Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man (Prov 3:3-4).
I love this verse! It is followed by one of the most famous proverbs – which will examine next time – so it can be easily overlooked. That’s a teaser for next Wednesday, but if you can’t wait you can find the “famous one” here. 😉
The first line is covenant language. Faithfulness (trustworthiness/Truth) and steadfast love characterize God’s behavior toward His people. And in return, since covenants are reciprocal, His people are expected to return faithfulness and steadfast love to Him. Whenever you see covenant language, remember that the analogy God uses to teach us about covenants is marriage. As a husband shows love and faithfulness to His wife, so a wife should show love and faithfulness to her husband. God is the husband and His people are the wife/bride.
His faithfulness results in our trust in His character; knowing Him allows us to put our faith in Him. Putting our faith in God is life changing! Trusting in God’s character means that, because we know Him, our allegiance is with Him. Because our allegiance is with Him, we desire to please Him and honor Him above others. Because we desire to please Him, we will obey, walking in His ways. This is the life-changing part – the Holy Spirit grows our love and faith and trust in Him.
And our love, faith, and trust in God should be obvious to others, like a beautiful necklace which would adorn our necks (v. 3). This reminds me of another Proverb: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Prov 31:30). This is another time where we cannot chase the product (in this case approval of others). Instead, as we live a life pleasing to Him, this is perceived as something precious and beautiful, that can seen by all.
I LOVE this image: write them [steadfast love and faithfulness] on the tablet of your hearts (v.3). Maybe this appeals to me because I am a writer. I love words! Writing makes meaning, creates connections. And writing something on your heart means (1) it touches you deeply, (2) you are marked by it, and (3) you will always remember it.
Finally, in verse 4 (So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man), we are reminded of one of God’s basic principles: Sowing and Reaping (Gal 6:7-8). He is telling us that if we obediently covenant with Him, we are choosing the path that leads to favor and good success. God is teaching us, for our good, how He set things up in the world.
To me this is something very powerful about the Word. So in this proverb (in both verses 3 and 4), He is demonstrating that by seeking after (sowing) relationship with Him, we will find (reap) favor with Him and the change that is wrought in our lives will bring us favor with others. This is NOT “quid pro quo”, not transactional, not “I scratch your back and you scratch mine”. We don’t see this everyday, in every situation, immediately. Instead, this is the guiding principle that orders all life: reconciliation with God brings peace.
That is the Good News! This is in keeping with what Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). This is something to tell everyone about – especially our children! I hope you can ponder this in your heart today and find peace. 🙂