and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them always upon your heart;
tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For this commandment is a lamp, this teaching is a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the way to life,
24 to keep you from the evil woman,
from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
25 Do not lust in your heart for her beauty
or let her captivate you with her eyes.
Psalm 19:8 The precepts of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart; the commandments of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The meaning of (this scripture) ...is that the commandment, precept, law, or whatever is intended, should be always present to the mind. The heart suggests that they are to be linked to the affections, and the neck, that they will be an ornament decking the moral character. - Pulpit Commentary
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 6 These words I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as reminders on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.
Now, some of the Jews have literally put the commands of God in a little black box and bound them by leather straps to their head and on their hands. They are called phylacteries.
Sort of like Christians wearing crosses or mustard seed pendants or scripture bracelets. Does it mean something to you or is it just for show? Or do you think it's a protection or good luck charm? If it is, you've missed the point. The point is to continually fill your heart with the Word of God so that it begins to affect your life and is worked out in words, deeds, actions that reflect the change He has made in you. You can't do it by osmosis. You have to actually read it. And you have to not be a reader only but a do-er of the Word. I.e., when you read the Word and it says to forgive others, but you are harboring grudges, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness... then you are a reader only and not a do-er. Can we do all the things God commands, in our own strength? No, absolutely not. If we could we might begin to think we don't need God. But God did not leave us alone on this earth to struggle to fulfill His commands all by ourselves and then punish us when we don't measure up. God loves us. He sent His Son to die for us to provide the way back to Him. Once we accept Jesus Christ, then God puts the Holy Spirit within us to help us, enable us, empower us, teach us, train us if we will but listen and cooperate. He also gave us His Word and His Word is miraculously endowed with power to change our hearts if we will but read it and cooperate with the Holy Spirit within us. We have to have a heart for God. And, here in America, what excuse do we have not to know the Bible? We have Bibles in every translation and language. We have churches with pastors who are learned in the Word and can teach us. We have Bible study groups everywhere. We have books, magazines, websites, study resources, podcasts... we have no excuse. Remember, in one of our previous lessons on Proverbs, we learned about spiritual sloth and why it's one of the seven deadly sins (although all sin is deadly). It's apathy towards God. No desire to seek Him and to learn about Him.
God gives us the commands, the godly wisdom, in His Word. He provided a way of reconciliation between Himself and His people, Jesus Christ. We can be saved! Forgiven! Cleansed and covered with His Righteousness! He has given us the Holy Spirit (part of the godhead!) to indwell in each believer. He has given us His Word and it's power to transform. In America, He has provided us with Christian colleges, churches, preachers, teachers, scholars, resources, communication technology, etc in order to give us every chance to learn all we can. There is nothing He has withheld from us and yet we don't take advantage of it?
We should bind the Word to our hearts and our hands. If we do this and it works out in our lives in godly words and actions then the Word is an ornament to us. Like wearing a beautiful necklace around our throat or a bracelet on our hand. It's attractive.
1 Peter 3:3-4 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
- Have you ever thought about the contrast of a person who may not be physically attractive but has a beautiful heart versus a person who may be beautiful outside but has a pig's heart?
- Can you think of someone in your life who is not physically attractive but has the most beautiful heart and therefore is someone you treasure? As we age, none of us are attractive any longer. Or maybe disease or injury has marred us. But we can still be attractive to those around us by having a beautiful heart that is worked out in loving words and deeds. We can still be loved and treasured by those around us if we practise God's Word.
- In these verses, how can we have a beautiful heart?
- What are you binding to your heart?
- How can you bind the Word to your heart?
- Are your words and actions coming from a beautiful heart?
- When others see you, are they seeing just an exterior, physical you? Everyone makes a first impression and, of course, we want it to be a good impression. But does that exterior facade reflect who you really are? Or are you hiding behind it? What are the secrets you are hiding? Do you really want to live that way, being one person externally and another one in secret?
- Do you have a heart after God? Are you pursuing Him? Are you taking advantage of the opportunities you have to know Him better? Or have you been spiritually slothful? You can change that.
For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.