The Book of Proverbs

Lesson 8 - “Wisdom For Better Health”

by Pastor Frank J. Cuozzo

Pastor Frank Cuozzo

Proverbs 3:5-8, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”

We have been doing a study from the book of Proverbs. We’ve already looked at Solomon’s request for an understanding heart to rule God’s people, then we looked at “Help for Hotheads” the scriptural answer to anger management, we saw why we need to be “Mastering Our Mouths,” we saw how to find fantastic friends, we learned about the worst of all sins-Pride, Leaving laziness and Eliminating Envy. Today we are going to look at Wisdom for Better Health. Believe it or not, God’s Word has much to say concerning health, especially spiritual. Since God created us Spirit, soul and body, He knows what’s best for man.

In Genesis 1:29 we find God’s original diet for man in the Garden of Eden. The Bibles says, “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 (Solid Food).” After the flood, man was allowed in addition to the fruits and vegetables, to consume animal flesh for food.

Genesis 9:1-3 says, “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”


Do you enjoy being sick? Do you want to feel good? We all would like to live long, healthy lives, but our nation is really in a health crisis. For example, more than 20 million Americans are overweight or obese. About 10% of the problem is genetic, but 90% of us are overweight because we consume far more calories than we burn.

According to the American Heart Association, the average American ingests about 150 pounds of sugar per year, or a half-pound a day. A large portion of that comes from those twelve-ounce soft drinks, which each have about twelve teaspoons of sugar. We have today an epidemic of heart disease, cancer and diabetes which is worsening day by day.

And so we know that certain foods are not good for our health. The truth is that when man takes God’s foods and processes and chemicalizes them, it makes them harmful to the human body and basically unfit for human consumption.

Not only can processed foods be harmful, but some experts estimate that 50% of all physical illnesses are emotionally induced. It is estimated that 80% of all headaches are emotionally induced. God gives us an enormous amount of information in the Bible about maintaining good health. The commands and principles in God's Word are not only for our spiritual health but for our physical health as well. In order to have Wisdom for better health, let’s look at five things from the Word of God.

#1) Don’t Overeat.

The word that the Bible uses for overeating is "gluttony." Proverbs 23:19-21 says, “Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way. Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.”

Why? Because gluttons are more concerned with consuming than working. Gluttony is a sin because it makes satisfying a physical craving the most important thing in life, or a god.

In the late 1960's, the seating capacity of a church auditorium was based on eighteen inches per person. However, today we allow at least twenty-four inches for each person to be seated comfortably. The posteriors of Americans are expanding.

It's really funny how we deceive ourselves about how much we eat. A man was ordering a pizza and the waitress asked him, "Do you want your pizza cut into six or eight pieces?" The man replied, "You'd better make it six... I don't think I can eat eight." We said that wisdom for better health includes not being a glutton and,

#2) Eat A Balanced Diet.

A balanced diet is open for debate but basically a balanced diet includes meat, veggies, fruit, legumes and grains. Balanced means not to take just one and overeat but have a balance of all the food groups. I believe that foods should be eaten in their natural state that is raw, if at all possible. Heating kills the live enzymes in food and thus its nutritional value is compromised.  

In the OT God forbade the Jews from eating certain kinds of meat as a way of showing reverence for Him. While Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in Babylonian captivity they were chosen to enter the king's service. Part of their training included eating and drinking from the king's table. Apparently, Daniel was the spokesman for the four. He did not want to defile himself by eating unclean or forbidden meats. Therefore, he asks that for ten days they be given nothing but vegetables and water, and then compared with the young men who ate the king's food.

Let’s look at that story in Daniel 1:1-21, “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. 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. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse (vegetables) to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.” (69 years)

And so diet and balance are important factors in our physical health. Wisdom for better health includes not overeating, eating a balanced diet and,

#3) Maintain a regular exercise program.

God created our bodies to move and be active. We all know that some exercise is good for us, but most of us are not committed to do it faithfully. One of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible is I Timothy 4:8 which says, “Bodily exercise profiteth little.” Most teach that since bodily exercise only profits us a little then it must not matter much if we do any. That’s nuts.

I believe that the Bible doesn't emphasize exercise much because in biblical times almost everyone got plenty of physical exercise. They walked everywhere and because they didn't have running water or electricity, much more activity was involved in just daily living. Therefore, they worked off excess weight. However, most of us are like the woman who signed up for an exercise class. The instructor told her to wear loose clothing to class. She responded, "Listen, if I had any loose clothing, I wouldn't need this class."

Most exercise programs are overdone and are designed to get you into the shape of an Olympic athlete. However, the greatest health benefit in exercise is during the first 15 minutes. The difference between doing nothing and exercising 15 minutes three times a week is much greater than the difference between exercising 15 minutes and 30-45 minutes. Yes, exercising 30-45 minutes three or four times a week is ideal, but just 15 minutes three times a week versus nothing will make a tremendous difference.

Regular exercise helps prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and depression. Therefore, we should have an exercise program to take care of our bodies because of the fact that our bodies are the temple of God’s Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 6:19 reminds us, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.”

The most common excuse for not exercising is "I don't have time." Well, do you have time to be sick or in the hospital? If we don't find time for regular exercise, we will eventually have to find time to be sick. Wisdom for better health means you don't overeat, you eat a balanced diet, maintain a regular exercise program, and...

#4) Learn to laugh daily.

One of the most important things I do on Sunday mornings is to make people laugh. That's not easy because most people take themselves and life way too seriously. Did you know that God wants us to laugh? Proverbs 17:22 says that, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Solomon wrote that proverb about 3,000 years ago. Modern medical science is just now finding out how true it is. Research is being done for people with terminal diseases and they are finding that the group that laughs the most lasts the longest. One of the best things you can do to minister to other people is to make them smile and laugh. Wisdom for better health means you don't overeat, you eat a balanced diet, maintain a regular exercise program, learn to laugh daily and...

#5) Find peace with God.

Even more than diet, exercise, and laughter, to be healthy we must be spiritually right with God. The book of Proverbs 3:7 & 8 tells us, “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”

Proverbs 10:27 also tells us that, “The fear of the Lord prolongeth days.” Why does being right with God bring health to our bodies and longer lives? Because only then will we find the peace of God that passes all human understanding in our hearts. We can only find peace when we have our sins forgiven, get rid of our guilt, and find a purpose for living.

A great way to improve our health is to get right spiritually with God and then take care of our physical bodies. God wants us to take care of our bodies because of the command in Romans 12:1 to, “Present our bodies a living sacrifice.” God doesn't want us to offer Him a body that is weak and unhealthy because we have abused or neglected it. We should offer Him as healthy a body as we possibly can, so we are able to fulfill His purpose for our lives. To serve Him.

Let’s pray.

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