PROVERB PRACTICALS The godly son, proverbs 3:1-4, audio
Proverbs 3:1-4, My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: (2) For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. (3) Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: (4) So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
These proverbs are addressed to the builder of the family name.
They are addressed to a father's son and are intended to help the son continue in the building of the family name.
Therefore all things the father does toward his son are aimed toward this well defined purpose of building.
The son is not being reared using hit or miss methods or using no method at all.
This son is not growing like an unwanted weed but is being carefully nurtured as a flower would be in the father's nursery.
This father is not ignorant of how to rear a son for the purpose of the father in defined in verse 4:
So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
He desires his son to be known as a man of understanding before God and before men.
He wants his son to be equipped to live amongst men; he wants his son to receive God's favor or God's grace as he lives among men for his son's testimony before men is important to him.
This father has a purpose in rearing his son and he intends to instruct his son in order that this purpose be realized.
His first instruction to his son relates to his law.
The father has established law, he has established precepts, principles, and statutes that he desires his son give attention.
He has established parameters and boundaries within which he expects his son to live and he teaches him to not forget those boundaries.
This does not mean that he wants them only to be memorized.
He does not intend for him to only know them as he would a simple list of facts.
When he says don't forget, he means, don't be oblivious to my precepts, my statutes, my law.
Give attention to them. I mean for them to be important in life.
The father means for them to be so important in the son's life that he wants his commandments to be kept in the son's heart.
The father wants the son to keep his heart with all diligence; for he knows that out of it are the issues of life.
He wants the son's heart to be the recipient of his instruction and he wants his heart to be the keeper of his law.
Lock them in your heart, guard, protect, preserve, maintain them, he tells his son.
Only by being in the son's heart will the truth of his law be available to withdraw as the needs of life arise.
He tells his son "My law will be that which is there to battle against your nature to sin."
The father does not desire his son to only keep his commandments outwardly.
He desires his son to obey from the heart.
The father's standard is that only obedience from the heart is acceptable to the father.
The father knows that the heart is the problem and therefore the father desires that his son's heart be the repository of the father's laws.
All else is vanity and satisfaction of self and unacceptable to the father.
All else is simply an outward show for self serving purposes, simply lip service, simply religion performed for the rewards of this world.
So with his heart being the repository of the fatherís lawís the father promises benefit to the son.
He promises length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to the son.
The father's law, the father's commandments are designed for the betterment of the son's life, they are designed for continued life on earth but ultimately they are designed for eternal life.
The father does not make laws for his son that lessen life, that shorten life, that takes life.
The father's laws are not vindictive or grievous.
The father's law, if in the heart, is not a burden, it is not a restraint.
All the father's commands are to promote life.
Length of life is a promise to those that keep the father's commandments because all commandments and all his judgments are given in behalf of life.
Length of days is a promise to the righteous.
Some spend more of those days on earth than others do, but all of the father's sons are promised long life.
We are not to confine ourselves with this life in regard to this proverb.
We know that as regards this life the wicked may live long and the righteous may die young.
As Solomon rightly concludes in Eccl 9:2, All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.
The fool makes his conclusions from what he sees in this life and concludes that that is all there is to include in his deliberations.
He sees that all things come alike to all.
But the father tells his son that it is valuable to keep his commandments.
There are great benefits as far as life is concerned.
The fool looks at this life and concludes the father wrong.
But the son believes the father and hides his word in his heart.
The fatherís words are not written in tables of stone for the believing son, but are written in fleshly tables of the heart of the believing son.
You see he simply believes the father loves him and he believes that anything the father does or says is for the benefit and betterment of the son.
Therefore he believes and this belief opens the entrance of the heart where the law and the commandments can now be safety placed and kept by the son.
The father continues his instruction to his son by admonishing him to:
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: (4) So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Our Proverbs father knows that mercy and truth are inextricably connected to God and if his son is to have mercy and truth bound about his neck so must his son be bound to God.
He knows of Psalm 33:22, Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.
So without hope in him we shut ourselves off to his mercy.
But this father wants his son to be a son of mercy and truth.
Note how Solomon joins mercy to truth.
This is an important combination and mercy must always be joined to truth to be like God's mercy.
Psalm 25:10, tells us that, All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Every path the Lord is involved in is bounded by mercy and truth.
Those who keep his covenant and his testimonies, those who hope in him are to be bounded by mercy and truth.
Solomon expresses this in this proverb by reminding his son to wear mercy and truth as they were a precious ornamental necklace about his neck.
A necklace ever present worn throughout life reminding his son of the instruction to be merciful and truthful in his mercy.
The necklace is to be visible to all men not for your glory, son but for God's glory.
It is not to be hidden to some and visible to others.
It is to be constantly worn because mercy is to be constantly exercised.
Mercy and truth are to be engraved deeply, permanently on the tablets of your heart.
Record the need to be merciful in truth in your daily deliberations, in the paths that you trod, every instance of the day have mercy and truth in your mind.
Be clothed in mercy and truth is the instruction that Solomon gives to his son.
What is this mercy that Solomon wants for his son?
He wants his son to see the need around him and to use the resources that God gives his son, to fill those needs.
He wants his son to see the need of salvation of the sinner and the need to give the sinner the Gospel but only in truth.
No hidden motives, no desire for reward, no consideration of payback. No desire for self promotion.
No 'you owe me one' now that I have met your need.
He wants his son to be merciful to his wife and to his children because there are needs and he has the resources to fill them.
He wants his son to see the need of the church body and provide what he has to help the church body.
That is what God gives his son resources for.
Solomon tells his son: Don't permit yourself to get in a position where you do not see the need.
Where you do not fill the need when God has given you the resource to fill the need.
Don't shut up your bowels of mercy by filling yourself with yourself.
Let not mercy and truth forsake you son because you allow no room in your heart.
Don't let mercy walk out on you because you have no time to be sensitive to the needs of others.
Don't let mercy and truth forsake you because you choke off the mercy that God gives according to the hope that you have in him.
Mercy, unless exercised, will leave you son, mercy and truth must be used like a muscle or it will die in you.
God expects you to seek and ye shall find and that includes the act of being merciful.
Are there not needs around where mercy can be extended?
Are you a pauper in merciful deeds?
Do you need practice to build your mercy muscles? Just look around son.
Get your eyes and your mind off yourself and start writing mercy and truth on the tablets of your heart.
This world is filled with opportunities to exercise mercy and God desires that his children exercise mercy on His behalf.
Son, my desire for you is that your life be a life where mercy and truth is your way of life.
My son: Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.
If you sow mercy you will reap mercy.
Don't you desire the mercy of God?
He gives it to you so you can give it to others. Don't let it forsake you!
So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Mercy and truth do that for you son!
When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
And it please the Lord for his children to exhibit mercy and truth to those around them. Opportunities abound!
Are not mercy and truth so rare as to attract good will of men?
Exhibit mercy and truth in your daily walk and your testimony will bring glory to God.
You will have success in the sight of God and man!
Jesus Christ perfectly exemplified this instruction as shown in:
Luke 2:52, And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
How easy it is to see Jesus as the Son in this proverb, but also we must see ourselves!