valued.
2. Solomon is speaking about a man (or woman!) who is self-seeking… seeking their own honor; popularity; prestige; glory.
a. Seeking one’s own glory refers to seeking to make a big splash for self.
b. It speaks of self exaltation: seeking to make a big name for oneself.
c. It speaks of seeking any kind of advance, self promotion, or advantage that would draw attention to self.
d. It speaks of the man who is full of himself and seeks to be even fuller!
e. They court the applause of men and covet praise of others.
f. They seek to be popular; admired; well liked; looked up to.
g. Solomon is speaking about the man or woman who is constantly tooting their own horn:
• They boast about how spiritual they are; how much they give; how much they serve; how many tracts they passed out; how long they pray; how many good deeds they have done; etc.
• Actually, others don’t need to know any of that!
• If you want to be rewarded for your good deeds, then don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Don’t toot your own horn.
• This is what the Pharisees did. They did good works to be SEEN of men… to receive the applause of men… to be exalted in the sight of men. It was sickening to the Lord.
3. It is part of our fallen human nature for men to seek their own glory.
a. It is the sin of PRIDE that afflicts us all. It is the pride of life.
b. In a sense, it is the sin of IDOLATRY – giving glory to self that belongs to God.
c. It is the opposite of a Christ-like, SELFLESS attitude that seeks the welfare of others.
d. John 5:44 – Jesus pointed out this flaw in human nature: “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?”
4. This is a common theme in the Scriptures.
a. Prov. 27:2 – “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth.”
b. Prov. 18:12 – “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.” Men seek for honor and don’t attain it. Men who walk in humility DO attain it!
c. Phil. 2:3 – “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
1. It is not wrong to speak about oneself.
a. That is almost necessary at times. In normal, everyday conversation we discuss what we did for the day; where we went; what we were able to get done. That’s normal and natural.
b. But there is an invisible line, which when crossed takes us beyond that which is good to that which is not good… in fact, to the point of being sickening.
• When friends are gathered, often stories of events in our lives are told as part of good conversation.
• But when one person dominates the conversation talking exclusively about himself, after two or three stories, it becomes sickening to all.
2. Not glory:
a. Note the italicized words: “is not”
• Something needs to be added to make sense of the statement.
• Thus, it has been translated in a couple of different ways.
• One way is to seek glory piled upon glory.
1. Holman: or to seek glory after glory.
2. NRSV: or to seek honor on top of honor.
• The other way is to understand it as the KJV does—which is the most prevalent way.
1. Something has to be added here. The KJV added the thought “not good” from the first part of the proverb—which is perfectly sensible.
2. It means something along the lines of “seeking too much glory is not glorious!”
• The difference in overall meaning is miniscule. Solomon’s point is crystal clear: seeking to glorify and exalt oneself is not glorious at all. In fact, it is disgusting and shameful.
3. To show just HOW inglorious it is, Solomon likens seeking glory to eating too much honey.
a. Eating a little honey is good.
• A little honor/glory is good too—in this sense.
• A man should seek to lead a life that is honorable.
• We should seek to lead a life that is a good testimony for the Lord.
• When we do, we will earn a good reputation and bring honor to our name.
• It is good and wholesome and spiritually healthy for a believer to be concerned about his/her reputation—our testimony before God and men.
• We desire to have a good reputation. It is like honey—sweet and good.
• One man (Charles Bridges) worded this thought interestingly: “This carefulness is a virtue on the brink of becoming a vice; a duty on the border of imminent danger.”
• His point was that it is possible to take that which is good too far and drive it over the edge… and thus to cross the line from good to bad…
• There is often a fine line between seeking to be a good testimony BEFORE men and seeking honor and approval FROM men.
• It is good to be careful to maintain a good reputation and to LEAD an honorable life.
• However, SEEKING honor for self—and especially seeking honor upon honor—glory upon glory—is like eating too much honey. That crosses the line.
b. Prov. 25:16 – It makes you sick and causes you to vomit!
c. Prov. 27:7 – When you are full of honey, any more is loathsome!
• There is nothing particularly glorious about vomiting or watching a person vomit.
• The one who seeks to exalt himself is sickening. It results in regurgitation.
4. Far better is it to follow the Lord’s admonition in Luke 14:11:
a. “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
b. The right way to be honored is not to exalt self, but to humble self… and let God do the exalting at the Bema seat.
c. Prov. 27:2 – “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”
d. A truly honorable man doesn’t have to SEEK honor from men. He simply needs to live an honorable life.