breadwine“Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of evil men… For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.” Proverbs 4:14, 17

Bread and wine… interesting choice of words for Solomon, the writer of Proverbs 4. In preparing for a message on this passage recently, this detail did not pass by me unnoticed. Interestingly, we see bread and wine pop up in Scripture often.

Bread is brought up often as a reference to food in general in the Bible, and is symbolic of receiving satisfaction. Likewise, wine appears frequently in Scripture and is typically symbolic of joy.

Some examples of bread symbolizing satisfaction include…

  • Gen. 3:19, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.”
  • Gen. 18:5, “and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves…”
  • Lev. 26:5, “And you shall eat your bread til you are full…”
  • Psalm 104:15, “…And bread which sustains man’s heart.”
  • Matt. 6:11, “Give us this day, our daily bread…”

Of course, Jesus also refers to Himself as the Bread of Life in John 6:35 – the ultimate source of our satisfaction.

Some examples of wine symbolizing joy include…

  • Job 1:13, “One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine…”
  • Psalm 4:7, “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.”
  • Psalm 104;15, “…Wine, which makes the heart of man glad…”
  • Pro. 3:10, “then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
  • Ecc. 2:3, “I tried cheering myself with wine,…”
  • Isa. 24:7, “The new wine dries up and the vine withers; all the merrymakers groan.”

The fascinating thing about bread and wine, is that we see them together frequently in Scripture, but never more clearly than at “The Last Supper” an event that we reenact in part today in commemoration of Jesus words during that meal. We typically refer to this memorial as “communion,” or “the Lord’s supper.” It was at this event that Jesus told the apostles, “Take eat [this bread], this is my body which is broken for you… This cup [of wine] is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for you…” When we take communion, not only are we “remembering the Lord’s death until He comes,” we’re also declaring “Jesus you are the Bread of Life, and the only thing that can ultimately satisfy my longing soul. You are the only One who can fill my life with joy unspeakable – full of glory!”

But in Proverbs 4, it says that those who find themselves on the path of the wicked “Eat the bread of wickedness,” and “drink the wine of violence.”

When we get our lives on the path of the wicked, we get everything backwards. Those in this passage get their satisfaction from rebellion and wickedness; they get their joy from harming others.

Whenever we get off the way of wisdom and down the path of the wicked, we’ll call wrong what God says is right – and call right what God says is wrong.

The net result? We rebel. And harm others. And get our satisfaction and joy from doing such. May God help us to not twist His Word, to love others and show mercy, to be humble and gracious – even as Jesus has been towards us. Remember this the next time you take of the bread and wine at communion.

Blessings, Pastor John