Once again a key message for us in the Proverbs focuses our thoughts on the condition of our hearts – and how good (or otherwise) our heart is in establishing and maintaining our relationship with our spiritual Creator – the Son.

Today’s ch. 3 starts, “My son (or daughter), do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments.”  The reward for doing so is that “length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”[v.2]  This is followed by the advice to “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” [v.3]

The spiritual equivalent of doing this is clear – as is the evidence of those Jews who just did this outwardly – and how lacking in spiritual perception they were!  There is a sad parallel to this in life this very day – which the world still calls ‘Good Friday’ – but, in most cases, are ignorant of its original purpose and solemnity: and if they are not ignorant – hardly any appear to see a personal value in its meaning.

In v. 5 & 6 – the condition of the heart again comes to the fore – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” How difficult it is to maintain a straight path today – it is impossible to do so in our own strength.

We have heard the phrase ‘half-hearted’ – there is no place for this in the service of Christ!  We all experience the temptation – as is the warning in the next verse – to be tempted to be “wise in your own eyes” – Those who yield to this temptation, do not heed the advice we will read in Proverbs 24 v.21.  This tells us to “fear the LORD … do not join with those who do otherwise.”

We are totally surrounded by “those who do otherwise.”

What a key little word “keep” is!  We keep our most precious possessions as secure as we possibly can.  In tomorrows’ chapter 4 we will read, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” [4 v.23] Finally let us accept the words of Jesus to his disciples, as words that are totally appropriate for us in these last days: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”[Mark 14 v.38] – but if we can “keep” our “heart” we can overcome “the flesh.

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