Proverbs 3:3-4 (KJV) 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.
Proverbs 3:3-4 (NIV) 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
Proverbs 3:3-4 (YLT) 3 Let not kindness and truth forsake thee, Bind them on thy neck, Write them on the tablet of thy heart,
4 And find grace and good understanding In the eyes of God and man.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
let loving devotion - חֶ֥סֶד (ḥe·seḏ) - Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2617: Kindness, piety, reproof, beauty
Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon adds kindness (especially as extended to the lowly, needy and miserable), mercy.
or faithfulness - וֶאֱמֶ֗ת (we·’ĕ·meṯ) - Conjunctive waw | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 571: Stability, certainty, truth, trustworthiness, reliability
God shows us mercy and therefore we should show mercy to our fellow man. We should extend the grace that has been extended to us. God has been faithful to us and we should be faithful to Him and to our fellow man.
Mercy and love are a part of God's Nature. Because God is the initiator, the mercy He gives is gracious, unmerited, undeserved. We are recipients of His mercy. He has mercifully provided a way of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. He loved us enough to provide a way of escape. We do not deserve a relationship with God but He made the way for us to have a relationship with Him! When we are aware of God's mercy and love towards us, we respond in love towards Him and we become channels of God's mercy in the church and to the world.
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
The two elements of a morally perfect character:
(1) "Mercy," shutting out all forms of selfishness and hate.
(2) "Truth," shutting out all deliberate falsehood, all hypocrisy, conscious or unconscious.
1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.
Ephesians 5:1-2 1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, 2 and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.
1 John 4:7-12 (NIV) 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Have you ever thought that God is merciful in not revealing all our sins at one fell swoop? I think if I saw my sins and the evil in me and around me, I would think I couldn't be saved. If He revealed the truth without mercy I would probably blow my brains out and end in Hell because I couldn't handle the truth. On the other hand, if God extends mercy without revealing truth, we might not understand how much we need Him and the seriousness of our situation. We might go to hell in a handbasket, cosseted and spoiled literally to death. For the right results, truth and mercy go hand in hand. God knows just how much truth to reveal to lead us to His feet in surrender and repentance. He knows just how much mercy to show so that we aren't overwhelmed and destroyed by the truth but rather run to Him for salvation.
In this world we must show mercy but we also must show truth. If we are so "merciful" and loving someone may not realize their need for a Savior. They may go to hell because they never saw the need of salvation. They think they are just fine without Jesus. But if we are so truthful we end in being harsh and severe and people will reject our message of the gospel. We need godly wisdom to know when to extend mercy and love and when to be truthful. We have to be faithful to God and present the truth, but we must also be faithful to God and extend mercy and grace.
How do we write these on the tablets of our heart? How do we bind them as a necklace around our neck?
There can be things written in our heart that are good and things that are bad.
Jeremiah 17:1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;
2 Corinthians 3:3 It is clear that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NLT) 31 “The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the LORD.
33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the LORD. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the LORD. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”
Of King Rehoboam it is said: “And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD” (2 Chronicles 12:14).
Ezra, on the other hand, “had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it” (Ezra 7:10).
Prepare your heart to receive the Word of God. As much as it lays within you, be open minded to the Word. Of course, the Holy Spirit is within you to help you understand. But He must have cooperation with you which means you must be receptive and willing to learn about God through His Word.
Read the Word. Sounds so simple but we must take the Bible out and open it and place our eyes on the words and read it. You can't learn it by osmosis. You may have a Bible in your home but it does no good if you don't ever open it. Pray before you read and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand it.
Listen to the Word. That means going to church, listening to it on TV or radio, listen to it like you would a podcast on your smart phone.
Write the Word. Rehearse scripture by writing it out. For instance, when you do your daily devotion and read the Bible, pick a verse and write it out in your journal. Then write it in your own words.
Meditate on the Word. Think about it and how it may apply to you or to situations you are aware of.
Pray it. Read your scripture. Pray about it and pray it.
Sing it. There are plenty of scripture songs you can learn on Youtube.
Read it outloud so that you are reading it and hearing it.
How do you apply the Word? How do you show others the Word has changed you? I.e. how do you wear it like a pendant around your neck so others can see the Word and to remind you of the Word?
When you read the Bible (with prayer and a receiving heart), something natural happens. There are going to be changes in you. It's natural fruit that occurs when the Word is planted in your heart and watered with your careful attention. You don't have to force yourself to be kinder and gentler, it happens because of the work going on in your heart.
Others should be able to see the difference just like they see a new necklace you are wearing. The Word in your heart is shining out.
- Have you ever read the Bible all the way through from Genesis to Revelation? I encourage you to do that. When I was a young girl, my parents gave me my very own Bible. But it was a King James Version and I tried to read it but couldn't get past the first few chapters. My mind was not educated and mature enough to be able to interpret that old English. Then, my Aunt gave me a Living Bible when I was a teenager. I was able to read it and understand what it was saying. I read it from cover to cover. Then I got a New American Standard and read it from cover to cover. Then I got a New King James Version. Each time I was more mature in my ability to comprehend what I was reading. I love the many translations we have now! But my advice is to start with one of the easy-to-read translations or paraphrases (like the Living Bible, The Message, Contemporary English Version). Read it all the way through. Don't get bogged down in details and questions. You'll come back to that later. Right now you are getting the big picture and developing that base. Then go back and read it again but in another translation. Go to classes, get books on subjects you are concerned about, and begin the lifelong process of learning the Word of God.
- Do you make time to read the Word every day? Even if it's just a few verses in a devotional, that's better than nothing. See it like taking a spiritual vitamin for your spiritual health.
- Have you ever thought about how engraving it into your heart makes it a part of you? Can you think of other things that seem to be bone deep in you? That's the way the Word should be.
- Why would this affect your relationships with others? Why would this give us favor and understanding with God and man?
- Is your heart hardened so that God's Word can't be written on it? Do you have a heart of stone? God can change that.
- Have you ever been two-faced? Where you tell God one thing but tell people something else? Repentance leads to forgiveness and mercy. How can you turn this around in your life and be faithful and loyal to God as He has been to you?
- Can you understand why mercy and truth should go together?
For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.