Life Can Be a Continual Feast

Yael Eckstein  |  August 20, 2021

Olim family eating dinner around round table

All the days of the oppressed are wretched,
    but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
— Proverbs 15:15

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

Winston Churchill famously said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” And this seems to be the lesson of Proverbs 15:15: “All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.” In other words, the life of an oppressed person is dominated by pain and suffering, but if one keeps a positive attitude, then life can be a “continual feast.”

But I think there is something deeper in this verse if we read it carefully. Let’s start with the Hebrew word for “oppressed,” ani. In many places in the Bible, the word ani refers specifically to a poor person. A poor person is needy. They are oppressed because their needs are not being met.

Does having a cheerful heart really make everything better if someone can’t put food on the table? Does my life become “a continual feast” with the right attitude even though I can’t feed my family?

Life Can Be a ‘Continual Feast’

I believe that this verse is not really talking about someone who is poor and oppressed in the usual sense. A person can be “oppressed” for many different reasons. Some people are, in fact, oppressed by dictators or cruel people who control their lives. But a lot of people are oppressed by their own attitudes.

Some people have all the money they could ever use and still feel “needy” because they are never satisfied. They are needy because their materialistic desires leave them constantly wanting more. Yet as King Solomon, author of Proverbs, reminds us, “the cheerful heart has a continual feast.”

If we appreciate what God has given us, if we joyfully thank Him for what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t have, life can be a continual feast and celebration of God’s blessings.

Your Turn:

Today in your prayers, instead of asking God for something, thank Him for what you have. Let’s celebrate God’s blessings today!

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